Day one of the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is in the books. Sen. Pat Toomey believes the hearings will lead up to her eventual confirmation. "I'm thrilled about it. I think she's just absolutely terrific. She's a brilliant mind, a brilliant legal scholar. She's been a great judge," the Republican said. Toomey expects Barrett will be confirmed before Election Day three weeks from today.
Democratic Sen. Bob Casey says Monday marked the start of a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee that shouldn’t be happening at all. Via Twitter, Casey said "Americans are already voting, yet President Trump and Senate Republicans are trying to rush through a nominee in an attempt to overturn the Affordable Care Act and end protections for those with preexisting conditions."
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden continues to say he is not going to end fracking. Pennsylvania Congressman Fred Keller says the former vice president is only pandering to voters and isn't being honest. "He tells one group one thing, another group another thing, depending upon his location," Keller says. Keller represents Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District which covers most of North Central Pennsylvania.
Drop boxes for mail-in ballots are coming to Lehigh County later this week. Officials say the Lehigh County Election Board will vote to approve the drop box preparations and distribution protocol on Thursday. With that, five drop boxes will be available by October 16th. Those locations will be the North Whitehall Township, Upper Macungie Township Municipal Buildings; the Catasauqua Municipal Building; the Lehigh County Government Center in Allentown; and the Emmaus Borough Office.
Agents with the Postal Service seized several bags of suspected undelivered mail from the home of an area postal worker over the weekend. The agents entered the home of the mail carrier Sunday night and carried out eight large garbage bags of suspected undelivered mail. The Postal Service says agents will conduct a thorough inspection of each of the bags to make sure the mail reaches its intended recipient. They plan to turn over their findings to the Office of Inspector General for a criminal investigation. Neighbors think other bags of mail have already been sent to the landfill.
After months of remote instruction, the East Penn School District is transitioning to a hybrid model for its middle and high schools students later this month. District officials say about 72-percent of district families chose the hybrid model option, with the rest wanting to remain on the remote-only model. The transition will have middle and high school students going to in-person classes part of the week with face masks and social distancing measures in place. The rest of the week will be online learning. The new model takes effect October 26th.
The Whitehall-Coplay School District will continue to follow a hybrid attendance model into the next marking period. The school board voted 5-4 Monday night to table a motion that would have brought students into school for in-person instruction on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, with online instruction on Wednesdays.
Pennsylvania's Department of Health added 2254 more coronavirus cases. That number covers a two-day span and pushes the statewide total to 173,304 cases since the pandemic began. There were 24 new coronavirus-related deaths reported Monday. That number is now 8368.
State Representatives Daryl Metcalfe and Jim Marshall are calling for the impeachment of Supreme Court Justice David Wecht, but the court has turned aside their plea. The two Republicans from Butler County want Wecht impeached because of recent court rulings upholding Gov. Tom Wolf's shutdown orders. In a statement on the reason for the rejection, Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court Thomas Saylor says trying to dismiss a justice over a difference of opinion undermines the court's independence.
Vandals are being blamed for ruining an inspiring reminder of the continuing fight against breast cancer. Capitol police say someone poured bubble bath into the capitol fountain, leading it to bubble up and overflow. That's forcing the fountain to be drained. It had been colored pink at the start of this month to remind women of the importance of scheduling breast cancer screenings and to celebrate Pennsylvania's breast cancer survivors.
Pennsylvania's lieutenant governor and his wife are thanking people for their support after the second lady was verbally assaulted by a woman while she was shopping. The incident occurred Sunday while Giselle Fetterman was shopping. The woman walked up to her and called her names, including a racial slur and continued to follow Fetterman to her car. Fetterman posted video of the incident online and investigators say the woman has been identified. Fetterman is a native of Brazil and says she has heard taunts and insults before, but this was the first time someone called her names to her face.
Final preparations are underway for President Trump's return to Pennsylvania tonight. He'll hold a Make America Great Again rally at the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria Airport in Johnstown at 7 o'clock. The President returned to the campaign trail in Florida last night for the first time since being treated for coronavirus.
Certain indoor sports activities are now allowed to resume in New Jersey. Gov. Phil Murphy's order permits the resumption of contact practices and competitions in indoor settings for organized sports defined as "medium risk" and "high risk" by the New Jersey Department of Health's "Guidance for Sports Activities." Hockey, basketball, cheerleading, group dance, rugby, boxing, judo, karate, taekwondo and wrestling fall into these categories. All indoor practices and competitions are limited to 25-percent capacity but not more than 25 or fewer than 10 people. There are other stipulations as well.
One New Jersey senator is urging his colleagues to focus on passing another coronavirus relief package. Democratic Sen. Cory Booker is blasting his Republican colleagues for moving forward with a Supreme Court confirmation rather than working on a second coronavirus stimulus bill. The Senate Judiciary Committee met Monday over nominee Amy Coney Barrett while the White House and House Democrats continued to negotiate over legislation addressing COVID-19. Booker expressed his frustration, saying the Senate should instead be helping those who are hurting from the virus.
A decision is expected today on whether or not fans will be allowed at Lincoln Financial Field this football season. Gov. Tom Wolf has loosened restrictions for outdoor gatherings in the state. Venues that hold more than 1000 people are allowed 15-percent of their capacity. Philadelphia officials are expected to have an answer today that will let Philadelphia Eagles fans know if they'll be allowed to watch their team in person this Sunday. If approved, about 7500 fans will be allowed at Sunday's game against Baltimore.