HARRISBURG – Following the tragic deaths of five military personnel at two military installations in Tennessee last week, Rep. Steve Barrar of Chester & Delaware Counties is urging Gov. Tom Wolf to issue an executive order to allow PA National Guard recruiters and personnel to carry firearms in the performance of their duties. Barrar also requested that Adj. Gen. Jim Joseph authorize PA National Guard recruiters to carry firearms, by making such firearms eligible under “uniform of the day” practices and policies. Barrar authored a letter to the governor which requested the executive action. In bipartisan support, the letter garnered the signatures of more than 100 members of the state House. Currently, six state governors have authorized similar practices since the tragic deaths last week, and more governors are expected to issue similar executive orders.
HARRISBURG – Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Quigley called to order the first meeting of the Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force. The 48 member task force will examine pipeline development in the state for bringing natural gas from a growing industry to consumers. Quigley said that every PA county will be impacted and the group will be committed at looking at the best, safest, and environmentally sound means to bring natural gas through the Commonwealth. The task force will deliver a report of best practices for pipeline development to Gov. Tom Wolf by February 2016.
WEST CHESTER – The PA House Local Government Committee held a public hearing in West Chester to discuss legislation that would prevent Pennsylvania municipalities from enacting housing ordinances that discriminate against college students. Rep. Sue Helm of Dauphin & Lebanon Counties sponsored House Bill 809 which would preempt any municipal ordinance that prohibits the occupation of a rental property based on the person’s matriculation status or the number of unrelated persons sharing the unit. Helm said it is entirely within reason for municipalities to enact and enforce rules to regulate such things as parking, noise levels, health and safety concerns, or code violations. However, it is unfair to attempt to regulate these issues by singling out students based on the incorrect assumption that they will be problem citizens and undesirable neighbors. Committee members also heard from a number of municipal government officials and rental property owners.
HARRISBURG – Thousands of Anabaptists from around the world continue their meeting today in the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg. Called Pennsylvania 2015, the 5-day event features a morning and evening worship service, with afternoon workshops, seminars, service projects and tours. Many international visitors are being hosted by local families of Mennonite and Brethren-in Christ church members. The Mennonite World Conference convenes every 6 years, and is being held this week in the eastern United States for the first time in its history. The conference will conclude with a rally Saturday evening in the large arena with the installation of J. Nelson Kraybill, a native of Lancaster County, as president of the worldwide church body of 1.4 million members. The next conference will be held in Indonesia in 2021.
HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Wolf has signed into law legislation establishing the “Honoring Our Veterans” license plate for motorcycles. Another bill signed by the governor would call for $15 of the $35 specialty license plate fee to be transferred to the Veteran’s Trust Fund, a state-run fund that helps needy veterans with food, utilities, and rent or mortgage payments. Luzerne County Sen. Lisa Baker sponsored the measures. A similar plate for passenger vehicles was created through Act 194 of 2012, but did not include an option for motorcycle owners.
HARRISBURG – A partnership between PA State Police and PA Department of Agriculture food sanitarians is ensuring the safety of foods while on the road, especially during the summer months. Dubbed Operation Code R.E.D., for Refrigerated Enforcement Detail, the program held a blitz last month, inspecting 142 commercial vehicles and large trucks at 14 locations across Pennsylvania. Troopers stopped the vehicles at checkpoints, where food sanitarians inspected carriers to ensure that food was kept at safe temperatures and that cargo areas were sanitary. The inspections are particularly important in warmer months, when long transport times, warm weather, and full sunlight can tax refrigeration units. As with inspections of restaurants, cafeteria kitchens, and home processors, most problems were corrected on-site. Food sanitarians have trained State Police to spot potential violations in the course of their routine vehicle inspections throughout the year. Troopers then contact food sanitarians who correct the issues.
MANHEIM TOWNSHIP – Police in Lancaster County are searching for a woman who used a fake identity to get a loan from a bank in Manheim Township. In April 2015, the woman applied for and received a loan. She provided appropriate documentation, including photo identification. It was later determined that she provided forged documentation and a fictitious name. A picture of the woman can be seen below. Anyone who knows the identity of the woman in the photo is asked to contact the Manheim Township Police at 717-569-6401, ext 0. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call the Manheim Township Anonymous Crime Tipline at 717-569-2816.
HAMBURG (AP) – Crews are razing a tornado-damaged school in Berks County, but hoping to salvage at least some of the items inside so it can be used later. The demolition of the Blue Mountain Seventh-Day Adventist Elementary School in Tilden Township could take about five days. The building’s roof was torn off by an EF-1 tornado packing 100 mph winds on July 9. Ed Cale, the project manager, says USS Achey Inc. is hauling away the metal for free. The Schuylkill County company processes metal and whatever it can make from recycling the metal will be returned to the school. The school was built in 1968. It wasn’t immediately clear how or when it will be rebuilt.
HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania’s top Republican lawmakers have sent a letter to Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office seeking an investigation of Planned Parenthood after the release of an undercover video showing its national medical director discussing providing body parts from aborted babies to researchers. Kane’s office said it’s reviewing the letter. In it, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati and House Speaker Mike Turzai cite investigations begun in other states and request that Kane coordinate with the Wolf Administration to do the same in Pennsylvania. The group that made the video says it proves Planned Parenthood is breaking federal law. You can read the letter from the GOP leaders to Attorney General Kane by CLICKING HERE.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered all U.S. and Pennsylvania flags at the state Capitol and at Commonwealth facilities throughout the state lowered to half-staff in honor of the five service members killed in last week’s shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Flags will remain at half-staff until sunset on July 25th. Wolf said that by lowering the flags, “we honor the heroes’ lives that were lost in brave service to this country.” Four Marines and one Navy sailor were killed during shootings at two Tennessee military sites.