HARRISBURG (AP) – Gov. Tom Wolf is removing the man just appointed to direct the state Office of Open Records. Wolf said Erik Arneson’s appointment by Gov. Tom Corbett lacks transparency and that he’ll conduct a search to fill the position. The job carries a six-year term. The Office of Open Records handles appeals involving a wide section of government for people who have been denied access to records. A top Senate Republican aide, Drew Crompton, questions whether Wolf has the authority to remove the office’s director. Crompton calls it “partisan politics through and through.” Wolf is also trying to stop more than two dozen nominations posted by Corbett in his final days.
HARRISBURG (AP) – The PA Supreme Court has temporarily blocked a prosecutor from taking action on a grand jury recommendation that state Attorney General Kathleen Kane be charged criminally in an investigation of alleged leaks of secret investigative material by her office. A Supreme Court spokesman said the halt is effective “until further order of the court.” Matters in the case are otherwise under seal. Kane says she’s done nothing wrong. The court will hear her challenge in March to the legality of the special prosecutor involved in the investigation. A grand jury last month recommended that Kane be charged with perjury, false swearing, official oppression, and obstruction. The case had been sent to Montgomery County’s district attorney to decide whether to charge Kane.
ANNAPOLIS, MD (AP) – Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s $16.4 billion budget plan includes cuts to close a shortfall, but he says it fully funds school construction. Hogan gave a basic outline of his budget proposal Thursday. The actual budget plan won’t be made public until today. The plan addresses a gap of about $750 million for the next fiscal year. It saves substantial money by cutting funds dedicated for parts of the state where education costs more. The Geographical Cost of Education Index is being cut in half to save roughly $68 million. Hogan says the budget increases spending for higher education by 1.3%. It also includes funding for the proposed Purple Line and Red Line, but the two light-rail projects will undergo further review.
WASHINGTON, DC – Buses of pro lifers from our region marched yesterday afternoon with thousands from across America at this year’s March for Life in Washington, DC. Attendees heard from pro life speakers and heard of pro life victories that have been made since the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court Roe versus Wade decision which legalized abortion in America. There were also some pro life rallies held yesterday during the noon hour in Lebanon and Gettysburg.
LANCASTER – A woman was arrested after police say her newborn baby was discovered in a toilet. 19-year-old Swanee White of Lancaster was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, simple assault, and reckless endangerment. On January 3rd, officers responded to a medical call at White’s residence on Marshall Avenue. The baby was in the toilet for several minutes before a family member was notified and medical assistance was summoned. The baby was treated at a local hospital and has been taken into protective custody by the Lancaster County Children and Youth Agency. White was committed to Lancaster County Prison in lieu of $10,000 bail.
WEST HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP – Police arrested a man accused of several residential and business burglaries that occurred between October and December 2014 in Lancaster County. 41-year-old Jason Fusco of Mountville faces numerous burglary and theft charges after incidents in West and East Hempfield Townships and in Manor Township. Fusco was arraigned and bail was set at $50,000 for each set of charges by each police department.
LANCASTER – Police in Georgia nabbed a Lancaster homicide suspect. 27-year-old Wilberto Melendez was picked up by police in Lawrenceville, just north of Atlanta. Melendez is accused of the shooting of 32-year-old Jeremy Torres of Lancaster last November 28th on the first block of S. Prince Street. Torres was taken to Lancaster General where he later died. Melendez faces criminal homicide and other charges.
HARRISBURG (AP) – The Pennsylvania Game Commission is holding off on a plan that would bar hikers from state game lands during hunting season. The state’s Board of Game Commissioners said Wednesday it removed the proposal from its January meeting agenda after receiving hundreds of public comments. Board President Robert Schlemmer says they want more time to consult with hunters, conservationists and elected officials before considering the measure. The proposed rule would have barred hiking and other non-hunting activities on state game lands during the fall and spring hunting seasons. That’s more than 130 days. Hiking would still be permitted on Sundays, when hunting is disallowed.
HARRISBURG (AP) – A grand jury that’s recommended criminal charges against the Pennsylvania attorney general in connection with leaks of grand jury material wants to alter a state law that prevents journalists from having to disclose confidential sources. A seven-page report sent to news outlets today by special prosecutor Thomas Carluccio recommends what jurors described as a “criminal-fraud exception” to the Pennsylvania Shield Law for grand jury matters and the elimination of the law’s protections if a source has testified about their communications with a journalist. The report says the grand jury was able to determine who leaked secret materials about an investigation but a criminal-fraud exception would have made their investigation more complete and faster. An attorney with the Pennsylvania News Media Association says the group opposes weakening the law.
LANCASTER – Thousands of pro lifers from our region and across America are in Washington, DC today to take a stand for unborn children and against abortion as they participate in the March for Life. 42 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered its Roe versus Wade decision which allowed for abortion in the U.S. Micaiah Bilger, Education Director for the Pennsylvania Pro Life Federation, is hopeful that the decision will be overturned in the near future. March for Life attendees will hear from pro life speakers and hear of pro life victories that have been made since the 1973 court decision. Pro life rallies are also planned today from noon to 1 p.m. today at the corner of Eighth and Cumberland Streets in Lebanon hosted by the Lebanon County Pennsylvanians for Human Life. Another is from noon to 12:30 p.m. in front of the Adams County Courthouse in Gettysburg.