LANCASTER – Saturday afternoon’s Spotlight looks at legislation that would give special status of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression to state law. Such proposals would allow a person of a biological sex to enter bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers for members of the opposite sex. The proposed privacy bills – Senate Bills 974, 1306, 1307, 1316, and House Bill 1510 – are awaiting consideration in Harrisburg. PA Family Institute President Michael Geer says concerned citizens must speak up to lawmakers. Geer also updates us on pro life legislation and discusses Franklin Graham’s upcoming Decision America Tour coming to Harrisburg next month. Hear more on Saturday afternoon’s Spotlight at 12:30 on WDAC and at 2 p.m. on WBYN-FM 107.5. You can listen to the program online right now at wdac.com under “WDAC Podcasts.”
HARRISBURG – Public input is being sought by the PA Senate Labor and Industry Committee as they examine one of the privacy bills – Senate Bill 1306. The committee is holding a public hearing next Tuesday at 1 p.m. in Hearing Room 1 of the North Office Building in Harrisburg. Comments can be submitted via email to SB1306@pasen.gov or by going to Senate Labor Committee Chairman Lisa Baker’s website at www.senatorbaker.com and clicking on the SB 1306 public comment box.
HARRISBURG (AP) – A group of people who don’t believe in God are challenging the way prayers are handled before sessions of the PA House. The lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Harrisburg says non-believers are treated like a disfavored minority who can be discriminated against, and that House officials denied their requests to make an opening invocation. Five people and three organizations are suing House Speaker Mike Turzai, the parliamentarian, and five lawmakers: Reps. Mike Regan, Kevin Schreiber, Steven Mentzer, Will Tallman, and Seth Grove. The three organizations filing suit include the Lancaster Freethought Society, Dillsburg Area Freethinkers, and Pennsylvania Nonbelievers, Inc. The plaintiffs also claim they’ve been pressured by House security officers to stand during prayers. The lawsuit says House policy violates their constitutional rights. They want a judge to order House officials to allow them to give an invocation and to prevent anyone from forcing them to stand during the prayer. CLICK HERE to read the complaint.
EAST LAMPETER TOWNSHIP – Crews battled a two alarm house fire this morning in East Lampeter Township, Lancaster County. It happened around 9:45 a.m. in the area of Hampshire Avenue and Cadwell Lane. No injuries were reported. A cause is under investigation. Some neighboring homes suffered some damage.
ABERDEEN, MD (AP) – Maryland officials say four juveniles were charged with a fire that did tens of thousands of dollars in damage to a playground in Aberdeen. The Office of the State Fire Marshal said investigators determined the Victory Street Park fire was intentionally set and that four juveniles ages 9, 10, 13, and 14 were responsible. Each juvenile has been charged with first-degree malicious burning and malicious destruction of property. Mayor Patrick McGrady says the playground equipment was insured and that the playground will be rebuilt.
YORK (AP) – York Police have begun rounding up motorcyclists who reportedly terrorize other motorists by wearing masks and driving unlicensed dirt bikes and ATV’s wildly through the streets. The names and number of those charged haven’t been released by police, who say the suspects have been charged with harassment, disorderly conduct, and traffic citations. Mayor Kim Bracey says that officials “will not tolerate this criminal behavior that threatens the quality of life for our city residents.” York County 911 dispatchers confirm they’ve had several calls about groups of masked motorcyclists in recent days. The bikers were also seen in nearby Spring Garden Township on Thursday.
HARRISBURG – Faculty union members at each of Pennsylvania’s state-owned universities will participate in a strike-authorization vote Sept. 7–9, after delegates agreed to move the vote to union membership. Coaches will vote Sept. 14-15. APSCUF President, Dr. Kenneth Mash said, “Our faculty and coaches clearly feel that the State System has not negotiated fairly.” The union represents about 5,500 faculty and coaches at the State System universities.
HARRISBURG – State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said his an audit shows that a faulty Charter School Law and the PA Department of Education’s protracted, inconsistent, confusing, and conflicting process for handling charter school payment challenges may unfairly favor charter schools over school districts. The audit found essentially all a charter school has to do is claim to PDE that it is owed money, and the department cuts the charter school a check and withholds the money from the school district’s state subsidy before providing the district a chance to challenge the payment. The audit was of PDE’s practices, not a criticism of charter school actions.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Acting PA Attorney General Bruce Castor is telling his staff that an outside review of objectionable emails is now in his hands, and he’s conferring with senior advisers about what to do with it. Castor sent an email to the agency’s employees that said some of them were notified that their names may be in the report. The review was performed by a team of private lawyers hired by Castor’s predecessor, Kathleen Kane, who resigned last week after being convicted of perjury. Under Kane, the attorney general’s office disclosed hundreds of emails that cost the jobs of several high-ranking government officials, including two state Supreme Court justices.
LANCASTER – Two shooters who targeted police in Columbia, Lancaster County, will stand trial. 17-year-old Marquell Rentas and 18-year-old Trenton Nace of Columbia were responsible for the shots fired from a second-floor window of 103 Bethel Street last month. After a preliminary hearing, a judge ordered the two be tried in county court on numerous charges, including 4 counts of attempted homicide of law-enforcement officers. Both are being held in Lancaster County Prison.