The Senate voted to pass a debt ceiling bill Thursday night, just one day after it was approved in the House. One of Pennsylvania's two senators gave the bill a thumbs down. In a statement from his office, John Fetterman said he was a 'no' vote because of what he calls added restrictions to SNAP, which provides nutrition benefits to needy families. Fetterman says, "I did not agree to these SNAP restrictions and I won't give Republicans an opening to try and take food from more food insecure Americans in Farm Bill negotiations later this year. That is why I voted no tonight."
The family of a murdered Temple University officer claims his alleged killer's parents are partially responsible for his death. The family of Sgt. Chris Fitzgerald, including his father, ex-Allentown police chief Joel Fitzgerald, filed a civil lawsuit Thursday in Philadelphia court against relatives of 18-year-old Miles Pfeffer. The suit says Pfeffer's father, mother and her longtime boyfriend are liable for negligence and wrongful death in the February shooting. The lawsuit claims Pfeffer's parents all knew about his "mental instability, propensity for violence, and interest in firearms" and gave their son easy access to guns.
48-year-old Dennis Yenser Jr. faces charges for an August 2021 drug overdose death in Lehigh County. Prosecutors say 19-year-old Chase Frable was found dead inside a North Whitehall Township home and his death was due to methamphetamine and fentanyl according to the Lehigh County Coroner. Investigators say Yenser delivered the drugs which caused Frable's death. Yenser faces three felony charges and one misdemeanor.
Lehigh University has completed the purchase of three Bethlehem churches for $3.75 million. The university will take over the properties from the former St. Peter's Church, St. John's Windish Church and Light of Christ Church. Those three churches are merging into one congregation known as the Blessed Trinity Lutheran Church. Lehigh has yet to reveal what it plans to do with the properties.
Pennsylvania's two-time auditor general has announced he's running to be the state's next attorney general. Eugene DePasquale says he knows how to appeal to voters on the issues. "It is no small task running statewide in Pennsylvania," DePasquale says. He says his time as auditor general would serve as a natural progression to attorney general. "The auditor really is the first step. You do the investigations. You try to root out waste, corruption and misspent money. The attorney general, you get in on the back end. That's where you actually prosecute people and bring them to account for their misdeeds," DePasquale says. Current state attorney general Michelle Henry was appointed to the position after Josh Shapiro left to become governor. She has said she doesn't plan to run for the office in 2024.
More than a dozen witnesses have testified for the prosecution in the first three days of the Tree of Life trial. Robert Bowers faces 63 federal charges in the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh-area synagogue that killed 11 people. The counts against Bowers include felony offenses and prosecutors say they might ask for the death penalty. While he has pleaded not guilty to the specific charges against him, his defense lawyer has acknowledged he was the shooter as part of her strategy to defend Bowers. The shooting has been called the worst anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history.
Agriculture officials in Pennsylvania say egg prices and production levels are nearly back to pre-pandemic levels. That's despite lingering impacts from bird flu. According to the latest Northeastern chicken and egg report from the USDA, Pennsylvania's egg production was down eight percent in April, compared to last year. However, that's an improvement from December, when monthly production had tanked at 17-percent.
A House panel has approved a bill that would increase awareness about eating disorders and better identify them among school-aged kids. The House Education Committee voted to pass the measure sponsored by state Rep. Jason Ortitay of Allegheny. It would create a state task force to develop guidance and educational resources for parents created from organizations that are dedicated to eating disorder awareness and treatment. It still needs to be voted on by the full House.
A measure that would change how guns are sold in Pennsylvania will be voted on for final passage in the state House Monday. House Bill 731 would require the securing/disabling of firearms when they're not being carried. It would also mandate locks on long guns at the time they're purchased, which is not a current requirement for sales. Supporters say the measure provides more security for weapons that children could have access to, but opponents say the bill goes against the U.S. and Pennsylvania constitutions. They also say it wouldn't necessarily prevent gun violence carried out by criminals.
House lawmakers are set to vote on a resolution Monday that would create a "Roberto Clemente Day" in Pennsylvania. Sponsors say the measure would recognize September 15th in honor of the humanitarian who played 18 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The resolution would celebrate his life as a twelve-time All-Star, World Series MVP and the first Latin American inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Clemente was also known for his humanitarian work for his native Puerto Rico.
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie does not have high marks in a poll as he reportedly gets set to announce a run for the White House. A new Monmouth University poll shows 47-percent view Christie as unfavorable among registered voters who identify with or lean toward the GOP. That's the lowest favorability rating among all presidential hopefuls tested in the poll. Reports say Christie will make the announcement that he's running for president at a town hall event in New Hampshire next Tuesday.
A controversial property tax plan for seniors -- the one Governor Phil Murphy has vowed to veto if it reaches his desk -- has been introduced in the State Senate. Senate President Nick Scutari introduced the bill, which was originally proposed by Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin. Scutari's introduction of the bill is seen as a major boost for the proposal with only a month left for budget negotiations. The bill would make New Jersey residents older that 65 eligible for a tax credit worth half of their annual property tax bill. Governor Murphy has blasted the bill, calling it irresponsible.