TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR JUNE 6TH, 2022

A New Castle man was arrested by state agents for reportedly downloading more than 100 images of child pornography on his cellular phone. The New Castle News reports 52 year old Thomas Dunlap is charged with 50 felony counts of child pornography and one count of criminal use of a communication facility. The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office said the charges are in connection with multiple offenses dating back to July of 2021.  Dunlap was arraigned and place in the Lawrence County Jail on 100 thousand dollars bond.

Former celebrity television doctor Mehmet Oz will face Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman in the November Governor’s race.  The news comes after Oz’s primary rival Dave McCormick conceded the race on Friday following a lengthy, post-primary election recount.  He reportedly congratulated Dr. Oz and pledged full support for his now-former rival.

State Police in Lawrence County are investigating a theft by deception case. Authorites said a 75 year old Volant man has his computer hacked into earlier this month in which he proceeded to wire an unknown person 14 thousand dollars. Police so far don’t know what state or country the money was wired to. No other details were released.

Gas prices are continuing to climb in the region and are close to breaking all-time records. Triple A says the average prices for a gallon of gas in Pennsylvania is four-dollars and 94-cents as of Monday.  The average price of diesel in Pennsylvania also hit a new record high Sunday of six-dollars and 33 cents per gallon.   In Lawrence County the average price is now at 4.90 a gallon while motorists in Mercer County are paying 4.89 a gallon.

Three separate lawsuits are being appealed to the state’s highest court that argue that cities and municipalities in Pennsylvania should be allowed to pass their own gun laws. The suits seek to either loosen or overturn a nearly 30-year-old precedent that gives the legislature the sole authority to regulate gun ownership throughout the state. Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer, a Republican, has said that it might be time for the state’s high court to reconsider, given the toll that gun violence has taken on cities.

Legislation that would allow Pennsylvania banks to do business with legitimate cannabis companies has passed the state Senate. By a vote of 46 to three, the state Senate approved the bill Wednesday that would bar state regulators from punishing banks that serve  cannabis or cannabis-related firms. Senate Bill 1167 now heads to the state house for consideration. 

A state republican senator says that Governor Wolf’s proposal to give some residents relief payments from federal COVID money should be discussed. The democratic governor has pushed again for his proposal to send two billion dollars in American Rescue Plan Act funds to low-income households.  Sen. Pat Browne, who is chairman of the Appropriations Committee, says there’s enough financial room in budget negotiations for discussing the proposal. 

A state House panel has narrowly approved a bill to end the requirement that mandates businesses pay estimated sales taxes in advance. Instead, the bill would allow businesses to pay sales taxes after they are collected. When the requirement was first enacted, it  was seen as a temporary idea to address state cash flow issues.  The measure now goes to the senate for consideration.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor and the state’s Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate is answering some questions about his health. John Fetterman said in a news release Friday that he’s not yet returned to the campaign trail after suffering a stroke May 13th because his doctor told him to rest and continue to focus on his recovery for a while. Fetterman also says he ignored warning signs  five years ago after learning then that he had a heart condition.  He also says his cardiologist told him that he never would have had a stroke had he continued taking blood thinners.

A bill that would require the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to notify an E-ZPass account holder of certain violations has passed the state house. It would cover notification for the first time a person incurs a video, aka v-toll, in a calendar year.  V-tolls are charged when the E-ZPass system can’t detect a transponder in a car as it gets on or off a turnpike or travels through a toll plaza. The car is then identified and charged based on the plate or registration information. The V-Toll bill is now in the senate for consideration there.