ANNAPOLIS, MD (AP) – Voter turnout in Maryland is expected to be heavier than normal. Adding to voter interest, a high-profile U.S. Senate race will be decided today. There are also two strongly contested U.S. House primaries. A record-high number of Marylanders cast early ballots during the eight-day, early-voting period that ended Thursday.
HARRISBURG – The PA Family Council and American Family Association are urging citizens to contact Target with concerns regarding their change in bathroom policy. New policy has been implemented in all Target stores that invite “guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.” As a result, biological men and women would be able to use rest rooms and fitting rooms of the opposite sex. Boycotts of the retail giant are being called due to the new policy. CLICK HERE to sign American Family Association’s “Boycott Target Pledge” and CLICK THIS LINK to sign the Pennsylvania Family Council’s petition. Since late last week, nearly a half million concerned citizens have signed the American Family’s boycott pledge.
HARRISBURG – Legislation was unanimously approved in the PA House that would highlight the important role of religion in our country by designating May 2-8 as American Religious History Week in Pennsylvania. The author of House Resolution 774, Rep. Matt Baker of Potter & Tioga County said, “All of us are aware of the influence of religion at the time of our nation’s founding and throughout its history, as well as the numerous monuments and displays in our public buildings that have some association with this influence.” Baker noted that religious faith was not only important in official American life during the periods of discovery, exploration, colonization, and growth, but has also been acknowledged and incorporated into all three branches of American federal government from their very beginning. In fact, the Constitutions of each of the 50 states, either in the preamble or body, explicitly recognize or express gratitude to God. Furthermore, numerous important American government leaders, institutions, monuments, buildings and landmarks across the nation both openly acknowledge and incorporate religious words, symbols and imagery into official venues. Baker also noted the significance of American Religious History Week being held in concurrence with both the Commonwealth Prayer Breakfast on Tuesday, May 3, and the National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 5.
DOVER, DE (AP) – Delaware’s Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments on the constitutionality of the state’s death penalty. The court has asked the attorney general’s office and state public defender’s office to prepare for arguments June 15. The court agreed in January to answer questions from Delaware’s Superior Court to determine whether the state’s death penalty law meets constitutional muster. Meanwhile, all death penalty trials in Delaware are on hold. Questions were raised about the constitutionality of Delaware’s law after the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year struck down Florida’s death penalty sentencing statute. That statute required a judge, not a jury, to find the factual existence of an “aggravating circumstance” making a defendant eligible for the death penalty. Delaware’s law is similar to Florida’s, but prosecutors argue that it nevertheless is constitutional.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Republicans Donald Trump and John Kasich along with Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are all campaigning in Pennsylvania ahead of tomorrow‘s primary. Trump has two rallies planned for today. One is at West Chester University this afternoon and at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre tonight. John Kasich visited a diner in South Philadelphia this morning. Clinton is holding a rally at Westmoreland County Community College in Youngwood this afternoon and then heads to Philadelphia for a rally in the courtyard at City Hall tonight. Sanders will hold a rally at the University of Pittsburgh this afternoon and then travels east to Philadelphia for an evening rally at Drexel University.
MANHEIM – Police are seeking a man and a woman accused of robbing a female tenant at a Manheim, Lancaster County hotel on Saturday. Charges of robbery, conspiracy, and related counts have been filed regarding the 3:30 p.m. incident at Penns Woods Inn at 2931 Lebanon Road (Route 72). Police are searching for 20-year-old Jamez Martinez, a Hispanic man with a stocky build and bushy beard. He is 5-foot-6, 180 pounds, and has many tattoos, including the letters “KB” on his left cheek. Also sought is Kimberly Robles, a 19-year-old Hispanic woman, 5-foot-3, 280 pounds. The pair is charged with holding up a woman at gunpoint, holding her against her will inside her room. Martinez reportedly had a silver handgun, which he pointed at the woman while threatening her. The pair fled, after receiving loot, in a silver Nissan Altima, north on Lebanon Road toward the Lebanon County line. The 4-door sedan has dark window tint and PA registration, JPT-3243. Both have ties to Lebanon and are believed to be staying there. Anyone with information is asked to contact Manheim Police at 717-665-2481.
AKRON – Mennonite Central Committee is requesting financial donations to support its response to recent earthquakes in Ecuador, where members of multiple Mennonite congregations are among 100,000 people affected by the disaster. A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the Pacific coast of northern Ecuador on April 16, followed by a second earthquake on April 20. At least 570 people have been killed and more than 7,000 injured. CLICK HERE to make an online donation to MCC for the relief effort. To give by phone, call 1-888-563-4676 or send a check to MCC, P.O. Box 500, Akron, PA 17501. Donations should be designated for the “Ecuador Earthquake Response.”
HARRISBURG – It’s the day before Pennsylvania’s primary election and the presidential campaign continues. Republican Donald Trump will make a campaign stop at West Chester University this afternoon and then go to Wilkes-Barre tonight. Republican John Kasich will make a stop this evening at McKees Rocks, Allegheny County. Democrat Bernie Sanders will rally in Pittsburgh this morning and in Philadelphia tonight. Former President Bill Clinton made a surprise stop in Lancaster yesterday to urge voters to support his wife Hillary Clinton.
HARRISBURG (AP) – A piece of Pennsylvania state budget-related legislation involving school funding will become law, nearly 10 months after it was due and about two months before the next fiscal year begins. Gov. Tom Wolf said he would allow a companion budget bill to become law without his signature. That’s the approach he took last month toward the main 2015-16 budget bill after a long fight with the Republican-controlled Legislature. It’ll become law today. Wolf says he’s “adamant” the state restore budget cuts enacted under his Republican predecessor, Gov. Tom Corbett. The bill includes how to distribute $200 million in state aid among school districts. The formula was a primary point of contention. It also authorizes up to $2.5 billion in borrowing for the state share of school construction costs. Pennsylvania’s new fiscal budget year begins July 1.
HARRISBURG (AP) – A Pennsylvania government commission is giving its divided approval to regulations toughening oil and gas industry permit requirements. The agency that reviews regulatory changes voted 3-to-2 in favor of the new regulations. The three Democrat appointees voted “yes.” Drillers will now have 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. Natural gas drillers won’t be able to store waste in pits, or use brine to keep down dust or to de-ice. Industry officials say the changes will add costs and could threaten businesses. PA Environmental Protection Secretary John Quigley says the fears are exaggerated. Environmental advocacy groups supported the proposed rules, although many say they’re not strong enough.