HARRISBURG – A measure that would require Senate confirmation of the individual appointed to fulfill the CEO position at the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has been reintroduced at the state Capitol. Montgomery County Sen. John Rafferty has sponsored the legislation since 2007. He says since the Turnpike Commission collects and expends taxpayer dollars, the PA Senate should provide advise and consent into the process of appointing a CEO. The Turnpike Commission manages an operating budget in excess of $350 million and a ten year capital plan that is approximately $5.7 billion.
LITITZ – A Lancaster County woman is charged with setting up a fraudulent GoFundMe account. Police say 31-year-old Nicole Leahy of Lititz established the fake account. The arrest was a result of a complaint received in April 2016 from a resident of Florida, who reported that a fraudulent account had been created in December 2015. It indicated that money would be raised to assist with medical and funeral expenses related to the person’s one year old son who had passed away in December 2015. The victim discovered in April 2016 a GoFundMe account with a photo of her son being depicted, using the story of her family’s recent hardship. The victim said she never authorized anyone else to create a GoFundMe page using her family’s information and story, and had never received the approximately $500.00 that was raised from the fake GoFundMe account. Leahy, who was charged with theft by deception, waived a preliminary hearing.
STATE COLLEGE (AP) – Police charged eleven people with various offenses tied to a large disturbance that broke out in downtown State College after Penn State’s football team won the Big Ten title. Unruly fans caused thousands of dollars in damage during the Dec. 3 riot, which immediately followed the Nittany Lions’ come-from-behind victory over Wisconsin. Eight of the eleven charged are current students at Penn State. Police say they face possible expulsions from the school if they are convicted.
ANNAPOLIS, MD (AP) – Amazon is announcing plans to open a 1.2-million-square-foot fulfillment center in North East, Maryland. Amazon now employs more than 3,000 associates at its fulfillment and sorting centers in Baltimore and plans to create 700 new positions at its third Maryland facility. Employees at the North East fulfillment center in Cecil County will pick, pack, and ship larger items such as big-screen televisions, kayaks, and patio furniture.
YORK – Area Congressman Scott Perry unveiled bipartisan legislation to ensure the Crime Victims Fund is used only to assist crime victims, rather than paying for unrelated federal projects. Congress created the Crime Victims Fund in 1984, based on the idea that money collected by the federal government from those who commit crimes should be used to help those victimized by crime. Each year, criminal fines and penalties collected by the federal government are deposited into the Fund to pay for other government spending. The Fairness for Crime Victims Act – H.R. 275 – ends that practice. Rep. Perry is a member of the House Victim Rights Caucus. He represents parts of Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, & York Counties.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Pennsylvania will soon be accepting applications from those who want to grow and process medical marijuana as well as those who want to establish and run dispensaries. The Health Department made the applications available on its website and can be submitted between Feb. 20 and March 20. The agency is fielding questions about the application process through Feb. 8. The goal is to have the system up and running by the middle of 2018. The first phase involves as many as 27 dispensary licenses, with up to three locations each, and up to 12 grower-processor permits. Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law was enacted last year. It permits patients to take the medicine in several forms, but not in a way that can be smoked.
HARRISBURG –PA Auditor General Eugene DePasqualle, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, and state Treasurer Joe Torsella were sworn into office yesterday. In his second term, DePasquale pledged to focus on protecting children, continuing to call for the testing of all untested rape kits, and supporting efforts to combat the opioid crisis. Shapiro vowed to ensure integrity of the office, safeguard Pennsylvanians’ rights, health, and safety, and tackle the heroin and opioid epidemic in a comprehensive way. Torsella called for a commitment to government that is accountable, transparent, and uses technology and innovation to financially empower all Pennsylvanians.
DOVER, DE (AP) – John Carney has been sworn in as Delaware’s 74th governor. Carney and Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long, both Democrats, took their oaths of office yesterday. Carney acknowledged the state’s challenges, including significant state budget problems and unabated gun violence in Wilmington, but said they can be met with hard work and cooperation among state and local officials. Carney was elected governor eight years after losing a hard-fought Democratic primary to Gov. Jack Markell. He went on to serve as Delaware’s lone representative in the U.S. House in 2010.
LANCASTER – A Monday evening home invasion in the 400 block of S. Christian Street in Lancaster is under investigation. Several occupants say they were robbed at knife-point. The victims – four males and one female ranging in age from 20-42 years old – reported that three unknown Hispanic males, wearing all black, entered the home through the front door and demanded money. The suspects forced three victims into a bedroom, while they searched the house for loot. Two additional victims came home during the incident and had their hands and feet tied up. The suspects cut one victim on the abdomen. Cell phones and some cash was taken before the suspects fled. The stabbing victim was taken to a hospital and later released. Officers say it does not appear to be a random act and there are indications that the suspects may have specifically targeted the residence. Anyone with information is urged to call Lancaster Police at 717-735-3300 or Lancaster City-County Crime Stoppers toll free at 1-800-322-1913.
ANNAPOLIS, MD (AP) – Maryland lawmakers say Gov. Larry Hogan is using some of the state’s Rainy Day Fund to fill budget holes. Lawmakers from both parties met at the governor’s residence this morning to get a briefing on Hogan’s budget proposal. Sen. Richard Madaleno, a Democrat, says about $177 million in Rainy Day Funds help balance the budget. The fund contains more than the targeted amount of 5% of the state budget. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller says there are less cuts than lawmakers expected, and education is fully funded. Some lawmakers who attended say they only got a basic overview during the breakfast at the governor’s residence, and that there is still a lot to digest.