Archives for July 2019

PennDOT to roll out gender-neutral driver’s license option

Pennsylvanians who prefer not to be identified as male or female will soon have a gender-neutral option on their state-issued driver’s licenses. PennDOT expects to have the new procedure in place by the middle of next year. It will let motorists use “X? as a third option to indicate gender. A PennDOT spokeswoman says the agency is able to make the change on its own and doesn’t need authorization from the Republican-controlled Legislature. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf says PennDOT made the decision but it’s consistent with his opinions about equity and fairness.

Gov. Wolf Warns PA Food Stamp Benefits are in Jeopardy

Gov. Tom Wolf warned Monday that food stamp benefits for about 200,000 people in Pennsylvania are jeopardized by a Trump administration move to stop allowing states to exceed federal income eligibility thresholds for the food-assistance program. Such a change to the nation’s food stamp program would primarily affect the elderly, the disabled and lower-income families in Pennsylvania who already struggle to put food on the table according to Wolf. It also could result in fewer school lunches that Pennsylvania schools provide in connection with the program. Now, in Pennsylvania, more than 1.7 million people are in the federally funded food stamp program, called the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP. Most of them qualify under current federal guidelines that forbid people who make more than 130% of the federal poverty level — or about $32,000 a year total for a family of four

Strike it Rich Winner in Altoona

A progressive top prize-winning ticket worth $227,734 for the Pennsylvania Lottery’s Strike It Rich game was sold at an Altoona Lottery retailer on Friday. The store in Altoona, receives a $500 bonus for selling the winning ticket. To see if they’ve won a prize, players can review the ticket, or scan it at a Lottery retailer or with the ticket checker feature on the Lottery’s Official Mobile App.

Pennsylvania’s absentee ballot rules mean many arrive late

Comparatively tight deadlines for absentee ballots mean Pennsylvania’s mail-in votes arrive too late to be counted far more often than the national average. A new reports shows that 4.2% of Pennsylvania’s absentee ballots got to voting offices after the deadline to be counted in the November 2018 election, compared with less than 1% nationally. The report cites data from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission that ranks Pennsylvania second in the rate of missed-deadline rejections, behind only Delaware.

Charges against parolees in 6 homicides spur state review

Six homicides allegedly committed by five Pennsylvania parolees over the past two months, including the slayings of two children and a Pittsburgh police officer, have struck a chord in the ranks of law enforcement and the state’s agency. Calling the crimes “horrendous”, state Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel said on Wednesday his agency will review the parolees history in prison and under parole supervision and try to determine if something should have been done differently.

Sandusky is Denied

Jerry Sandusky won’t get a fresh chance to argue in state court he should get a new trial, seven years after the former Penn State assistant football coach was convicted of molesting 10 boys. Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court on Wednesday turned down Sandusky’s request that it review a Superior Court decision earlier this year rejecting most of his arguments. His lawyer says he was surprised and disappointed by the justices’ decision.

Gov. Wolf Wants to Make it Easier to Reach State Agencies

The Wolf Administration is hoping to make it easier for people to access state government services by consolidating ways for the public to contact agencies through what’s being called the Keystone Login. Gov. Tom Wolf earlier today announced a ”customer service transformation ” over the coming years that will include a single online portal for people to reach all state government services.
The streamlining will also apply to telephone contacts or in-person visits to state agencies.

Court issues split decision on natural gas drilling rules

A state court on Monday upheld portions of Pennsylvania regulations that address Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling, although the judges also sided with some of the arguments made by an industry group. The seven-judge Commonwealth Court panel’s 91-page decision concerns a lawsuit brought by the Marcellus Shale Coalition against the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Environmental Quality Board. The judges said state officials were not authorized to require restoration of sites to their approximate original conditions within nine months of when drilling has ended.

Equifax Finallly Settles

Equifax will pay up to $700 million to settle with the U.S. and states over a 2017 data breach that exposed Social Security numbers and other private information of nearly 150 million people. The settlement with the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission, as well as 48 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, would provide up to $425 million in monetary relief to consumers, a $100 million civil money penalty, and other relief. The breach was one of the largest ever to threaten the private information.

Penn State Tuition Stays the Same

Penn State is keeping in-state college tuition flat across the sprawling university system for a second year and for the third time in five years. The school’s board, voted Thursday for a plan that will maintain full-time tuition for lower-division Pennsylvania resident undergraduates at its main campus at about $17,400 annually. Out-of-state college students at the University Park flagship will have to pay $660 a year in additional tuition. Smaller increases for students who are not Pennsylvania residents will be coming to other Penn State campuses.