HARRISBURG – To recognize March as National Problem Gambling Awareness Month, state officials are promoting resources intended to help individuals with a gambling addiction. To seek confidential help for yourself or a loved one, visit www.paproblemgambling.com or call 1-877-565-2112 or 1-800-848-1880. The warning signs of a gambling addiction can include denying there is a problem; lying about where the money is going; borrowing money to gamble or pay off debts; missing work to gamble; and/or feeling powerless to stop gambling. In 2014, the PA Gambling Helpline received over 17,000 calls from men and women ranging in age from teens to older adults. The PA Gaming Control Board offers those with a gambling problem a way to keep themselves out of PA casinos through voluntary self-exclusion. A person wishing to be placed on the Self-Exclusion List can obtain more details at www.gamingcontrolboard.pa.gov or calling 717-346-8300. To date, more than 8,000 individuals have requested to be placed on the Self-Exclusion List.
ANNAPOLIS, MD (AP) – Eighteen-year-old active duty service members from Maryland can vote, smoke, and fight for their country, but they can’t have a drink. Legislation is being proposed that would allow active duty service members who are at least 18-years-old to be served beer and wine. The service member would be required to show their armed forces identification at the bar or restaurant where they are being served. The bill is scheduled for a hearing today. The Washington Regional Alcohol Program opposes the bill saying that supporting troops and supporting the national minimum drinking age of21 are not mutually exclusive.
LANCASTER – Lancaster Mennonite will be acquiring Hershey Christian School in Hummelstown, Dauphin County. Headmaster Al Roth writes in the school newsletter “Connections” that LMS Superintendent, Dick Thomas visited the school and discussed with the staff the history of the merger of the schools and how the transition would unfold. Roth said the new joint venture has fantastic potential to help grow the Body of Christ as they are able to expand staff and facilities as the Lord enables. Lancaster Mennonite has four other campuses in Lancaster County.
LANCASTER TOWNSHIP – Authorities in Lancaster County are investigating the deaths of two men found in a home in the 500 block of South West End Avenue in Lancaster Township. Police responded to the scene around 5 p.m. The identities of the men have not been released and autopsies to determine the cause of death have been scheduled.
HARRISBURG – The PA House voted in favor of House Bill 466, which would shut down the state store system and replace it with a privately owned wine and spirit retail system. Many area GOP lawmakers voted for the measure saying the government should not be in the liquor business. The measure is estimated to generate at least $1 billion in upfront revenues from the sale of liquor licenses, along with license renewal fees and the continuation of taxes on alcohol sales. The state would be actively involved with the enforcement of laws related to alcohol sales. Democrats and Gov. Tom Wolf oppose the bill. The legislation now goes to the state Senate.
HARRISBURG – An error has been detected in the hidden security image on Pennsylvania driver’s licenses and ID cards. PennDOT said a mistake by its vendors affected an unknown number of cards issued since November. New cards were issued starting Thursday and people whose cards were affected will get new ones in the mail at no cost to them. The hidden image is a strip of keystones with the letters “PA.” It is clearly visible when held under black light and is used to verify the authenticity of licenses and ID cards. The flawed cards transposed the letters in the image to “AP” instead of “PA.” The vendors are paying the cost of the replacements.
HARRISBURG – Attorney General Kathleen Kane and Acting Adjutant General James Joseph today warned Pennsylvania veterans and their families to be aware of schemes aimed at selling veterans financial products they don’t need or charging them for services which are otherwise free. These kinds of schemes, referred to as “pension poaching,” may be perpetrated by attorneys, financial planners, insurance agents or others who use misleading or incomplete information to encourage veterans to make decisions about their finances in order to qualify for benefits. Kane said her agency’s Office of Military and Veterans Affairs has received reports of dishonest planners or people misrepresenting themselves as veteran service officers targeting veterans in senior centers, assisted living facilities and other locations where they couple guarantees about qualifying for benefits with a high pressure sales pitch for their products.
HARRISBURG – With Governor Tom Wolf threatening a veto, the state House today is debating and plans to vote on a proposal privatizing the state-run wine and liquor store system. House Bill 466 would close most of the 600 state stores, replacing the system with 1,200 licenses for retail alcohol sales. Grocery stores would be able to sell wine, but not hard liquor.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Gov. Tom Wolf and GOP Senate leaders say they have come to an agreement over how to handle more than two dozen nominations to state boards and commissions made by outgoing Gov. Tom Corbett. The Senate confirmed 12 nominees, including former Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley to be a Temple University trustee and Corbett’s revenue secretary, Dan Meuser, to the State System of Higher Education’s board of governors. Four others are to be confirmed at a later date. Twelve of Corbett’s selections will be replaced by Wolf nominees including those nominated to the Board of Probation and Parole, the State Board of Education, and the State System of Higher Education board.
HARRISBURG – The PA House passed legislation that would provide training for law enforcement and judges related to individuals suffering from mental illness, intellectual disabilities, and autism within the criminal justice system. Under House Bill 221, police officers and the minor judiciary, such as magisterial district judges, would receive training on the recognition and proper de-escalation techniques to be used when interacting with individuals with mental illness, intellectual disabilities or autism. The bill also calls for instruction on diversionary options for these individuals. The bill, which has bipartisan support, is under review by the Senate Judiciary Committee.