TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR JUNE 16TH, 2021

State Police in Mercer County have arrested a man in connection with the death of his wife. According to police, 44 year old Eric George of Mercer is in the Mercer County Jail on criminal homicide charges. Police said they were called to a home in Coolspring Township and found 41-year-old Serena Schoeder, of Lenmoore, California strangled to death. The investigation is ongoing.

Police in Shenango Township arrested a Scott Township woman for stabbing a man in a hotel room. The New Castle News is reporting 25 year old Justice Watt is charged with aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person and simple assault. The incident took place Saturday at a hotel room on New Butler Road. The victim suffered a stab wound to the abdomen. Watt was arraigned and placed in the Lawrence County Jail on 10 thousand dollars bond.

Governor Tom Wolf is voicing his support of legislation that’s intended to prevent discrimination against LGBTQ-Plus individuals. The Fairness Act would prohibit discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Wolf says it’s an embarrassment that Pennsylvania stands out among neighboring states for failing to provide basic civil rights protections for Pennsylvanians. Similar bills have been proposed in the past, but were not passed. Wolf hopes the Legislature sends this bill to his desk as soon as possible.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved legislation dealing with cyber attacks against local ,county, and state governments. Under the bill anyone who possesses, uses, transfers, develops or threatens to use ransomware would face significant penalties. Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill says the bill would also require the timely reporting of a ransomware attack on state assets and would prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for a ransomware attack unless the state is under an emergency disaster declaration.

Students-athletes in the Seneca Valley School District will have a new look in the coming months.  The school board voted last night to keep their “Raiders” nickname and colors, but will get rid of its Native American mascot and other imagery.  Earlier this year, a group of students and staff asked the district for a change, saying the current mascot is disrespectful to Native Americans.

Republican lawmakers are advancing a bill that would ban vaccine passports and limit the state secretary of health’s powers. The bill would bar the state’s health secretary from issuing mitigation orders like mask mandates and prevent schools or counties from requiring vaccine passports. Governor Tom Wolf plans to veto the bill if it passes.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 453 new COVID cases Tuesday, bringing the statewide total to 1,209,136. There were also 24 new deaths reported in the last 24 hours. This brings the statewide total to 27,514. In Lawrence County, there are 7,646 cases and 213 deaths. In Mercer County, there are 9,683 cases and 261 deaths.

Governor Tom Wolf is urging the state Senate to pass legislation that would make cocktails-to-go permanent. Restaurants and bars were allowed to do this during the height of the pandemic to help them survive, but since lawmakers terminated Wolf’s COVID-19 disaster declaration, this could go away. Wolf says he supports memorializing this relief for bars and restaurants by making cocktails-to-go permanent and urges the Senate to send the bill to his desk as soon as possible.

State lawmakers are proposing several bills to protect older Pennsylvanians. One bill would allow the attorney general’s office to investigate individuals who may be using their position of trust to exploit older Pennsylvanians. Another would allow residents of health care facilities or their legal guardians to place electronic monitoring devices in their rooms with the consent of the facility and other residents. Lawmakers plan on proposing four other bills to improve the lives of elderly citizens as they are currently going through the legal processes.