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FLOOD ADVISORY

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102 AM EDT SAT JUN 2 2018

The National Weather Service in State College PA has issued a

* Urban and Small Stream Flood Advisory for...
  South central Lancaster County in south central Pennsylvania...

* Until 400 AM EDT

* At 100 AM EDT, Doppler radar indicated heavy rain due to
  thunderstorms. This will cause urban and small stream flooding in
  the advisory area.

* Some locations that will experience flooding include...
  Wakefield, Holtwood, Little Britain and Peach Bottom.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize the
dangers of flooding.

Coalition Launches “We the People” Campaign

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Andrea Sears

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Members of more than 20 organizations gathered in Harrisburg on Thursday to launch a nonpartisan campaign to support middle- and working-class Pennsylvanians. The “We the People” agenda was created by people who came together in 13 community meetings across the Commonwealth and from a survey of more than 1,100 voters.

According to Adrienne Standley, deputy director of outreach and engagement with the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, that survey showed while legislators are cutting taxes and spending, their constituents – by margins of 30 to 40 percent – believe state government is investing too little in communities.

“The leadership in our General Assembly is really out of touch with what people really do want from our government,” says Standley. “And I think one of the most striking concerns that people had was education. And people really do want fully funded, quality education for our kids.”

She says initially, the We the People campaign will focus on six main policy priorities for the coming election – including raising the minimum wage, expanding access to food and healthcare, and fixing the state tax system.

Standley says the campaign will encourage voters to take their issues directly to the candidates.

“The next step will be officially having them sign on in support of the agenda, as well as having organizations signing on to the campaign, so that they can move forward and use this in their own organizing,” says Standley.

Standley adds that Pennsylvanians also want legislators to make it easier to vote, limit the effects of money in politics and put an end to political gerrymandering.

“They’re not feeling fairly represented by the politicians,” says Standley. “So, democracy and fairness and a lot of the issues that surround it are absolutely a part of this.”

In the coming months, she says the campaign will release a longer list of policy proposals that grew out of the community conversations and the survey results.

PENNDOT REOPENS STREET ROAD BRIDGE OVER OCTORARO CREEK IN UPPER OXFORD TOWNSHIP, CHESTER COUNTY

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King of Prussia, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today reopened the bridge carrying Street Road over Octoraro Creek in Upper Oxford Township, Chester County, following a rehabilitation project.

Under this project, PennDOT’s contractor rebuilt the northeast stone wingwall, cleaned and repointed other walls and performed some paving, as well as other miscellaneous construction.
The Street Road bridge over Octoraro Creek was originally built in 1880 and rehabilitated in 2010. The single-span, single-lane steel I-beam structure is 111 feet long and 14 feet wide and carries an average of 239 vehicles a day. The bridge had been closed since February after damage was discovered to the structure.
This bridge rehabilitation was performed under PennDOT’s $11,766,000 project to rehabilitate 10 structurally-deficient bridges in Bucks, Chester, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, and replace six structurally-deficient culverts in Bucks, Chester and Delaware counties.
The bridges/culverts currently under construction include:
• Pocopson Road over Pocopson Creek in Pennsbury and Pocopson townships, Chester County;
• Grubbs Mill Road over Crum Creek in Willistown Township, Chester County; and
• MacDade Boulevard over the Muckinipattis Creek in Glenolden Borough, Delaware County.
Structures completed under this project include:
• White Horse Road over a branch of Pickering Creek in Schuylkill Township, Chester County;
• Rocky Ridge Road over a branch of Tohickon Creek in Richland Township, Bucks County;
• State Road over a branch of Cooks Creek in Springfield Township, Bucks County;
• Route 282 (Creek Road) over a branch of Brandywine Creek in East Brandywine Township, Chester County;
• Route 113 (Souderton Road) over Mill Creek in Hilltown Township, Bucks County;
• Henry Avenue over Wissahickon Creek in Philadelphia;
• The historic Loux Covered Bridge over Cabin Run on Carver-Wismer Road in Bedminster Township, Bucks County;
• Oxford Valley Road over U.S. 1 in Falls, Lower Makefield and Middletown townships, Bucks County;
• Route 663 (Layfield Road) bridge over Green Lane Reservoir Creek in Upper Hanover Township, Montgomery County;
• Edenton Road bridge over Rattlesnake Run in Upper Oxford Township, Chester County;
• Torresdale Avenue bridge over Academy Road in Philadelphia; and
• Route 82 (Doe Run Road) over a branch of Sucker Run in East Fallowfield Township, Chester County.
Loftus Construction, Inc. of Cinnaminson, N.J., is the general contractor on this project that is financed with 100 percent state funds through Act 89, Pennsylvania’s transportation plan. Work on the entire project is expected to be completed in August 2019.
For more information on projects occurring or being bid this year, those made possible by or accelerated by Act 89, or those on the department’s Four and Twelve Year Plans, visit www.projects.penndot.gov.

