New Jersey and Pennsylvania have America’s most-underfunded public employee pension systems, says a new report from the National Association of State Retirement Administrators. In fact, the report suggests, the two states have fallen so short of making the annual required contributions to the funds that they’ve managed to separate themselves from the pack.
Political battles are being waged in both states over how best to deal with the underfunding — Chris Christie versus the teachers unions in New Jersey, while House Republicans in Pennsylvania say pension reform must be part of any budget deal with Gov. Tom Wolf — but the report traces the underfunding back to the flush days of the late 1990s. Read more »
Pennsylvania’s porn email scandal drags on. On Wednesday, the office of Attorney General Kathleen Kane said she and Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille reached a deal over porn emails. She will turn over the names of judges or judicial employees who had exchanged sexually explicit emails on state accounts.
She won’t, however, give the messages to Castille. She’ll allow him to view the emails and pornographic content, but will only give him copies of the emails “without explicit content,” per the Inquirer. It’s unclear why Kane won’t share the porn with Castille. Does she think he’ll, in turn, start forwarding around these messages again?
To be fair, a judge is involved in this scandal: Judge Seamus McCaffery (of Eagles Court fame) reportedly sent at least 10 messages from a personal email account to the state account of someone in the Attorney General’s office. (“I just wonder why a half dozen private emails, allegedly from Justice McCaffery’s personal computer, are front page news,” a spokesman for the judge said in a statement.)
A 24-year-old was working at the Rockland state prison in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania prison as a typist when she was attacked and raped by an inmate. Omar Best was convicted of her rape. The victim has sued the state of Pennsylvania, which is defending the lawsuit by claiming that her actions “in whole or in part contributed” to her own rape.
Kathleen Kane’s office was flooded with calls yesterday after the Centre Daily Times initially reported the lawsuit response. The Attorney General’s office says Kane didn’t know about this response to the lawsuit when it was filed, even though her name is on it. Kane spokesman David Tyler talked to the Centre Daily, which explained, “Kane’s name is attached to hundreds of documents every week, most of which she did not author and might not have read.” (I guess “It’s my first day!” or “The dog ate my copy of the filing” sounded worse.)
“This initial filing should not necessarily be interpreted as meaning this defense will be pursued throughout the entire case,” Kane’s office said in a statement sent to media outlets. “Attorney General Kane is disappointed that she was not made aware of this matter prior to the filing, and was saddened to learn that the filing implied that the victim somehow contributed to this crime.”
[Update, 10 a.m. Saturday] The Morning Call reports that the search intensified last night and shots were reported in the area where police are conducting their search.
Shots reportedly were fired Friday night within a mile of the home of Eric Frein, and police reportedly had a house surrounded and were closing in. Northern Monroe County residents were ordered to get indoors and stay away from their windows.
[Original, 9:40 a.m. Friday] The FBI has added Eric Frein to its 10 most wanted list. Frein is accused of killing Pennsylvania state trooper Byron Dickson and wounding trooper Alex Douglass in a random attack.
A reward of up to $100,000 is being offered by the FBI in the case. If you have any information, the agency asks you contact your local FBI office or the Pennsylvania State Police at (866) 326-7256.
A funeral for Cpl. Bryon K. Dickson II will be held Thursday morning at a Roman Catholic catheral in Scranton. He was the state trooper killed — another was badly injured — during an ambush Friday night at police barracks in Blooming Grove.
Meanwhile, the hunt for the killer continues.
Read more »
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but I’ve got a bridge to sell you.
Okay, not me. But the state of Pennsylvania has 11 bridges for sale, ranging from $1 to $500. And the Federal Highway Administration will likely foot the transportation cost! Imagine: A bridge in your backyard, in your condo, in your bathroom!
There’s a catch. Read more »
The debate over illegal immigration has taken a new turn in recent months, as thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America have appeared at the U.S. border — presenting officials here with challenges on how and whether to deport them, and how to humanely hold and track them while awaiting processing.
The crisis has reached into Pennsylvania. Some children have family in the state and are sent here while waiting process. And the federal government, after all, operates only one immigrant family detention center, in Berks County — but it can only house 96 people at most, and only for weeks or months at a time. There’s also been talk of opening a new center in Hazelton, Pa. The whole situation is increasingly becoming a political hot potato in Washington D.C.
Adam Solow is a Philadelphia immigration attorney who has seen the crisis begin to manifest itself in his practice. He spoke to Philly Mag recently about the situation. Some excerpts:
A Bloomsberg student wanted by police for bail-jumping in a years-old DUI and drug case was caught on Sunday — just days after he appeared in a Bloomsburg Press Enterprise man-on-the-street interview piece.