CORNWALL – A head on crash in Lebanon County claimed two lives. It happened around 12:45 p.m. Thursday on Route 322, about a mile east of Route 72. 17-year-old Danielle Beard of Sinking Spring was westbound when her car entered the eastbound lane colliding with a pickup driven by 48-year-old Bryan Eberly of Ephrata. Beard died at the scene. Eberly later died at Hershey Medical Center. The investigation continues.
SALISBURY TOWNSHIP – A Lancaster County farm was the scene of a chicken house fire. Crews responded around 8 a.m. Thursday to the 300 block of Millwood Road in Salisbury Township. Over 15,000 chickens were inside. No injuries were reported. A cause is under investigation. The farm had suffered damage from a tornado in February.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Legislation signed by Gov. Tom Wolf is killing tougher regulations over Pennsylvania’s traditional shallow oil and gas drilling industry approved in April by an independent regulatory board. The bill he signed today was part of an agreement with lawmakers. It settles a drawn-out fight over the regulations written by Wolf’s Department of Environmental Protection. The agreement ends an effort by lawmakers to overturn the entire slate of regulations, which also apply to the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry. The Democratic governor says his administration will start work to redraft new regulations for the traditional, shallow industry. The regulations require drillers to identify schools or playgrounds near wells, and if water supplies are damaged drillers will have to fix them or replace them with alternatives that meet federal standards.
HARRISBURG – Lebanon County Rep. Russ Diamond introduced a plan to make the Pennsylvania judiciary more diverse and accountable to citizens while preserving the right of voters to elect appellate court judges. House Bill 2210 proposes a constitutional amendment that, if passed by two sessions of the General Assembly and ratified by voters, would establish regional districts for the state’s Commonwealth, Superior and Supreme Courts. Presently judges and justices on these panels are elected in statewide races, leading some to claim that voters are not able to adequately vet court candidates to make informed decisions.
NEW CUMBERLAND – Authorities are investigating a home invasion and shooting in York County. Around 12:30 a.m. today, police responded to a residence in the Meadowbrook Trailer Park. The victims, both in their 50′s, said two men broke into the home and one of them began to physically assault the wife. The husband was also struck on the head with a handgun by the second intruder. He then began to struggle with the second subject and three shots were fired from the gun. The husband was able to gain control of the weapon. The two intruders then fled and left in an unknown vehicle on Shauffnertown Road. Due to blood found outside the residence, it is possible that one of the assailants was shot during the incident. The husband and wife both received head injuries, but did not require medical treatment. The two subjects had masks on, but the victims were able to determine that one was a dark-skinned black male and one appeared to be either a Hispanic or light-skinned black male. Anyone who may have information is asked to contact Fairview Township Police at 717-901-5267.
DALLASTOWN (AP) – Funeral arrangements and plans for a memorial scholarship have been released for a York County native who police say was slain before her North Carolina apartment was set on fire. The funeral for 27-year-old Amanda Strous will be Saturday morning at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in York. A scholarship in her name as also been started by the Dallastown Foundation Scholarship Committee. Officials in Nevada captured 28-year-old Matthew Benner who allegedly confessed to killing Strous on June 18 before setting her apartment on fire. Both lived in different units in the same Charlotte apartment complex. Authorities arrested Benner in Nevada on Monday after tracing his cellphone signal to that state. Strous was to be married next month.
HARRISBURG – The PA House approved a measure to expand gambling to the internet and airports, but it rejected an expansion of casino-style gambling to bars. House Bill 2150 passed Wednesday to allow gambling on websites and in airports. It also would regulate daily fantasy sports betting. A vote to also authorize slot-machine-style gambling in thousands of bars failed. Supporters say it would raise up to $270 million in license fees and taxes in an 11th-hour attempt to balance a state budget. A final vote is possible today, just seven days until Pennsylvania’s fiscal-year deadline. Its prospects are unclear in the Senate and Gov. Tom Wolf’s support is not guaranteed. Three other states allow online gambling.
HARRISBURG – Legislation to prohibit discrimination in employment and housing of LGBT individuals has passed the state Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee. It passed after proponents defeated an effort to add specific exemptions for religious organizations. Senate Bill 1307 would add the categories of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression to a law that empowers the state Human Relations Commission to investigate complaints of discrimination in employment and housing. The commission can impose civil penalties, such as back pay or damages.
HARRISBURG – With advances in science and medical technology to save the lives of premature babies, PA House lawmakers approved legislation to update Pennsylvania’s Abortion Control Act. House Bill 1948 would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks and end the gruesome practice of dismemberment abortion, which involves tearing a baby limb from limb. Bill sponsor, Warren County Rep. Kathy Rapp is glad that lawmakers saw the need to make the update. The bill recognizes that if advances in medicine are allowing thousands of premature babies at 20 to 24 weeks to survive and thrive, our laws must change to accurately reflect the sanctity of all human life. House Bill 1948 now goes to the state Senate. Gov. Tom Wolf has threatened to veto the bill.
HARRISBURG – PA House lawmakers approved legislation that would re-institute a tax amnesty plan, where taxpayers who owe back taxes would benefit from reduced penalties and interest payments—if they make payments on their owed taxes within a defined 60-day window. House Bill 1888 passed with strong bipartisan support. Early estimates from the Department of Revenue suggest that nearly $150 million in back taxes could be recouped by the Commonwealth through a tax amnesty plan. The Commonwealth previously instituted two tax amnesty programs, in 1995 which generated $93 million in revenue and in 2010 that generated over $250 million. The bill was included as a policy proposal by the Taxpayers’ Caucus report, a bicameral group of legislators who are working to increase efficiencies in government and find savings for taxpayers. York County lawmakers, Rep. Seth Grove and Sen. Scott Wagner are co-chairs of the Taxpayers’ Caucus.