Former Penn State President Graham Spanier is getting a new trial. A federal judge threw out his misdemeanor child-endangerment conviction, one day before Spanier was supposed to start his jail sentence. The judge said Spanier was improperly charged under a 2007 law for things that happened in 2001 regarding former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Spanier was supposed to start a two-month prison sentence today. State prosecutors now have three months to retry him under the 1995 version of the state's child endangerment law.
The Allentown school teachers union is telling its members to take their summer pay in a lump sum payment next month. Teachers' pay is divided into 24 payroll periods but teachers have the option of taking a lump sum payment at the end of the school year in June or keeping the normal pay schedule through the summer. Today's Morning Call reports the union president has told teachers with the district facing a big deficit this year and an even bigger one next school year, it would be in their best interest to take the lump sum payment next month. Teachers have until the end of the day today to decide how they will be paid this summer.
A teenager is facing arson charges for causing a fire at the old Nazareth Speedway. Colonial Regional police say a 14-year-old boy has been arrested for allegedly stealing a lighter from a grocery store and then setting a fire at the speedway, which has been out of business for more than a decade. The Nazareth Area Middle School student has been taken to juvenile detention and police say others may still be charged for the arson.
A Bethlehem lawyer has been suspended from practicing law for five years. Donald Russo's punishment came after the state Supreme Court's disciplinary board determined Russo violated rules by pursuing frivolous cases for his clients. While the disciplinary board recommended a three year suspension, the Supreme Court handed out the stiffer five year penalty.
It looks like taxes are going higher in the Northampton Area School District. The majority of school board members there indicate they're in favor of raising property taxes by 2.69%. The board will hold an official vote on the tax increase next Monday night.
The Lehigh Valley's unemployment figure dropped in March. The local jobless rate dropped from 4.2 percent in February to 4.1 percent in March. That number is a half-point lower than March 2018.
Three members of Pennsylvania's Capitol Hill delegation are teaming up on legislation to fight online predators who target children. Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick and senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey are pushing the Combat Online Predators Act. Toomey says the measure was inspired by the case of a then-13-year-old Bucks County girl who was cyberstalked by her friend's father. Toomey says the man was originally convicted of a misdemeanor but then resumed his actions when the girl turned 16. "Prior to this second conviction he had posted over 15,000 times these horrific messages about this young girl," Toomey says. That man is now in jail. If the bill becomes law, the penalty for these types of action would be increased by five years if the victim is a minor.
Seven people are facing charges for their roles in a credit card fraud scheme responsible for thousands in financial losses. The Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office says the defendants used Capital One cards with stolen identities to purchase Visa gift cards at Giant and Weis supermarkets in Carbon, Cumberland, Lehigh, Lycoming, Monroe, Northampton, Schuylkill and 15 other counties across the commonwealth. The fraud ring cost victims more than $100,000. Most of the defendants are from out of state.
The candidates for governor may soon get to choose their running mate in Pennsylvania. The state Senate voted 46-to-2 on a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow the governor to choose his lieutenant governor running mate. If the proposal passes the House in this session and both chambers next session, the amendment would end the practice of having the two run separately. A sponsor of the bill says the change would help avoid scenarios where the two are more rivals that teammates while in office.
The state House of Representatives is approving a bill that would allow 50-50 raffles at college sporting events. House Bill 826 would allow half the proceeds to go to charity while the other half goes to the winner. Nonprofits affiliated with major and minor league teams in Pennsylvania already are allowed to conduct the raffles. The bill now heads to the state Senate for consideration.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is saying he's proud to have signed emergency assistance legislation into law. Murphy signed two bills Tuesday that expand state housing aid for vulnerable Garden State families. The laws establish an Office of Homelessness Prevention within the Department of Community Affairs and then allows individuals to receive added lifetime emergency assistance under particular circumstances. Murphy posted a follow-up comment to Twitter stating that no one should ever spend a night without a place to call home.