TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR MARCH 30TH, 2022

New Castle City Police have charged a North Hill man with allegedly sexually assaulting a co-worker. The New Castle News reports 31 year old Leslie White faces charges of sexual assault, and indecent assault. The alleged incident took place back in August of last year. The victim went to UPMC Jameson Hospital the morning after the reported encounter. Police said a warrant has been issued for White’s arrest.

A Beaver County teen is behind bars today after leading officers Tuesday on a high-speed chase.  State police report they tried to make a traffic stop early yesterday on I-376 but, rather than stop, the driver fled.  A pursuit by troopers along with officers from Allegheny and Beaver Counties ended when the suspect’s vehicle became disabled near the Beaver Valley Mall.  Eighteen-year-old Krzysztof McCauley ran from the scene but officers caught up with him a short time later.

The Pennsylvania House Education Committee is approving a bill that would ban transgender students from competing in girls’ sports.  On Tuesday, the panel voted along party lines 15-9 to require the state’s schools and colleges to allow students to only play sports based on their sex at birth.  The governors of Utah and Indiana have vetoed similar bills, and House leadership has not committed to bringing their version for a full vote.  Governor Wolf recently said he would veto the bill if it came to his desk.

A winter weather advisory is underway for Lawrence  and Mercer Counties until noon.  Light precipitation is moving through the region this morning.  Some areas might see icy spots on roads for the morning commute.  A quick warm-up is expected after lunchtime today bringing high temperatures approaching 70 degrees.

A bill making its way through the PA House and Senate would improve transparency when it comes to legislative expenses. Representative Keith Gillespie says his bill would provide for the electronic publication of lawmakers’ expenses, giving the public easy access to them. Gillespie says people have a right to know how their tax dollars are being spent by their elected representatives, adding that the valid criticism of lack of
transparency of legislative expenses undermines trust in state government.

State lawmakers are discussing a bill that would increase transparency for E-Z Pass holders to save them from unexpected fees at toll booths.  The House Transportation Committee is looking at House Bill 2139, which would require the Turnpike Commission to alert E-Z Pass holders when they are charged a V-toll.  Officials say a V-toll is charged when a driver travels through a toll plaza without having their transponder detected.  The bill would require the Commission to alert the pass holder within 24-hours by email or regular mail if their transponder was not detected and offer instructions for corrections or appeals.   

U.S. Senator Bob Casey has a new feature on his website that lets Pennsylvanians know what federal investments are coming to the state.  A news release from the senator’s office says right now, the map features interactive data about the American Rescue Plan, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and designated community project spending from the Fiscal Year 2022 spending bill. Several kinds of infrastructure and environmental protection projects are expected to be displayed on the map in the near future.

The number of  Pennsylvanians who are now enrolled to get food stamps is seeing a sharp increase.  New information from the Department of Human Services reports nearly one million 9-hundred-thousand people are part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, or SNAP Program. Officials say lingering employment issues due to COVID, as well as a loss of a child tax credit are a couple of reasons for the increase.

The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO annual convention is underway in Pittsburgh.  Union leaders gathered Tuesday at the Omni William Penn Hotel to hear remarks from dignitaries including Mayor Ed Gainey and State Attorney General Josh Shapiro.  The convention runs through tomorrow.

UPMC is beginning payments this week to 66-thousand employees affected by a 2014 data breach.  The medical center contacted individuals Monday to notify them of the payments.   A federal class action lawsuit by workers alleged negligence after the hospital system’s payroll software was hacked and their personal information was sold.  Payments to each employee are expected to be around ten to twenty dollars.