Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and challenger Scott Wagner have their sole debate Monday, slightly more than a month from Election Day. Alex Trebek will moderate the event at the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry’s annual dinner in Hershey.
Remember how all 25 state prisons were locked down for 12 days earlier this month after an unknown substance -- probably K2, or synthetic marijuana -- sidelined nearly 30 guards at multiple facilities? Short-term, that meant prisoners were largely confined to their cells. Long-term, it means changing policies and procedures; most immediately, that’s included corrections officials opening inmates’ mail.
State of the State podcast host Katie Meyer talks about the issue’s implications with Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, ACLU PA Legal Director Vic Walczak, and a man who has experienced the new rules because his fiancée is at SCI Camp Hill.
Map of High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas designated through May 2018. (Office of National Drug Control Policy)
Three western Pa. counties have been added to one of the nation’s 29 high-intensity drug trafficking areas. Partly due to their high overdose death rates, Allegheny, Beaver and Washington counties are joining the zone that includes suburban Cleveland and stretches east. The designation means more money from the federal government to fight drug dealing, addiction and other issues. Philadelphia, Montgomery, Chester and Delaware comprise another HIDTA along with Camden, NJ, and New Castle County, Del.
There’s a bill moving in the state legislature calling for more severe penalties for vandalizing “critical infrastructure” like pipelines and power plants. Supporters say that law enforcement’s current options for charges related to such actions are petty trespassing or terrorism -- and, usually, neither is entirely appropriate. One key change since the measure was introduced: exempt protestors who are merely present on a property. But critics say the bill’s language still leaves too much wiggle room for overly-punitive responses.