Revenue Department Releases April 2018 Collections

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Harrisburg, Pa. — Pennsylvania collected $3.8 billion in General Fund revenue in April, Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell reported today. The tax revenue collected exceeded estimate by $33.3 million, which was 0.9 percent above what was anticipated. General Fund revenue was $57.6 million, or 1.5 percent, less than anticipated. Fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections total $29 billion, which is $164.1 million, or 0.6 percent, above estimate.

The April shortfall is mainly attributable to a timing issue. The department in February received $85.1 million in liquor store profits. The deposit was anticipated in April, rather than in February, which created the artificial deficit in April collections.

Sales tax receipts totaled $893.8 million for April, $34.9 million above estimate. Year-to-date sales tax collections total $8.5 billion, which is $21.5 million, or 0.3 percent, more than anticipated.

Personal income tax (PIT) revenue in April was $2.1 billion, $8.9 million above estimate. This brings year-to-date PIT collections to $11.3 billion, which is $124 million, or 1.1 percent, above estimate.

April corporation tax revenue of $313.2 million was $8.3 million above estimate. Year-to-date corporation tax collections total $4 billion, which is $143.6 million, or 3.4 percent, below estimate.

Inheritance tax revenue for the month was $100.1 million, $13.8 million above estimate, bringing the year-to-date total to $818.9 million, which is $3 million, or 0.4 percent, below estimate.

Realty transfer tax revenue was $41.8 million for April, $4.2 million above estimate, bringing the fiscal-year total to $416.6 million, which is $8.4 million, or 2.1 percent, more than anticipated.

Other General Fund tax revenue, including cigarette, malt beverage, liquor and gaming taxes, totaled $148.6 million for the month, $36.8 million below estimate and bringing the year-to-date total to $1.4 billion, which is $55.1 million, or 3.8 percent, below estimate.

Non-tax revenue totaled $199.5 million for the month, $90.9 million below estimate, bringing the year-to-date total to $2.5 billion, which is $211.9 million, or 9.4 percent, above estimate.

In addition to the General Fund collections, the Motor License Fund received $307 million for the month, $56.7 million above estimate. Fiscal year-to-date collections for the fund — which include the commonly known gas and diesel taxes, as well as other license, fine and fee revenues — total $2.4 billion, which is $68.4 million, or 2.9 percent, above estimate.

Report Calls for Big Boost in Minimum Wage

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By: Andrea Sears

HARRISBURG, Pa. – A new report calls for raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour to reduce poverty and promote pay equity.

The minimum wage in 21 states, including Pennsylvania, is still $7.25 an hour. Since the current federal minimum wage went into effect nine years ago, it has lost 13 percent of its value – and the minimum wage for workers who earn tips has stayed at $2.13 an hour since 1991.

Emily Chatterjee, senior counsel at the Leadership Conference Education Fund, said raising the wage would do more than help lift people out of poverty.

“It would address the gender pay gap, because women are over-represented in this workforce,” Chatterjee said. “It would also help address the racial wealth gap, because people of color are also over-represented here.”

The report – entitled “Bare Minimum: Why We Need to Raise Wages for America’s Lowest-Paid Families” – includes firsthand accounts of low-wage workers struggling to make ends meet.

Chatterjee pointed out that people working for tips are twice as likely to live in poverty, and two-thirds of them are women. And she added that poverty isn’t the only result.

“Tipped workers’ livelihood shouldn’t depend on whether a customer feels like being generous that day. There’s a power imbalance there,” she said. “In fact, a lot of tipped workers face increased levels of sexual harassment as a result of that.”

