HARRISBURG (AP) – Pennsylvania is suffering another black eye in its nearly three-month budget stalemate between Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf and the Republican-controlled Legislature. Today, the credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s lowered its rating on Pennsylvania’s debt. That’s the second downgrade on Pennsylvania in three years as budget makers have struggled to pull the state out of a huge deficit. Pennsylvania is now rated even lower among states, sliding to the bottom five rated by Standard and Poor’s. The downgrade means the state will pay more to borrow money, potentially tens of millions of dollars a year. The state House and Senate are divided over whether to raise taxes as lawmakers look to borrow $1 billion or more to bail the state out of a $2.2 billion projected deficit.
HARRISBURG – At a time when Pennsylvania has a $2 billion plus budget deficit, state taxpayer money shouldn’t be wasted. That’s the sentiment behind a bill introduced by Montgomery County Rep. Michael Corr. House Bill 1614 was generated in response to a report released last year by the Auditor General that the state Department of Human Services (DHS) provided nearly $700,000 in welfare benefits to at least 2,300 individuals who had been dead for 60 days. Corr said his bill would require DHS to increase the frequency of death records checks to ensure scarce state benefit dollars are more effectively utilized. The bill is currently before the state House Health Committee for consideration.
HARRISBURG – PA high school student Chloe Kondrich demonstrates quite clearly how Down Syndrome lives matter. In her short life, she has served as an ambassador for those with special needs, helping public officials recognize the gifts and talents that people with Down Syndrome have to offer. Chloe was among those gathered at the state Capitol Tuesday for a news conference promoting a resolution that recognizes the inherent value and dignity of children with an extra chromosome. Senate Resolution 174, sponsored by Lancaster County Sen. Scott Martin, condemns the abortion of babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Maria Gallagher, Education Director with the PA Pro Life Federation, says such abortions must end. She added that the lives of Down Syndrome children matter a great deal to families, schools, communities, and companies across the Commonwealth and it’s time for the discrimination against these valuable individuals to end.
WEST CHESTER – Chester County authorities are searching for a missing 15-year-old girl, who was last seen this morning at Henderson High School in West Chester. Victoria Grimaldi has a history of mental health issues and does not have her medication. She was last seen wearing black leggings and a gray zip up style sweat shirt with a sparkly wing design on the back. She is also in the possession of a Jansport back pack that is turquoise in color with a plaid design. Grimaldi is described as a white female, with brown hair, blue eyes, 5’5”, and 125 pounds. Her whereabouts are unknown at this time. It is possible that she has left the area and is using public transportation. Anyone with information is asked to contact West Whiteland Police Detective McCloskey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 484-875-6023 or 610-842-1584.
HARRISBURG – Arally was held bystate lawmakers and advocates at the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg in support of Lancaster County Sen. Scott Martin’sSenate Resolution 174, whichcondemns the practice of aborting unborn babies with Down Syndrome. A recent CBS report praised Iceland for virtually eliminating Down Syndrome byaborting 100% of those with a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis. Martin, along with Sen. John Eichelberger, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, and the other co-sponsors of thebipartisan Senate Resolution 174are standing up for the rights of allpeople to live and thrive to their full potential. Martin added that some studies suggest that the abortion rate of babies with Down Syndrome is now as high as 90%.
LANCASTER – Heather Avis is a wife and mom, who could not have children of her own, She and her husband chose adoption. They have three adopted children, two with Down Syndrome. Heather said it’s been a rewarding experience. She says the greatest challenge in raising a child with Down Syndrome is not the child, but the world not recognizing the value and worth of a child with a special need. Heather Avis will be the guest speaker at Friendship Community’s 45th Anniversary Celebration Dinner on Tuesday, October 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Shady Maple. Tickets are complimentary, but reservations are needed by October 3rd. You can make reservations by calling 717-656-2466 or online at www.friendshipcommunity.net.
BLUE BELL – Gov. Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances Wolf participated in a panel discussion and community forum on the importance of Planned Parenthood at Montgomery County Community College’s main campus. Other participants included Planned Parenthood medical providers, staff, and patients. The audience posed questions for the panel, seeking answers on everything from access to health care for immigrant women and proposed legislation in D.C. that could stop taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. Gov. and First Lady Wolf were Planned Parenthood volunteers in York.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Gov. Tom Wolf says state government has less than two weeks to end a budget stalemate before the state’s battered credit rating gets another downgrade and he must delay more payments for lack of cash. Wolf said that he believes that leaders of the House and Senate Republican majorities are on board with getting a deal done and signed by Oct. 1. With cash running low, Wolf has delayed $1.7 billion in payments while state lawmakers deal for a third month over patching a projected $2 billion-plus deficit in a $32 billion budget bill they passed June 30. Wolf says credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s is giving Wolf and lawmakers more time to get a budget deal.
CONESTOGA (AP) – Federal regulators have given final approval to a company planning a contested $3 billion pipeline to carry natural gas from northeastern Pennsylvania to Southern states. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued the notice for 197-mile stretch of the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline in Pennsylvania. Pipeline opponents, including a group of nuns who allowed the building of an outdoor chapel on the proposed pipeline route, had challenged the project. Christopher Stockton, a spokesman for parent company Williams Partners, says work will likely begin the week of Sept. 25. That’s because the project’s contractor needs time to prepare the site and mobilize equipment. Lancaster Against Pipelines, the group that built the chapel, have vowed to protect it.
HARRISBURG – As part of the ongoing effort to curb the opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania, officials with the Wolf Administration today announced the opening of 65 prescription drug take-back boxes at Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) stations across the commonwealth. State Police Commissioner Tyree Blocker was joined by Acting Secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Jennifer Smith and other Wolf Administration officials at Troop H headquarters in Harrisburg to unveil one of the take-back boxes, which were donated by CVS Health as part of the company’s commitment to helping the communities it serves prevent prescription drug abuse and misuse. A statewide interactive map is available to help people find the nearest prescription drug take-back box. Since the program began in 2015, the Commonwealth has collected and destroyed 301,388 pounds of drugs.