Coming Clean: The Drug Crisis
This morning in part 5 of our week long series Coming Clean: The Drug Crisis... This morning we will talk with John Potash, author of the book "Drugs As Weapons Against Us
On Thursday we looked at the drug epidemic through the eyes of the criminal justice system. District Attorney Tom Leipold and Judge Thomas James talked about the strieds being made in the area with drug treatment court. Some statistics:
Drug Treatment Court 68%
DUI Treatment Court 84%
Drug Treatment Court Drug of choice (Some cross-over with both):
Through combination of Treatment Court and Electronic monitoring:
28,010 Jail days saved
$1,680,000 Costs saved in jail days
If you would like to listen to past episodes of Coming Clean, Click Here
Drugs In Water Supply
With nearly 50% of the population using some kind of rx pharmaceutical or over the counter medication daily, we are beginning to see ecological rammifications in columbia county. Public water supplies, streams and rivers are all being affected by drugs that are disposed of improperly, that word coming from Jennifer Wisner teacher of environmental geographical and geological sciences at bloomsburg university. According to Wisner, it's not just due to opiate pain killers or illicit drugs, but because of pharmaceuticals. Things like Antibiotics, anti depressents and tylenol and acetaminophen having an affect on wildlife in the area. For more information on RX Drop-Off points in our area Click Here
A bill that would get tough with Pennsylvania Turnpike toll violators is now on the governor’s desk.
The bill has gotten final approval in the state House and it authorizes PennDOT to suspend the vehicle registrations of owners who tally six or more payments or $500 in unpaid tolls.
Drivers would be notified in writing that their registration faces suspension.
Turnpike officials say they wrote off $5.4 million in tolls from drivers who didn’t pay in fiscal year 2016, an increase of 45 percent from the previous year.
Once signed into law, the bill would take effect in nine months.
With the November election coming up Matt Repasky, Columbia County’s Director of Elections told us there are a couple of deadlines to consider. One, is absentee ballot requests. That deadline is November first. He told us it would be a good idea to pick it up in person at the Main Street County Annex at 11 Main Street in Bloomsburg to make sure everything is done on time. Another deadline is the one to get ballots in to the courthouse. That deadline is Friday, November 4th. Repasky also says that voting machines have undergone numerous tests and are ready to be rolled out on election day.
Repasky also said the voting machines in Columbia County have undergone several tests to make sure everything is in order for the November eighth election. If you have any questions about the election you can call 570-389-5640.
Penn State Football - Fallout From Scandal
A jury on Thursday said that Penn State University must pay $7.3 million to Mike McQueary, who blamed officials at the school for ruining his life and coaching career after he came forward five years ago as a witness against Jerry Sandusky.
It only took four hours to find that Penn State officials lied to McQueary when they promised in 2001 to act on his report of seeing Sandusky sexually assault a boy in a campus shower, and then damaged his reputation when Sandusky was finally arrested a decade later.
Hunting Regulations Cut
The state House of Representatives has voted to remove a ban on hunting with semi-automatic rifles.
The bill has been sent to Gov. Wolf’s desk for his signature, it also removes the ban on air- and gas-powered rifles.
The legislation doesn’t automatically allow those guns to be used for hunting, but it gives the Pennsylvania Game Commission the authority to regulate and allow their use during certain seasons or for certain animals.
Rep. Matt Gabler said his bill brings Pennsylvania in line with many other states that allow semi-automatic firearms as a hunting option.
Unemployment Compensation Legislation
A 2012 law made changes to the state Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund to put it on the path to financial stability. The legislature passed a bill this week to fix some of the unintended consequences of the those reforms. Seasonal workers like those in construction saw benefits eliminated or reduced under the 2012 law because of a change in earnings requirements. The bill that just passed reverts the requirement to pre-2012 levels, restoring benefits to about 44-thousand workers.
Prior to adjourning on Thursday, the state House addressed the issue of local revenue from casinos.
The bill establishes a new method for casinos to distribute revenue to their host municipalities after a previous method was struck down by the state Supreme Court. It also contains House-passed amendments, such as adding internet gaming and regulating fantasy sports betting. Because of those changes, the bill now returns to the Senate, which adjourned on Wednesday. It's not clear if the Senate will act on those amendments before the current session ends November 30th.