Chatterjee said the report makes a case for raising the federal minimum wage to $15 as one of four steps to effectively fight poverty and wage inequality.

“We want to index it to inflation, so that the value of the minimum wage doesn’t erode over time,” Chatterjee said. “We also want to eliminate the tip minimum wage, and we want to eliminate the sub-minimum wage that some people with disabilities are paid.”

Across the country, 58 million workers are paid less than $15 an hour. That’s more than half the American workforce.

Fire Weather Threat Continues; Another Late Season Snowstorm

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(NWS) – Critical fire weather conditions will continue for parts of the Central/Southern Plains. Dangerous fire weather conditions will continue through most of the week. Another late season snowstorm is forecast for the Central Plains into parts of the Upper Midwest that may bring localized snow accumulations of 6 to 12 inches.

Forecast valid Wednesday 18Z

Forecast of Fronts/Pressure valid Fri 12Z

 

The late season snowfall event is currently underway across the northern and central Plains. This area of snow and thunderstorms will continue moving eastward into the Upper Midwest and middle Mississippi Valley this morning and lasting through the afternoon. A band of heavy snow is expected in Iowa and will mostly occur late morning into early afternoon. By this evening, the snow will push across the southern portions of the Upper Great Lakes–with rain moving from the middle Mississippi Valley to the Ohio Valley. The associated surface low will slide into the Northeast by late tonight into early Thursday morning–with rain spreading across the Northeast southward into the central Appalachians. Most of the snow will be confined closer to the lower Great Lakes and the interior of New England. As the surface low moves into the Canadian Maritimes by Friday morning, light showers and snow will linger over New England. The dangerous fire weather conditions will extend into Thursday from the Southwest into the central and southern Plains. An elevated risk of fire weather is expected today from southwest Kansas southward toward the western portions of the Red River Valley. By Thursday, another round of extremely critical fire weather conditions will be concentrated from central Arizona into western New Mexico. See the Storm Prediction Center fire weather products for further information. Another system will approach the West Coast by this afternoon and increase scattered showers and higher elevation snow across California, central Great Basin, and the southern portions of the Pacific Northwest. Accumulating snow will continue across the mountains of Nevada, southern Utah and the southern Rockies on Thursday as the the system moves eastward over the Southwest. By Thursday, showers and thunderstorms will increase across the Big Bend region of Texas into the central High Plains while snow will expand over the central and southern Rockies. Thunderstorms that develop along the Big Bend will have the potential to become severe. Consequently, the Storm Prediction Center has issued a slight risk.

-Reinhart / National Weather Service

Governor Wolf Thanks House for Passage of ‘Grandfamilies’ Legislation, Urges Senate to Vote

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Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf issued the following statement today in support of the House passage of a package of legislative proposals pertaining to grandparents raising grandchildren, including House bills 2133 and 1539, and House Resolution 390. It’s estimated that 82,000 grandparents are the sole caregivers for nearly 89,000 grandchildren in Pennsylvania with that number increasing due to the devastating opioid crisis across the commonwealth.

“With more and more grandparents stepping up to care for their grandchildren – an outcome of the devastating opioid crisis – it’s imperative that we make sure they have our full support as caregivers and legal guardians of children, our most innocent bystanders to this awful epidemic. These bills do that and I am pleased with the support they have received in the House. I thank Reps. Watson and Pashinski for their sponsorship and the entire House for passing these today.

“Many grandparents are making sacrifices to help their families and communities and they should be accessing all the programs available to help them. I urge the Senate to follow suit and pass these bills and get them to my desk with the necessary funding so that we can begin to provide support to grandfamilies while we further study this growing trend.”

Legislation passed by the House includes:

HB2133 (Rep. Kathy Watson) establishes a Kinship Caregiver Navigator Program within the Department of Human Services as a resource for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren but who are not involved with the formal child welfare system. The program creates an informational resource for grandparents using a website and a toll-free hotline to provide information on support and services available to them.

HB 1539 (Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski) provides a way for grandparents to obtain temporary guardianship while protecting both the parental rights of parents, including those suffering from opioid addiction, and the needs of the child to be with loving family members, rather than be placed in foster care or other arrangements.

