HARRISBURG(AP) – Pennsylvania’s payrolls crept to a record high in March as the unemployment rate remained flat for a 10th straight month. The state Department of Labor and Industry said today that Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was 4.8 percent in March for the 10th straight month. The national rate is 4.1 percent. A survey of households found Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force shrank by 18,000, falling further below its 2012 record high as employment and unemployment dropped.
A separate survey of employers showed seasonally adjusted non-farm payrolls rose by about 2,700 in March, which was good enough to reach a record high just above 6 million. Friday’s figures are preliminary and could change. The education and health services sector saw the biggest gain. Sectors with the biggest losses were manufacturing and financial activities.
LANCASTER – Saturday afternoon’s Spotlight features PA Family Institute President Michael Geer as he talks about issues impacting our families in the state. Geer discusses the latest in the Boyertown School District case where a girl was allowed to change in the boy’s locker room. Geer also talks about the Down Syndrome Protection Act, a new web-tool initiative, the upcoming election and voter guides, and other issues that affect families. Saturday afternoon’s Spotlight airs at 12:30 on WDAC and at 2 p.m. on WBYN 1075. You can listen to the program online right now at wdac.com under podcasts.
WILLIAMSBURG (AP) – A Lancaster County businessman and a Cumberland County dentist died in a small plane crash in central Pennsylvania. The Federal Aviation Administration says the single-engine aircraft crashed around 8:45 a.m. Thursday in Williamsburg, about 10 miles east of Altoona. The plane had taken off from Lancaster Airport and was originally bound for South Bend, Indiana, but was diverted to the Altoona airport. The men, identified as James Durkin and Stephen Grady, were on their way to the University of Notre Dame Alumni Association Leadership Conference this weekend. Grady graduated there in 1974 while Durkin was a member of the Notre Dame Club of Harrisburg, but not an alumnus. Grady was a dentist from Camp Hill while Durkin was co-owner of Choice Security in Lancaster. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.
MARIETTA (AP) – Federal authorities have doubled the reward to $20,000 for information on the theft of hundreds of explosives from a Lancaster County worksite. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives says about 704 pounds of dynamite and 400 blasting caps were stolen over the weekend from a Gregory General Contracting Company site in Marietta. The explosives had been stored in a locked truck trailer when workers left the site Friday, and they discovered the theft Monday after noticing that the trailer door was ajar and the locks were missing. The company is a subcontractor of Williams Partners, which is managing the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project. Anyone with information can contact 1-888-ATF-BOMB or log onto ATFtips@atf.gov.
HARRISBURG – The PA House State Government Committee advanced legislation which would give sheriffs and deputy sheriffs limited law enforcement powers, allowing them to aid in community protection. House Bill 466, which was amended in committee, would grant sheriffs and deputy sheriffs who have received law enforcement training the power to make arrests without warrants while acting within the scope of their county court-related duties. Under current law, a sheriff’s powers are limited to civil enforcement, working with the courts on warrants, transporting prisoners, and issuing concealed weapons permits. The bill now awaits consideration by the full House.
HARRISBURG – A bill that aims to criminalize the coercion of sexual conduct is being introduced by Berks County Sen. Judy Schwank. Senate Bill 1134would establish sextortion as a specific criminal offense with consequences comparable to similar sexual offenses. Sextortion occurs when sex or sexual images are demanded in lieu of money or other items with financial value. Such action is recognized as a form of sexual assault and is criminalized in five other states. The legislation is supported by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, the Office of Victim Advocate and the District Attorney’s Association. It was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
HARRISBURG – Some area state senators want to crack down on excessive state government regulations through a bipartisan reform measure that has been introduced. York County Sen. Scott Wagner, Dauphin County Sen. John DiSanto, along with 15 other senators are seeking to count, cap, and reduce the number of regulations in Pennsylvania. Sen. Wagner says jobs are leaving the Commonwealth because small businesses are buried in red tape. Sen. DiSanto said, “Government does not create jobs, but it can prevent their creation.” Senate Bill 1102 institutes a “one-in, two-out” regulatory model. After six years, “one-in, two-out” would be replaced by “one-in, one-out.” It also tallies the number of requirements on individuals and businesses already established by regulation, and creates a searchable public database of all of them. The bill was referred to the Senate Rules and Executive Nominations Committee.
HARRISBURG – The House Education Committee approved a bipartisan package of legislation to equip students with the technical and career skills they will need to thrive as they enter the workforce. The package is the result of hearings held and data gathered from 2015 to 2016 by the Select Subcommittee on Technical Education and Career Readiness. House Education Committee Chairman, Rep. Dave Hickernell of Lancaster & Dauphin Counties said the package promotes technical education options for students and fights the perception that those who attend a trade school are not reaching their potential by avoiding a university education. Hickernell said, “Many students graduate from a four-year college with a large amount of debt and very few prospects for a job that matches the degree they spent a lot of time and effort earning. While a four-year degree may work for some people, many others find great-paying and fulfilling careers after attending a trade school or some other form of technical training.” The bills aim to address business and industry workforce shortages, strengthen educational partnerships with business and industry, increase access to CTE programs, and alleviate misperceptions regarding CTE by highlighting the benefits of these programs, training opportunities, and future earnings potential to all students.
HARRISBURG – Legislation that would remove the ability of school board candidates to cross-file nomination petitions in Pennsylvania, was approved by the state House. House Bill 638 would amend the Pennsylvania Election Code, which currently allows candidates running for the position of school board member to file nomination petitions for multiple political parties. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
WILLIAMSBURG (AP) – A small plane that left from Lancaster Airport has crashed in central Pennsylvania. The Federal Aviation Administration says the single-engine aircraft crashed around 8:45 a.m. Thursday in a residential area in Williamsburg, about 10 miles east of Altoona. The plane was originally bound for South Bend, Indiana, but was diverted to the Altoona airport. The Blair County Coroner’s Office has confirmed that two people died, but has not released their identities. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.