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Category Archives: PA

PA State Police Confiscate Heroin, Other Dangerous Drugs Valued at Nearly $6 Million in the First Quarter of 2018

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Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania State Police announced today that troopers seized $5,717,553 worth of drugs — including heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and methamphetamine —in the first quarter of 2018.

 

From January 1 through March 31, state police collected more than 20 pounds of heroin and over 1.5 pounds of fentanyl. The drugs have a combined street value of $579,024. Troopers also removed more than 41 pounds of cocaine and nearly 22 pounds of methamphetamines from the highways and communities of Pennsylvania during the same period.

 

The Pennsylvania State Police seized over $41 million in prohibited drugs in 2017, including 227 pounds of heroin and fentanyl.

 

First Quarter Drug Seizure Totals
                         Drug Total Seized Total Value of Amount Seized
Cocaine 41.58 lbs. $754,677
Crack Cocaine 2.16 lbs. $98,280
Heroin 20.37 lbs. $554,064
Fentanyl 1.56 lbs. $24,960
LSD 24 doses $480
Marijuana THC – Liquid 1.62 pints $10,854
Marijuana THC Solid 8.40 lbs. $42,000
Marijuana Plants 808 plants $133,320
Processed Marijuana 952.44 lbs. $2,857,320
Methamphetamines 21.85 lbs. $895,850
Other Narcotics 70.76 lbs. $162,748
Other Narcotics (pills) 7,320 pills $183,000
  Total Value: $5,717,533

 

Department of State Tells Counties to Have New Voting Systems in Place by End of 2019

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Harrisburg, PA –  Acting Secretary of State Robert Torres today informed Pennsylvania’s counties to have voter-verifiable paper record voting systems selected no later than December 31, 2019, and preferably in place by the November 2019 general election. He also announced the commonwealth will receive nearly $14 million in federal funding to assist counties with replacement.

“We have been planning for some time to bring Pennsylvania’s voting machines up to 21st-century standards of security, auditability and resiliency,” Torres said. “The federal assistance could not come at a more opportune moment.”
Pennsylvania’s allocation of $13.5 million comes from Congress’ recent appropriation of $380 million for election security under the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2018. The funding is being distributed under provisions of the Help America Vote Act of 2002. Each state’s allocation requires a 5-percent state match, bringing Pennsylvania’s total funding package to $14.15 million.
The administration is committed to working with the legislature to help fund these voting system upgrades, including but not limited to the consideration of future year cost-sharing arrangements which could use local, state, and federal dollars.
Last week the department released an Invitation For Bid (IFB) for new voting systems, directing that new systems meet enhanced security and auditability standards. The IFB updated an existing state-negotiated agreement with vendors and can be used by counties to purchase voting systems that meet the department’s certification requirements.
 “We want to bring about the system upgrades so Pennsylvania voters are voting on the most secure and auditable equipment as promptly and feasibly as possible, while also being supportive of the counties’ need to plan and budget for the new systems,” Torres said.
The department is also exploring every option to help fund or finance the upgrades, including lease agreements, grant opportunities, state, local, and additional federal appropriations, partnerships, bonds, and more.
To kick off public education about new voting systems on the market, the department plans to hold a vendor demonstration April 26 at the Farm Show complex. The event will provide an opportunity for county and state officials, legislators, the media, and the public to explore the features and options offered by the new machines. Details on the event will be forthcoming.
Counties will be able to choose from among any of the voting systems examined and certified after January 1, 2018, by both the federal Election Assistance Commission and the Secretary of the Commonwealth. To date, one system has been certified, and several others will follow in the summer and fall of 2018.  Information regarding the examination and certification process (PDF) can be found on the department’s website. The department will provide extensive support and guidance to the county Boards of Election and voters to ensure a smooth transition to the new systems.
In the meantime, Pennsylvania is employing extensive measures and partnering with federal and state law enforcement agencies to stay one step ahead of any threats to our security and infrastructure, including comprehensive monitoring and assessment of risk, fortification of physical and cyber security, training and resources to counties and partners, and increasing communications at all levels.

PA House Abortion Ban Bill Called Unconstitutional

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By: Andrea Sears

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Civil-liberties advocates call a bill passed Monday by Pennsylvania’s House Health Committee “unconstitutional and unenforceable.”

House Bill 2050 would make it a crime to perform an abortion based on a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome. Elizabeth Randol, legislative director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania, noted that other states have passed similar laws, but none has gone into effect.

“It attempts to ban abortion prior to viability,” she said, “and, beginning in Roe vs. Wade all the way through subsequent Supreme Court decisions, that has been repeatedly affirmed flatly unconstitutional.”

Supporters of the bill have said people with Down syndrome can lead happy lives and contribute to their communities. HB 2050 could come up for a final vote in the House next week. There is no similar bill in the Senate.

Randol said medical test results are not shared with law enforcement and establishing a diagnosis as the sole motivation for an abortion would be difficult at best. She contended that the legislation is strictly political.

“It utilizes a very difficult decision for some people and a very complex one to exploit the people that it affects as a wedge to try to legislate abortion control,” she said.

She added that the bill was put on the committee’s agenda late last Friday afternoon, after it was too late for members of the House to file amendments.