House Resolution 390 (Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski) directs the Joint State Government Commission (JSGC) to study grandfamilies in Pennsylvania, with a focus on how the opioid crisis is impacting this growing trend.

The House Children and Youth Committee held a hearing on this issue last summer, with estimates showing that Pennsylvania grandparents are saving the state an estimated $1 billion a year by keeping their grandchildren out of the foster care system, but that figure may be even higher because many of these grandfamilies are not on the state’s radar.

Gov. Wolf recently joined U.S. Senator Bob Casey in urging the U.S. House to pass the senator’s federal legislation, Supporting Grandparent Raising Grandchildren Act, which passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate in March.

Cancer Patients, Survivors Urge PA Lawmakers to Act

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By: Andrea Sears

HARRISBURG, Pa. – State lawmakers were urged on Tuesday to end exemptions to Pennsylvania’s Clean Indoor Air Act.

Almost 81,000 Pennsylvanians will be diagnosed with cancer this year, and close to 30,000 will die of cancer-related causes. Cancer patients, survivors and caregivers spent the day asking their representatives to protect more workers from the dangers of secondhand smoke by extending the law to ban smoking in all workplaces in the state.

Diane Phillips, director of governmental relations for the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, said those exemptions put many in the Keystone State at risk.

“Casinos employ thousands of workers across Pennsylvania,” she said. “Some bars and restaurants, private clubs, some types of truck stops and 25 percent of hotel rooms are allowed to permit smoking.”

Phillips said they also want electronic cigarettes included in the state Clean Indoor Air Act, and for lawmakers to maintain funding for efforts to help people quit or discourage them from starting to smoke. She added that lawmakers are set to divert money administered by the Pennsylvania Health Department.

“The General Assembly has decided to borrow against Pennsylvania’s Tobacco Settlement,” she said, “and in fiscal year 2019-20, we’re concerned about funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs.”

The current state budget includes $362 million from the Tobacco Settlement Fund.

Phillips noted that tobacco use among young people has been cut in half, to less than 13 percent, but e-cigarette use is skyrocketing. Almost one in four high school students in Pennsylvania now uses them and, like tobacco, e-cigarettes contain nicotine.

“What that means is, young people are becoming addicted to nicotine,” she said. “That in and of itself is a health hazard. And then we also worry that once you become addicted to nicotine, you might want to try other tobacco products.”

This year is the 10th anniversary of the Clean Indoor Air Act. Phillips said the law has worked well, but it needs to be strengthened.

More information is online at acscan.org.

Report Calls for Big Boost in Minimum Wage

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By: Andrea Sears

HARRISBURG, Pa. – A new report calls for raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour to reduce poverty and promote pay equity.

The minimum wage in 21 states, including Pennsylvania, is still $7.25 an hour. Since the current federal minimum wage went into effect nine years ago, it has lost 13 percent of its value – and the minimum wage for workers who earn tips has stayed at $2.13 an hour since 1991.

Emily Chatterjee, senior counsel at the Leadership Conference Education Fund, said raising the wage would do more than help lift people out of poverty.

“It would address the gender pay gap, because women are over-represented in this workforce,” Chatterjee said. “It would also help address the racial wealth gap, because people of color are also over-represented here.”

The report – entitled “Bare Minimum: Why We Need to Raise Wages for America’s Lowest-Paid Families” – includes firsthand accounts of low-wage workers struggling to make ends meet.

Chatterjee pointed out that people working for tips are twice as likely to live in poverty, and two-thirds of them are women. And she added that poverty isn’t the only result.

“Tipped workers’ livelihood shouldn’t depend on whether a customer feels like being generous that day. There’s a power imbalance there,” she said. “In fact, a lot of tipped workers face increased levels of sexual harassment as a result of that.”

Chatterjee said the report makes a case for raising the federal minimum wage to $15 as one of four steps to effectively fight poverty and wage inequality.

“We want to index it to inflation, so that the value of the minimum wage doesn’t erode over time,” Chatterjee said. “We also want to eliminate the tip minimum wage, and we want to eliminate the sub-minimum wage that some people with disabilities are paid.”

Across the country, 58 million workers are paid less than $15 an hour. That’s more than half the American workforce.