Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg  [[  BOOT edge edge  ]] will travel to the Ohio community of East Palestine  [[  PAL ESS TEEN  ]]  today to visit the site of this month’s train derailment.  The secretary will be joined on the trip by other officials including the Federal Railroad Administration Administrator.  The NTSB is expected to release their initial report on the accident today. Former President Donald Trump visited the area yesterday bringing cleaning supplies and pallets of bottled water.

The New Castle News reports that one man is in jail and another man is at large following a shooting last week in Union Township. 58 year old Larry Black of Scotland Lane is charged with two counts of aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person and several other charges. A warrant has been issued for the arrest of 49 year old Gregory Fields who faces similar charges. No injuries were reported.

Financial experts say the changes made toward the state’s Public Employee Pension plan will help make it sustainable for years to come.  Investment watchdogs from the Pew Charitable Trust say the state leaders have made changes to funding plan that will help pay down pension debt.  They also say the changes will ensure that employer costs stay predictable for new workers, while keeping a path to retirement security for the entire workforce. 

A new mid-year report on the commonwealth’s fiscal health says residents and lawmakers both should be alarmed about certain factors at the state level.  The forecast from the Independent Fiscal Office relays that wages are expected to decrease over three and a half percent as money from the federal government’s stimulus funds come to an end.  However, officials say the state is experiencing a record-low unemployment rate.  It was at four-point-oh percent for the fourth quarter of last year.  Governor Josh Shapiro is expected to give his inaugural budget address March 7th.

A state senator says he’ll introduce a measure that would give a mandatory death sentence to any adult convicted of murdering a police officer.  Republican Mike Regan, who serves York and Cumberland Counties, said Tuesday that his proposal would eliminate the option for life in prison for cop killers.  The idea follows the death of Officer Christopher Fitzgerald, who was shot to death by a robbery suspect while on patrol with Temple University’s Police Department. 

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office has announced the seizure of a combined 962 bricks of fentanyl in two law enforcement operations.  The seizures took place on Tuesday and involve more than 288-thousand dollars worth of the drug.  Both operations took place at the same Pittsburgh bus terminal.  Two suspects were taken into custody.

Advocates of early childhood education are encouraging Governor Josh Shapiro to make this a priority in his first budget proposal.  To make their case the Early Learning PA Coalition commissioned a poll which found that 98 percent of Pennsylvania voters think early childhood education is important. The poll also found there’s strong support for expanding access to pre-K, increasing funding for child care programs, raising the wages of child care workers and greater investment in evidence-based home visiting programs. