Republican lawmakers are moving forward with their investigation of the 2020 election. Wednesday, the GOP-controlled Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee voted to issue subpoenas for information on voters and Democrats like Sen. Vincent Hughes say that crosses the line. "Senate Republicans have authorized subpoenas for all voters in Pennsylvanians who voted in the 2020 election to get your drivers license number, your Social Security number and your date of birth," Hughes says. Democrats plan on filing a lawsuit tomorrow. Republicans, like Sen. Jake Corman say the investigation will accomplish one of two things: either gain information to make election laws better before the next election or dispel concerns about the one last November.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health Wednesday added 4812 new cases of COVID-19 to the state's overall total, which now stands at 1,359,263. 45 new coronavirus-related deaths were also reported, leaving the state with 28,696 deaths since the pandemic began. Right now, there are 2308 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 580 of whom are in the intensive care unit.
The Wolf administration says doctors who offer parents school mask exemptions notes for their kids, without a good reason, could face disciplinary action. Pediatric doctor Mike Freeman from Penn State Health says, "It's not that there are no children that should get an exemption. But when you make it a blanket statement, you're not really giving it the due weight of trying to respect all of the other values we're considering and I think that's the biggest problem with it and why you might consider it unethical."
SpaceX's first private flight blasted off Wednesday evening, the first space journey with no professional astronauts. The mission is being led by Lehigh Valley native Jared Isaacman, who is the CEO of Allentown-based payments processing company Shift4 Payments. Isaacman is using the trip to hopefully raise $200 million for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.
A man who Bethlehem Township police say kidnapped a 10-week-old boy and led police on a high-speed pursuit has been taken into custody. A 30-year-old allegedly kidnapped the baby Tuesday night as a woman was trying to take the child out of a car at Nazareth Pike and Oakland Road.
There is only going to be one NASCAR Cup Series race held at the Pocono Raceway next year. NASCAR is dropping one of the two races at the Tricky Triangle for the 2022 season. That race will be on July 24th. Raceway officials released a statement that reads in part, "Although we are disappointed NASCAR has chosen to eliminate one of the two NASCAR Cup Series races at Pocono Raceway, we will continue to persevere and provide the best family-friendly experience and value to our guests. This change does not affect our resolve, our legacy and how we will approach promoting NASCAR races and hosting our guests."
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is joining a Department of Justice lawsuit against an abortion law in Texas. On Wednesday, Shapiro and 22 other state attorneys general filed an amicus brief saying the Texas law violates the Supreme Court's Roe versus Wade decision, which legalized abortion in the United States. The Texas law bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy when a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
The Pennsylvania Farm Show is returning in 2022 as an in-person event. The event went virtual last year due to the pandemic. Officials are excited to get back to a more traditional in-person show and yet continue with some of the new virtual experiences that have allowed Pennsylvanians to participate and join the Farm Show in new ways. The 106th Farm Show is slated to be held from January 8th to January 15th, and officials are expected to reveal the theme for the show later today.
Pennsylvania State Police are in the position this week of disciplining one of their own. Mercer County state trooper Jamhal Simon was taken into custody Wednesday on charges that he altered his military orders from the Ohio National Guard and forged an officer's signature. Those findings came at the conclusion of an internal investigation into Simon's actions. Pennsylvania State Police have suspended Simon without pay and reported the charges to his military leadership.
New Jersey's annual bear hunt tradition will not be revived this year. Gov. Phil Murphy shot down a last ditch effort by the New Jersey Fish and Game Council. The agency approved an emergency order for a bear hunt in October on Tuesday, but Murphy says that's definitely not going to happen. Murphy tells reporters he supports developing alternatives to the bear hunt, which had been held every year since 2010.