Randol said there already is a very long waiting list of people with intellectual disabilities such as Down syndrome in Pennsylvania who are desperate for services. There is inadequate state funding for support professionals, she said, but this bill doesn’t address those issues.

“They have done nothing to provide any help or assistance for both children and adults with Down syndrome,” she said, “and no assistance or education for women or parents who would want to bring a pregnancy to term.”

A federal court stopped implementation of a similar law in Indiana in 2016, and last month an Ohio ban was blocked while a lawsuit challenging it is litigated.

The text of House Bill 2050 is online at legis.state.pa.us.

Equal Pay Day Finds Slow Progress to Parity

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By: Andrea Sears

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Today is Equal Pay Day, marking the 99 extra days women have to work this year to equal the pay men were paid last year.

Data from the National Committee on Pay Equity show the wage gap between women and men narrowed slightly last year. Women are now paid 80 cents for every dollar paid to men.

According to Toni Van Pelt, president of the National Organization for Women, the research shows that progress toward equal pay has moved at a snail’s pace since the Equal Pay Act was signed into law by President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

“When we first started talking about this, the average full-time working woman was earning 59 cents,” Van Pelt said, “so in 55 years, it’s only closed by 18 cents.”

She added the pay gap is even greater for women of color, with African-American women earning an average of 66 cents, and Latinas just 60 cents, to every dollar paid to men.

Van Pelt pointed out the huge impact that this pay gap can have over the course of a lifetime, as hourly pay itself is just part of total lifetime earnings.

“Pension benefits, our vacation time, our care-giving time – all of these things can be based on how much a woman is paid,” she observed. “And so, it’s really important that she has equal pay.”

On average, a woman’s lifetime earnings are $530,000 less than a man’s. And Van Pelt noted that lower pay for women affects more than their purchasing power.

“If women are kept in a state of constant economic insecurity, they are more liable to feel that they must put up with sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace,” she said.

A study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that, at the current pace, white women will achieve pay equity with white men in about 40 years. But for African-American women, it will take 100 years, and for Latinas, more than two centuries.

TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS SCHEDULED NEXT WEEK FOR TREE TRIMMING OPERATIONS IN THE PHILADELPHIA REGION

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​King of Prussia, PA – Travel restrictions are scheduled next week on several state highways for tree removal operations in the Philadelphia region, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today.

The work schedule is:
• Monday, April 9, from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM, lane restrictions with flagging are scheduled on Wynnewood Road between Forrest Road and Hazelhurst Avenue in Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County;
• Monday, April 9, from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM, lane restrictions with flagging are scheduled on Morris Road at Penllyn Blue Bell Pike in Whitpain Township, Montgomery County;
• Monday, April 9, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, a right lane closure is scheduled on southbound U.S. 1 (Roosevelt Boulevard Extension) between the Fox Street and Ridge Avenue/Kelly Drive interchanges in Philadelphia;
• Monday, April 9, through Wednesday, April 11, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, lane restrictions with flagging are scheduled on Route 82 (Doe Run Road) between Buck Run Road and Dupont Road in East Fallowfield Township, Chester County;
• Monday, April 9, through Friday, April 13, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, a right lane closure is scheduled on northbound Interstate 476 between the U.S. 1 Media/Swarthmore and Route 3 (West Chester Pike) interchanges in Marple, Township, Delaware County;
• Monday, April 9, through Friday, April 13, from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM, a right lane closure is scheduled on U.S. 202 (Dekalb Pike) between Boro Line Road and Main Street in Norristown and East Norriton Township, Montgomery County;
• Tuesday, April 10, from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM, a right lane closure is scheduled on northbound U.S. 202 (Dekalb Pike) between School House Lane and Plymouth Road in Lower Gwynedd Township, Montgomery County;
• Tuesday, April 10, from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM, lane restrictions with flagging are scheduled on Argyle Road between Sussex Road and Grenox Road in Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County;
• Tuesday, April 10 and Wednesday, April 11, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, a right lane closure is scheduled on northbound U.S. 1 (Roosevelt Boulevard Extension) between the Interstate 76 and Wissahickon North interchanges in Philadelphia;
• Wednesday, April 11, through Friday, April 13, from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM, lane restrictions with flagging are scheduled on Stump Hall Road between Route 363 (Valley Forge Road) and Route 73 (Skippack Pike) in Worcester and Skippack townships, Montgomery County; and
• Thursday, April 12 and Friday, April 13, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, lane restrictions with flagging are scheduled on Oxford Road between Frog Hollow Road and Wilson Mill Road in East Nottingham Township, Chester County.
Motorists are advised to allow extra time when traveling through the work areas because slowdowns will occur during construction. All scheduled activities are weather dependent.

U.S. 202 SOUTH PERIODIC LANE CLOSURES SCHEDULED WEEKNIGHTS FOR UTILITY IMPROVEMENTS IN CHESTER COUNTY

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King of Prussia, PA – Westtown Township is planning overnight periodic lane closures on U.S. 202 between Robin’s Nest Lane and Old Wilmington Pike in Westtown Township, Chester County on Thursday, April 12, through Friday, April 20, from 8:00 PM to 6:00 AM the following morning, for utility work, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today.

Motorists are advised to allow extra time when traveling through the work area because slowdowns will occur during construction. The schedule is weather dependent.
Westtown Township will complete this project under a PennDOT Highway Occupancy Permit.