The reaction from Pennsylvania's two U.S. senators to President Donald Trump's State of the Union address is falling along party lines. Republican Pat Toomey says the President deserves credit for his pro-growth policies that have led to bigger paychecks for blue-collar workers and says the economy is the best he's seen in his adult life. Democrat Bob Casey said the President is pushing tax cuts for the super-rich while ripping health care from millions of Americans and he heard nothing to indicate the year ahead will be any different.
Northampton County DA Terry Houck says Washington Township police Chief Scott Miller will not be charged with DUI after crashing into a house last month. "For the possibility of a DUI charge, the passage of time and loss of potential evidence, if it existed at all, prevents us from establishing a factual basis or probable cause to charge Mr. Miller with this offense," Houck says. Miller had spent almost eight hours at a Forks Township bar before crashing ok Kesslersville Road in Plainfield Township on January 6th. While Miller isn't being charged with DUI, he has been cited for failing to report an accident and driving at an unsafe speed for the road conditions.
A new study shows over the course of 47 school days, 205 cars ignored flashing stop-arms extended from the side of a school bus while picking up or dropping off Allentown School District students. Today's Morning Call reports Allentown police Chief Glenn Granitz says he has contacted the Lehigh County DA's office to talk about what enforcement options are available to police. Right now, the Allentown PD does random and rotating traffic enforcement at the district's more than 20 schools.
Two police officers have been cleared of wrongdoing in a pair of officer-involved shootings in Allentown. The first incident happened Christmas night when police shot Tyler Hartenstine after a standoff on North Meadow Street. Lehigh County DA Jim Martin has determined Hartenstine had fired on police, who in turn returned fire. A second officer-involved shooting incident happened in late December in Allentown. Martin says the officer acted appropriately when Emmanuel Celestino-Mendez turned toward the officer with what ended up being an air gun. The incident happened early in the morning of December 29th on South Madison Street.
Gov. Tom Wolf's sixth budget proposal comes in at $36 billion. It doesn't raise taxes or create new ones. Instead it relies on a projected 4.5-percent growth in tax collections to pay for many proposals. He acknowledges that his plan won't be embraced by all. "I know that the politics of the moment dictate that some of you go out into the hall after this and talk about the parts you think may be too ambitious. But none of us came to public service to prove that better things are not possible. We are here because we believe that we can envision and achieve a brighter future for the people we serve," the governor says. Wolf's budget increases spending by $2.6 billion, or more than 7-percent from the current budget. He tells lawmakers it's money well-spent. "This year's budget offers us a chance to make our workforce stronger, to make our schools better and to make our communities safer," Wolf said. Among the budget highlights are incrased money to make child care more affordable for working parents; $60 million to increase the size of grants handed out to students in the state system of higher education; $200 million for scholarships for those students; free, no-cost, universal full-day kindergarten; and an overhaul of the state's charter school system.
Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine says the threat from the coronavirus remains low here. "Right now, really, the only patients who are at risk of having this coronavirus are those who have travelef from China. So if you haven't traveled from China in the past 14 days, you're not at risk," Levine says. There have been 11 confirmed cases in the United States, none in pennsylvania.
The state Superior Court has denied the appeal of a convicted killer in Monroe County. They disagreed with Hugo Selenski that his attorney in his 2003 violent robbery case was ineffective. Selenski, who has been sentenced to up to 65 years in prison, was also found guilty of murder of 2015 for killing two people over drug money.
Pennsylvania's Gaming Control Board says more than $30.5 million in Super Bowl wagers was legally placed in Pennsylvania. Retail and online sports betting payouts totaled just above $34 million, which resulted in a loss of more than $3 million for operators.
Expect unannounced road closures and possible delays around Philadelphia today as Vice President Mike Pence will be in the city. He's scheduled to appear at St. Francis de Sales School to mark National School Choice Week. Pence is expected at the school at 12:35pm.
Officials say people who have expiring driver's licenses won't have to make a separate appointment to get a REAL ID card. In the past, residents had to make a reservation to pick up the new IDs. The walk-in deal however only applies to those whose licenses are going to expire within three months and between the 5th and 20th of the month. Anyone without a REAL ID come October will not be allowed to fly within the country with just a regular driver's license or other ID.