Last Week Today is a roundup of all things politics and civics that happened in Philadelphia during the previous week. This includes legislation, news from political officials, government initiatives, and internet ephemera.
Weekend 7.15, 7.16
Penn State Officials Charged
Two former Penn State officials are being sentenced for their lack of response to a 2001 complaint about Jerry Sandusky abusing a child.
Former PSU Vice President Gary Schultz and former Athletic Director Tim Curley were sentenced to two and three months respectively on child endangerment charges. Former Penn State President Graham Spanier is charged with the same offense, but is appealing. The men were allegedly made aware of an instance with Sandusky and a young boy in 2001, but did nothing about the situation for years, creating the controversy in Happy Valley that called Joe Paterno’s legacy into question. The judge made it clear that if Paterno was still alive today, he would not be spared of the child endangerment charges.
Amazing to think that if Joe Paterno had lived, he could have shared a jail cell with Bill Cosby.
— DJ Gallo (@DJGalloEtc) June 2, 2017
Students from Boyertown High School will appear before a federal judge next Monday to argue against the new transgender bathroom policy. Members of the conservative group say that their right to not undress in front of someone of the opposite sex is being violated. The lawsuit asks the school to change it’s policy back, admit that it violated the students privacy, and provide monetary compensation.
DiNardo Claims More Killings
Cosmo DiNardo, the confessed murderer in the Bucks County killings that captured the area’s attention last week, says he has murdered others. During his confession last week DiNardo said he killed two Philadelphians, a man and a women, when he was 15. Phildadelphia Police have yet to question him or begin an investigation into these claims.
Budget Talks Stagnate
House Republicans are responsible for the budget stalemate, according to PA Democrats. The state still has not decided how it will pay for this year’s budget, but the PA constitution requires a balanced budget and the state may not be able to legally spend money without one. The Democrats want to raise taxes, while Republicans want to rely on things like gambling expansion, borrowing, and liquor privatization. If a decision cannot be reached, Gov. Wolf may be forced to cut spending on state programs.
Coyotes in Philly Suburbs
Pet owners on the Main Line are being told to keep their cats and small dogs inside because coyotes are in the area. The predators have most recently been spotted in Villanova and Gladwyne. To keep the opportunist feeders away, the municipalities recommend keeping trash secure, eliminating any open food sources in your yard, and keeping outdoor cats inside and small dogs under watch. They also urge people to call the police and report any coyote sightings.
— sarahbloomquist (@sarahbloomquist) July 19, 2017
Tolls Going Up
In 2018, Pennsylvania residents will be paying an extra 6 percent on the highways. The Turnpike Commission made the announcement on Tuesday saying the money will be used to update the toll system and support public transportation. Some parts of the toll system are over 70 years old.
New Anti-Violence Approach
In an effort to make the $60 million the city spends on anti-violence programs more efficient, a new office is being created to police the spending. The Office of Violence Prevention will evaluate the effectiveness of current programs and research trends and innovations in violence prevention. Homicides are up 21 percent over the past year, according to city police.
Interim DA Chosen
The city chose Kelley Hodge to finish the term of recently resigned DA Seth Williams. Hodge was selected out of a pool of over 10 candidates and will serve until January. She will be the first female African-American DA in Philly. Hodge had been working in private practice and believed her chances of becoming interim DA were remote.
— Cherri Gregg (@cherrigregg) July 20, 2017