Latest state news from the AP
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Six months after saying he wanted to do a better job of winning the votes of Democrats for his agenda, Governor Tom Corbett is still pushing an agenda that Democrats largely oppose while relying on the Legislature’s Republican majorities. So it’s not surprising that Democrats call Corbett ideologically extreme and accuse him of being rigidly partisan. House Minority Leader Frank Dermody of Allegheny County says Democrats don’t agree with most of Corbett’s agenda and think it’s bad for Pennsylvania. Much of Corbett’s major legislative agenda this spring rubbed Democrats the wrong way. That included passing business tax cuts and proposals to privatize the state-controlled wine and liquor store system and overhaul the state’s biggest public employee pension systems. And it didn’t include a top Democratic priority, expansion of Medicaid eligibility.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Hundreds gathered in front of the federal court building in Philadelphia yesterday afternoon, one week after jurors acquitted a former Florida neighborhood watch volunteer in the killing of an unarmed teen. Participants spilled over onto Market Street in front of the downtown building, eventually blocking the entire thoroughfare as they waved signs, chanted and listened to speeches. “Justice for Trayvon” rallies were slated in more than 100 cities to call for federal civil rights charges in the February 2012 slaying of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, who successfully argued self-defense. A moment of silence was held at a gathering in Harrisburg. One sign said “Who’s next?” and another said “R.I.P. Trayvon. We are back in the 1960s again.” The case has become a flashpoint in national debates over self-defense laws, guns, and race relations.
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) – The long-delayed trial of a man charged in the killings of two people whose bodies were found buried in his yard in northeastern Pennsylvania a decade ago is on hold again. Thirty-nine-year-old Hugo Selenski is awaiting trial in connection with the May 2002 deaths of Michael Kerkowski and his girlfriend, Tammy Fassett, whose bodies were found in Kingston Township. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. The trial was slated to begin in August. But at a court hearing Friday, a Luzerne County judge indicated that a new date would be determined by an unspecified grand jury investigation. State prosecutors declined comment. Selenski was acquitted in the slayings of two other men whose remains were found, but is serving a 32- to 64-year sentence in a Poconos home invasion and robbery.
MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (AP) – A Harrisburg area oil tank apparently hit by lightning Friday evening, forcing an evacuation, is being emptied and inspected before it goes back into use. Cumberland County authorities tell The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News residents were allowed to return home several hours after being told to leave their homes. A hazardous materials team found what appeared to be structural damage in the tank with evidence of a fire inside. After the more than 2 million gallons of heating oil are taken out of the tank, engineers will inspect it to determine whether it can continue to be used.