HARRISBURG – Legislation legalizing sports betting in Pennsylvania has been introduced. House Bill 519 would allow sports betting in all of Pennsylvania’s licensed casinos as soon as it is permitted under federal law. Current law only permits sports betting in Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana. Bill sponsor, Rep. Rob Matzie of Allegheny & Beaver Counties says sports betting is a $400 billion business in the U.S. with most taking place illegally, through bookies and off-shore wagering companies. His bill would position Pennsylvania’s casinos to be ready as soon as the legal hurdles are removed. The bill is expected before the House Gaming Oversight Committee for consideration.
ANNAPOLIS, MD (AP) – Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is blasting a recently passed resolution to empower the state attorney general to sue the federal government without his permission. The Republican governor says while he has proposed 31 measures to help Maryland, lawmakers have focused on meddling in Washington politics and undermining him. The resolution was approved along party lines. Democrats have expressed concerns about harm President Trump could cause Maryland, if the Affordable Care Act is repealed and the federal workforce is reduced. They have voiced worries that Trump’s nominee to head the EPA could be a threat to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay.
MANHEIM TOWNSHIP – Lancaster County authorities are investigating a fatal crash that happened Wednesday around 4:10 p.m. on Route 283 west near Route 741. A Lancaster woman was stopped on the side of the road when her vehicle was struck from behind by another westbound car. Both drivers and a passenger in the stopped vehicle were transported for treatment of their injuries. Later that evening, the driver of the second vehicle died at a local hospital. The cause of the crash is under investigation. The names of the victims are being withheld at this time. Any person who may have witnessed the crash is asked to contact the Manheim Township Police at 717-569-6401, ext 0.
MOUNT JOY TOWNSHIP – A Lancaster County barn was destroyed by fire. It happened Thursday around 5 p.m. in the 1900 block of Valleyview Road in Mount Joy Township. Crews found the barn engulfed in flames and battled it for over three hours. No one was hurt. A cause of the fire is under investigation.
ANNAPOLIS, MD (AP) – Maryland Republican lawmakers are proposing some options to modernize the state pension system. Legislation discussed Thursday would give employees the ability to move all retirement benefits to a new job after three years. The proposals are aimed at starting a conversation that Maryland needs to make changes to its pension system. The options would help create predictability and stop the state from digging deeper unfunded liabilities. Gov. Larry Hogan also has proposed a plan to enable the state to begin paying down the unfunded liability. It would create a 401k-style retirement plan. Maryland last made changes to the state’s pension system in 2011, but advocates for change say more must be done.
HARRISBURG – Pro lifers are working hard to see that Senate Bill 3 passes the PA House. The bill, which passed the state Senate, would limit abortion in Pennsylvania to up to five-months of pregnancy instead of the current six months. It also would end the procedure of dismemberment abortion. PA Family Institute President Michael Geer says supporters of the measure need to let their voices be heard by state lawmakers and the governor because opponents are already at work. Geer added that medical advances have helped save the lives of premature babies under six months. Gov. Tom Wolf has promised to veto the bill. Michael Geer is our guest on this Saturday afternoon’s Spotlight at 12:30 on WDAC and at 2 p.m. on WBYN 107.5. You can listen to the program online right now at wdac.com under “WDAC Podcasts.” He will talk about how the family may fare under the new Trump Administration, a push for religious liberty, and family issue concerns here in Pennsylvania.
HARRISBURG – PA House Speaker Mike Turzai applauded Warren County Rep. Kathy Rapp for the soon-to-be introduced House Bill 77, which lowers the risk to mothers and babies by limiting abortions to after 20 weeks of pregnancy and abolishing dismemberment abortions. Turzai also commended the Senate for advancing Senate Bill 3, sponsored by Sen. Michele Brooks of Crawford County. Turzai said, “It is important the Legislature send one of these bills, Rep. Rapp’s House Bill 77 or Senate Bill 3, to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk. The passage of these bills is evidence of bipartisan and bicameral support to protect unborn children and mothers and demonstrates the Commonwealth’s commitment to promoting a culture of life.”
HARRISBURG – Legislation has been proposed authorizing the electronic prescribing of opioid medications in Pennsylvania as a means to prevent diversion due to handwritten prescriptions. Bill sponsors, Sen. Rich Alloway of Adams, Cumberland, & York Counties and Mercer County Rep. Tedd Nesbit said e-prescriptions are safer and the tracking of the prescription can go directly to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Database that was implemented last year to insure that only those needing the prescription can receive it. House Bill 353 would update a state law from the 1990’s that required opioid prescriptions to be written by hand, which at the time was more secure. Alloway is sponsoring companion legislation in the state Senate.
HARRISBURG – Philadelphia Sen. Anthony Williams has proposed two bills that would alert the public and auto body shops to any hit-and-run accidents in the state. Similar to “Amber Alerts,” the idea is to reduce hit-and-run accidents and enable quick identification and apprehension of motorists who flee the scene of an accident in which serious bodily injury or death result. The first bill requires law enforcement to alert all vehicle repair facilities in Pennsylvania to a hit-and-run incident, providing the vehicle make, model, year, and color; license plate number; unique identifying characteristics; and/or the extent of damage The second bill expands the current Amber Alert system to include hit and-run advisory alerts. Similar legislation has been enacted in California, Colorado, and Maryland.
ANNAPOLIS, MD (AP) – Supporters of requiring paid sick leave in Maryland are praying for the sick as they host a day of prayer this afternoon in Annapolis in front of the state House. They will be highlighting how nearly 300 faith leaders have signed a clergy letter in support of the Health Working Families Act. Last year, the House of Delegates passed a measure to require paid sick leave, but the bill died in the state Senate. Lawmakers are trying again. Gov. Larry Hogan also has proposed a bill.