Archives for November 2018

PA House of Reps Member Getting Probation

A member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is getting probation after being sentenced for bribery and other charges. A county judge in Harrisburg on today sentenced Democratic Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown of Philadelphia to 23 months of probation and $4,000 in restitution. Neither Lowery Brown nor her lawyer would answer questions about whether she plans to resign immediately. Lowery Brown was found guilty last month of taking thousands of dollars in cash from an undercover informant seven years ago. She ran unopposed and was re-elected to a sixth term in Nov. 6’s election. Prosecutors in the case previously netted guilty or no contest pleas by four other onetime Philadelphia state lawmakers and a former traffic judge in the city, all Democrats, for taking cash or gifts from the informant.

Vote-Counting Lawsuit Settled

Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration is settling a vote-counting lawsuit stemming from the 2016 presidential election, in part by affirming a commitment it’s made previously to push Pennsylvania’s counties to buy voting systems that leave a verifiable paper trail by 2020. Paperwork filed today in Philadelphia federal court caps a lawsuit Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein filed in 2016 as she sought recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Former A.G. Kathleen Kane Reports to Jail

Former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane reported early today to a suburban Philadelphia county jail to begin serving a sentence for leaking grand jury material and lying about it. Kane was smiling as she arrived at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in a pickup truck and was ushered into the jail just before 8 a.m. to begin a 10- to 23-month term for perjury, obstruction and other counts. The 52-year-old Scranton native had once been considered a rising political star in the state after becoming the first Democrat and first woman to be elected the state’s top prosecutor.

New Report Says PA Fire and Rescue is in Crisis

A new report warns of a crisis in Pennsylvania’s fire and rescue services, saying the number of volunteers continues to fall amid funding needs and training challenges.
The 95-page legislative study released on earlier today says there were about 300,000 volunteer firefighters in the state in the 1970s, a number that’s fallen to about 38,000. More than 90 percent of the state’s nearly 2,500 fire companies are volunteer organizations. The report’s 27 recommendations include simplifying regionalization, boosting state aid, setting standards for firefighter training and requiring sprinklers in new home construction. Participants say the next step is to push lawmakers to adopt its recommendations.

PA Hunters Have Killed More Than 2400 Bears

The Pennsylvania Game Commission says preliminary figures indicate hunters killed more than 2,400 bears across the state this year. Officials say the rifle season harvest, a five-day period which ended last week, resulted in 2,001 black bears killed. This brings the number of bears killed this year up to 2,421 — including early season, archery, and extended season kills.

Former PA Top Prosecutor May Go to Jail

Pennsylvania’s former top state prosecutor is likely to soon find herself behind bars, more than two years after being convicted and sentenced for leaking grand jury information and lying about it. The state Supreme Court announced Monday it will not review former state Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s conviction, and the Montgomery County district attorney’s office said it will ask a judge to revoke her bail.
The justices will not reconsider Kane’s claims she was not properly convicted of two counts of felony perjury and seven misdemeanor charges, including obstruction and conspiracy.

Casey Thinking About Presidential Run

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey had barely won a third term in office before the Pennsylvania Democrat began saying he’s open to the idea of running for president in 2020.
Earlier today ,Casey’s campaign released a memo making the case for Casey’s electoral effectiveness in a state that was crucial to President Donald Trump’s capturing the White House. In the Nov. 6 election, the 58-year-old son of the late governor beat Republican U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, an early supporter of Trump, who returned the favor by campaigning for Barletta.

PA Deer Rifle Season is Underway

Thanksgiving is over but for many around Pennsylvania today marks the start of an unofficial holiday: the opening of deer rifle season.The season goes until Dec. 8.
Hunters are only allowed to take deer with antlers until Friday. After that, both antlered and antlerless deer can be taken. The game commission says unseasonably warm weather, high levels of precipitation and a later-than-normal leave drop have made it more difficult to track deer movements this fall. The commission is encouraging hunters to scout for deer before setting up their spot.

PA Prison System May Provide Expensive Prescriptions

Pennsylvania’s prison system is moving to settle a lawsuit by agreeing to provide an expensive prescription drug treatment regimen for prisoners who suffer from chronic hepatitis C infections. The Corrections Department and lawyers for thousands of inmates filed a proposed settlement this week of a 4-year-old federal class action lawsuit. The deal calls for the state to provide direct-acting anti-viral drugs, giving priority to those with the most serious conditions. The department says the average per-patient treatment cost is about $20,000.

State Lawmakers Will Receive Raises

A raise this holiday season will give Pennsylvania state lawmakers, judges and top executive branch officials an extra reason to celebrate. Their salary increase for the year ahead will be 1.6 percent, a figure tied by state law to the year-over-year change in the consumer price index. Highest-paid is state Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Saylor, a Republican. His salary will rise by about $3,400 to around $217,000. The salary of Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, will rise about $3,100 to $198,000, although he donates it to charity.