HARRISBURG (AP) – Pennsylvania court officials are releasing about a thousand pages of records from an investigation that recently produced criminal charges against the state’s attorney general. The documents made public today include scores of emailed pornographic images sent by former employees of the attorney general’s office. Attorney General Kathleen Kane has sought to make the emails public. Other records detail a battle over a protective order issued last year by a grand jury judge. The filings were unsealed at the judge’s request. Kane faces charges that include obstruction and conspiracy for allegedly leaking grand jury material and then lying about it. She has vigorously denied the accusations. A district judge this week ruled there was sufficient evidence to send the case to court for trial.
HARRISBURG – Another meeting is expected today between Gov. Tom Wolf and top lawmakers on the state budget impasse. GOP lawmakers tried, but failed, yesterday to override Wolf’s budget plan veto with line-item votes on parts of the plan. Democrats say the move was grandstanding and unconstitutional. Republicans, like Lancaster County Rep. Bryan Cutler, an attorney who is the House Majority Whip, say they had legal authority to restore spending by individual lines. No Democrats voted for the override. Pennsylvania is almost two months without a budget in place. Many social services organizations who receive state funding are facing a cut in services or a need to borrow money to help pay for the cost of their services.
HARRISBURG – Legislation to protect pets left unattended in vehicles has been unveiled. Dauphin County Sen. Rob Teplitz said the Motor Vehicle Extreme Heat Protection Act would prohibit the confinement of a dog or cat in an unattended motor vehicle in a manner that would endanger the health and well being of the animal. The violation would be a summary offense. A police officer, public safety professional or humane officer would have authority to remove the dog or cat from the unattended motor vehicle if the officer believes the pet is suffering and is endangered after a reasonable search for the owner or operator of the vehicle. The officer who removes a cat or dog from an unattended vehicle would not be held liable for any damages. If an officer removes a dog or cat from an unattended motor vehicle, the officer would be required to take it to a veterinary hospital or animal care clinic for a health screening and treatment. The officer who removed the dog or cat must also leave a note stating the officer’s information and the information for where to pick up the pet. The Senate version of the bill, Senate Bill 977, has nine co-sponsors. The House version, House Bill 1516, has 25 co-sponsors. Both bills have bipartisan support. There are currently 17 states that have laws that protect animals from being left in vehicles.
SALISBURY TOWNSHIP – A motorcycle crash in Lancaster County has claimed two lives. It happened around 8:15 p.m. Tuesday in the 400 block of School Lane in Salisbury Township. Police say the motorcycle was traveling at a high rate of speed when it went out of control on a curve, left the roadway, and struck a fence. The driver and passenger on the bike were pronounced dead at the scene. They have not yet been identified. State Police are continuing their investigation.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Pennsylvania is no closer to a budget after the state House spent hours debating and rejecting a series of Republican proposals to restore spending vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf. House members defeated all 14 proposals launched under an apparently unprecedented line-item override on portions of the budget bill. Wolf had vetoed the entire bill, but didn’t exercise his line-item veto power. Democrats say the procedure violated the state constitution, but Republicans claimed there was legal authority to restore spending by individual lines. Republicans unsuccessfully called votes on spending to help crime victims, buy books and equipment for schools, feed the hungry, and fund other programs that have general support. The budget bill passed in late June without a single Democrat vote.
HARRISBURG – The Lancaster County House Republican Delegation voted in favor to override Gov. Wolf’s budget veto. Reps. Bryan Cutler, Mindy Fee, Keith Greiner, Dave Hickernell, Steve Mentzer, Brett Miller, and Dave Zimmerman issued a statement saying,“Today, we voted to restore funding for vital human services that were eliminated by Gov. Tom Wolf’s complete veto of the state budget on June 30. Since that veto, House and Senate negotiators have been meeting with him in attempts to end the impasse, which has now affected vital human services. Perhaps the new governor was unaware of the affects of a complete veto, but service providers for intellectually disabled children, the elderly, rape victims, agriculture and more have curtailed or stopped their services due to lack of funding. Recognizing these dire circumstances, House Republicans moved to restore these services by overriding the veto of 20 specific line items containing these services, most of which were funded at the level the governor requested, or higher. The votes needed to restore these services are 136. House Republicans provided 115 of those votes but Democrats voted as a block to deny funding for these services, which allowed the governor’s complete veto to remain in place. The disingenuous excuse used by Democrats is that this process was unconstitutional. Let’s be very clear – when they say overriding Wolf’s veto on funding intellectual disabilities and rape crisis centers is unconstitutional, they are saying they will go to court and sue to stop funding for rape victims and children in need. Only in Harrisburg can funding vital human services be called a ‘political stunt’ when it doesn’t suit the other party’s agenda of $4.7 billion in tax hikes on the elderly and the middle class – a tax hike every single Democrat voted against when given the chance to vote for Wolf’s proposed budget on June 1. The news reports when Wolf was elected are now proven correct; he is a different kind of governor.”
HARRISBURG (AP) – PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane says her office may not fight open-records requests to release more details about pornographic emails discovered on state computers. Kane’s statement comes as she maintains that releasing the information will aid her defense against criminal charges she leaked investigative information and lied about it. The Commonwealth Court has scheduled a Sept. 16 hearing on Kane’s challenge to The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Right-to-Know Law request for the emails. Also, Kane will not suspend a senior aide who is charged with illegally trying to monitor a criminal investigation into her. A spokesman says Patrick Reese will remain on the job, despite an internal policy that requires suspension after an employee has been charged with criminal conduct related to their employment with the state.
HARRISBURG (AP) – The PA Game Commission is seeking the first increase in hunting license fees in 16 years. The plan would boost the cost of an adult resident hunting license by $20 over five years. The current $19 fee would initially increase by $10 in the first year and then by $5 in years three and five under the plan, which requires legislative approval. The price of a non-resident adult license would double over the same period to $200. Junior and senior license fees for residents wouldn’t change. Commission officials say they rely on fee revenue for nearly 40% of their operating budget. They say personnel costs have more than doubled since the last fee increase.
LANCASTER (AP) – A defense attorney says a man accused of having beaten and strangled his college freshman girlfriend in her Millersville University dormitory may present a “diminished capacity” defense. 20-year-old Gregorio Orrostieta is charged in the Feb. 8 slaying of 18-year-old Karlie Hall of Chadds Ford. Public defender John Churchville asked a judge Tuesday for a 60-day delay so he can consult with a forensic specialist, psychiatrist or psychologist about the possible defense. Officials say the two had been dating since high school. Police say told them that Hall fell and hit her head after he shoved and struck her. Authorities say he was found trying to administer CPR, but they allege she had been dead for several hours.
WEST CHESTER (AP) – A man arrested for jumping a wall at the White House earlier this year has been fatally shot after authorities say he attacked a deputy sheriff at the Chester County Courthouse. 34-year-old Curtis Smith was arrested at the White House in March. Smith pulled a knife and slashed a deputy sheriff at the Chester County Courthouse around 11 a.m. Tuesday. Another deputy shot Smith. The Coatesville man was pronounced dead at a hospital. The slashed deputy was hospitalized in stable condition. No one else was hurt. Smith was charged with unlawful entry at the White House on March 1. He agreed to stay away from the property for six months so the charge could be dismissed.