Casey/Coons Throw Support For Iran Nuclear Deal

WASHINGTON, DC – PA U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and Delaware U.S. Sen. Chris Coons are supporting the nuclear deal with Iran. The announcements push President Obama to within one vote of the 34 needed to sustain a veto of legislation aimed at blocking the deal. In a statement Tuesday, Casey says the deal will “substantially constrain” Iran’s nuclear program and is the best option available. Earlier Tuesday Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, predicted Obama would get to 34 votes by week’s end.

SEN. CHRIS COONS

       SEN. CHRIS COONS

SEN. BOB CASEY

       SEN. BOB CASEY

Wolf Tries New Budget Talks Tactic

HARRISBURG (AP) – Gov. Tom Wolf is shifting strategy in his talks with lawmakers as a state government budget stalemate stretches into a third month. Wolf’s spokesman Jeff Sheridan said the Democrat is holding meetings with top lawmakers in small groups, without staff. Previously, Wolf had been holding meetings in the Capitol with dozens of lawmakers and staff aides. On June 30, Wolf vetoed a Republican proposed $30.2 billion budget bill within hours of its passage. Meanwhile, Republicans balked at Wolf’s $31.6 billion budget plan, saying it would require the biggest tax increase in Pennsylvania history.

GOV. TOM WOLF

                GOV. TOM WOLF

Wolf Administration Wraps Up Medicaid Benefits Overhaul

HARRISBURG (AP) – The Wolf Administration has completed the transfer of over 1 million adult Medicaid enrollees into a single benefits package as the program expands to record numbers under the federal health care law. Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas said his department finished a process that included the dismantling of changes Gov. Wolf’s predecessor had sought to make to Medicaid coverage. The new benefits package, called HealthChoices, is similar to the one enrollees had last year. Former Gov. Tom Corbett tried to create three different benefits programs starting Jan. 1, in conjunction with his administration’s embrace of the Medicaid expansion. But the federal government didn’t approve all of those changes before Wolf took office.

Lancaster County Bank Robbed

LANCASTER TOWNSHIP – A Lancaster County bank was robbed Tuesday afternoon. It happened around 1:20 p.m. at the Fulton Bank at the Manor Shopping Center in Lancaster Township. A suspect entered the bank and displayed a handgun. They fled with an undetermined amount of cash. Manheim Township Police are investigating.

Lancaster County Stabbing Investigation

MANHEIM TOWNSHIP – Police are investigating a Lancaster County stabbing. It occurred in Manheim Township’s Community Park at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday when a woman who was on the bike path in a wooded area of the park came upon a male kneeling over a female who was yelling for help. The male fled on foot. The woman called 911. Police and EMS responded and determined that the female had been stabbed several times. The victim, a 15-year-old Manheim Township female, was taken to a local hospital where she is being treated for serious wounds. A 16-year-old Manheim Township male, who is known to the victim, was identified by police as a suspect. The male turned himself in to police and is currently in custody. Investigators are trying to determine the circumstances of the incident.

Judge Acquits York County Man Convicted In Wife’s Death

YORK (AP) – Prosecutors have appealed a judge’s acquittal of a man convicted by a jury of first-degree murder in the death of his wife. York County Judge Richard Renn ruled Tuesday that prosecutors failed to present sufficient evidence to sustain the first-degree murder charge against 42-year-old Joseph Fitzpatrick III. Prosecutors alleged that Fitzpatrick drowned his 43-year-old wife, Annemarie, in a Chanceford Township creek in 2012, but told police they crashed their all-terrain vehicle in the water. Authorities alleged that he wanted out of his marriage, was emotionally involved with another woman, and had a $1.7 million life insurance policy on his wife. Defense attorney Chris Ferro said he was “ecstatic” about the ruling. Prosecutors vow to defend the jury conviction “to the full extent of the law.”

Police Officer Facing Arrest For Burglary Takes His Life

DILLSBURG (AP) – Authorities say a police officer took his own life after officers came to arrest him for committing a burglary at his estranged wife’s home and then trying to frame her boyfriend for it. Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed said that Susquehanna Township Police Sgt. Ronald Reinhart Jr. planted jewelry from the break-in in an attempt to make it appear her boyfriend committed the crime. Reinhart held police at bay on Monday for several hours at his home outside Dillsburg, after they showed up to arrest him for a jewelry theft on July 25.

Maryland Panel Recommends Policies For Police Body Cameras

ANNAPOLIS, MD (AP) – A Maryland commission says recordings from police body cameras should be released as required by the state’s public information law. The panel decided Tuesday it will also recommend that lawmakers review privacy matters relating to body cameras next year. The 22-member commission debated a wide variety of policies. The recommendations will go to the Maryland Police Training Commission to form regulations by Jan. 1. Body cameras won’t be mandatory for Maryland police departments. The policy is only for departments that decide to use them.

New Month, But No New PA Budget Yet

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania is now in the 63rd day without a budget. Gov. Tom Wolf and legislative leaders continue to negotiate a spending plan despite Republicans who presented a no new taxes budget that was vetoed in its entirety. Republicans tried to do a line by line override of the governor’s veto on 274 line items that were agreed to by the governor and GOP legislators, but Democrats did not vote for the override. The lack of a budget is making it difficult for human service providers that rely on state funds. Some have to borrow money to stay afloat. Lancaster County Rep. Bryan Cutler, the House Majority Whip, says they are trying hard to get state funding to such groups. He was  critical that the House Democratic Caucus wanted to loan money from the Treasury to stay afloat while they forced human service agencies to go borrow money. Republicans have offered a proposal that would give $400 million more for education provided that public pension reform and liquor privatization be part of the adopted budget. The governor is still reviewing that proposal.

REP. BRYAN CUTLER

REP. BRYAN CUTLER

Auditor General Says School Audits Will Reflect Budget Impasse

HARRISBURG (AP) – Pennsylvania’s elected fiscal watchdog says his department’s audits of school districts will now include costs resulting from the state government’s budget impasse. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said that more than 80% of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts are considering borrowing or dipping into their reserves as the school year begins while state subsidies remain frozen. DePasquale says auditors will collect information about interest expenses, penalties for late payments, and other costs associated with the stalemate. The Democrat said he eventually expects to compile that information from all districts, but that he’ll publicize partial totals to keep the public informed.

EUGENE DEPASQUALE

EUGENE DEPASQUALE