Casey/Toomey to Split Impeachment Vote: AP PA Headlines


AP PA Headlines 2/5/20

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s U.S. senators, Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Bob Casey, split Tuesday on how they will vote on the two impeachment charges against President Donald Trump. Toomey said he will vote to acquit, maintaining that the president’s actions didn’t rise to the level of an impeachable offense and that removing Trump would cause “societal upheaval.”

Casey said he will vote “yes” on both impeachment charges, saying that House managers had met their burden of proof and that Trump will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office. Toomey and Casey revealed how they will vote in advance of Wednesday’s virtually certain Senate votes to acquit Trump.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf wants to create a major new program for college scholarships, require public schools to provide full-day kindergarten, and pump $1 billion into cleaning up lead and asbestos in aging school buildings. However, the Democrat’s budget proposal rolled out Tuesday is likely to face a skeptical Republican-controlled Legislature.

The budget would increase spending through the state’s main bank account to $36 billion for the 2020-21 fiscal year starting July 1. Including nearly $600 million for the current fiscal year, Wolf is seeking authorization for another $2.6 billion in new spending. That’s 7.6% more. The plan would hold the line on sales and income taxes.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s governor is using a portion of his annual budget address to push lawmakers to take action to address gun violence. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday reiterated his support for universal background checks for sales, mandatory reporting for lost or stolen guns, and other measures.

The political divisions and strong feelings that characterize the gun issue across the country are mirrored at the state Capitol. Gun safety and regulation proponents hold regular rallies and the yearly “Right to Keep and Bear Arms Rally” always draws attendees by the busload.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania Legislature’s budget reserve for its own operations is continuing to rise, reaching $172 million for the year that ended last June. The Legislative Audit Advisory Commission voted Tuesday to approve what’s an annual spending report for state lawmakers and their staff.

The report says the legislative branch spent $362 million over that year, up slightly from $355 million in the 2017-2018 fiscal year. The largest type of expense, by far, is payroll and benefits, which cost slightly over $299 million. Other spending categories include $4 million for transportation, $2.4 million for travel, and $2.5

WASHINGTON Pa. (AP) — This is a 22-year-old love story created at Barnes & Noble, but not sold there.  It began Oct. 2, 1998, at the national bookstore chain’s Kansas City store. Sharon Irwin, an employee of several months, turned 26 that day, creating a buzz among her co-workers.  Eric Vajentic had just been hired. He was turning a page in his life, getting acclimated to a new area after moving from Iowa. Eric congratulated Sharon and asked, in classic small-talk style, whether she had plans on her natal anniversary.

“I said, ‘My best friend came out to visit from back home,’” she recalled over the telephone last week. “He said, ‘Where’s that?’ and I said ‘a little town in Southwestern Pennsylvania where I grew up.’ Then he said, ‘I was born in Southwestern Pennsylvania.’  “I told him the small town was Washington, then he said … ‘I was born   there.’”  He certainly was, on Sept. 2, 1972 – exactly one month before his future bride. And in the same medical facility, Washington Hospital.

A quarter-century after their births, 816 miles to the west and, seemingly, against 800 million to 1 odds, these Washington natives met and, quickly, captured one another’s heart in America’s heartland.  Theirs is a storybook romance that culminated with a wedding back home, less than a year after that serendipitous birthday exchange, and has remained at a peak while raising two teenage sons, working and cheering a transcendent football team.  They are 47 now and still living in Kansas City. Parts of their hearts, however, reside in this corner of Penns Woods.

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WASHINGTON DC (AP) – Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. President Donald Trump presented the award during the State of the Union speech Tuesday night. Limbaugh, 69, is a staunch Trump supporter. He announced Monday he is battling advanced lung cancer. A bearded Limbaugh, seated next to first lady Melania Trump, looked stunned as the president announced the award. He eventually stood and saluted Trump and offered a thumbs-up to Republicans in the House chamber.

WASHINGTON DC (AP) – Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is using her party’s response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address to say Democrats are focusing on making health care more affordable. In early excerpts of her speech provided by her party, Whitmer also says working-class voters are having trouble paying for transportation, prescription drugs and student loans.

Democrats’ decision to pick Whitmer show that they are focusing on the Midwest, where Trump won surprising victories in 2016 that helped carry him to the White House. It also represents an attempt to appeal to women, who have been alienated by Trump’s conservatives stances and whom Democrats are trying to win over.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez wants “absolute transparent accounting” of the technological meltdown that led to delayed results from Monday’s leadoff Iowa caucuses.  Perez said in a statement Tuesday that “what happened last night should never happen again.” Saying it was “clear” the app used to tally caucus results failed, Perez called on the vendor to “provide absolute transparent accounting” of what happened.

Perez says the party has staff “working around the clock” to help count remaining votes. Nevada Democrats scrapped plans to use similar technology at their caucuses, coming several weeks from now. Officials in other early voting states expressed confidence in their primary election systems.

NEW YORK (AP) – The White House excluded CNN from its annual off-the-record briefing with television news personalities prior to the State of the Union address. The action took place without public protest from CNN or other journalists, and no one boycotted the event to support CNN.

That stands in contrast to an event in Britain this week, where several journalists walked out of a briefing planned by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s administration in objection to colleagues being barred. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper attended the event last year. The network has been President Donald Trump’s favorite target in his complaints about journalists.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – A Utah lawmaker has unveiled a proposal to require pornography to carry warning labels or be subject to a $2,500 penalty, though an adult-entertainment industry group warned the idea would violate the First Amendment. If the bill proposed by Republican Rep. Brady Brammer passes the Legislature, the label about potential effects on minors would have to appear on both print and digital material in Utah. He said Tuesday it wouldn’t violate free-speech rights because it wouldn’t affect the content itself. But a Free Speech Coalition spokesman says such a warning label would violate the First Amendment because it would be a forced message.

MIAMI, Fla. (AP) – Authorities say two men caught speeding down Interstate 10 in Florida’s Panhandle were carrying a package marked “Bag Full of Drugs.” A Florida Highway Patrol trooper stopped the car after clocking it going 95 miles per hour on Saturday and discovered that one of the men was wanted on a felony warrant. He called in sheriff’s deputies to assist. A K-9 alerted to contraband and authorities found the bag and other drugs and paraphernalia in the car. The men were arrested on multiple charges and taken to jail.

HAMDEN, Conn. (AP) – Police in Connecticut are trying to identify a man they say got a job at a gas station and proceeded to steal $17,000 worth of merchandise and cash on his first solo overnight shift. Hamden police said Tuesday the man also stole his employment folder, which contained his personal information, so the store’s owner does not even know the worker’s name. Police responded to the Go On Gas store late last month, where they met the owner who told them the worker had disappeared with lottery tickets, 89 boxes of cigarettes and money worth a total of more than $17,000..

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