Thursday, August 10, 2017

Pennsylvania in focus: Pennsylvania lawmakers want you to help pay for $2 billion budget gap

By Watchdog News - August 10, 2017 at 08:24AM

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pennsylvania lawmakers want you to help pay for $2 billion budget gap

If you have electricity in your house or a phone, Pennsylvania lawmakers want you to help plug the budget’s $2 billion gap.

Along with the controversial, highly publicized tax on natural-gas bills, in a vote last month the Senate also approved levies on telephone and electric utilities, which typically pass such costs onto customers.

The revenue package still must go before the House, where its fate is uncertain. “There doesn’t seem to be support” for the Senate’s package, Steve Miskin, spokesman for the House Republicans, said Wednesday. What their alternatives could be — and if or when the Republican-controlled House would vote on the plan — remain uncertain.

But if the Senate has its way, those who heat their homes with natural gas would see a new 5.9 percent tax on their bills. A consumer with a $100 monthly bill would pay $5.90 per month, or $70.80 per year, in new taxes.

ABC 6: New immunization requirements for all Pennsylvania students

Students in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania will have some new requirements on immunizations when they go back to school in a few weeks.

The first change is that every child from kindergarten to 12th grade must be fully immunized on the first day of school or they can be kept out.

The law used to allow eight months for kids to get all their shots. Now, there’s only a five day allowance.

The Philadelphia School District reminded parents of two other changes.

First, all students must have a fourth dose of polio vaccine, including one at or after age 4. And students entering 12th grade now need an additional dose of meningitis vaccine.

The Morning Call: Prosecutors signal long road to trial in Allentown pay-to-play case

Federal prosecutors provide a glimpse of the scope of their case against Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski and two political contributors in a legal filing proposing a timeline for a trial on public corruption charges.

Given the complexity of the case, prosecutors should be relieved of a requirement under court rules to be ready for trial in 70 days, their motion says. Instead, Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Wzorek suggests a Jan. 10 trial date — five months from now — would give both the government and defendants time to prepare.

“The captioned case is so unusual and so complex due to the nature of the prosecution, the number of defendants, the number of witnesses, and the voluminous discovery, that it is unreasonable to expect adequate preparation for pretrial proceedings or the trial itself within the time limits established by the Speedy Trial Act,” the filing says.

The filing says prosecutors intend to call 40 to 50 witnesses in the case against Pawlowski and his co-defendants, Allentown attorney Scott Allinson and business consultant James Hickey.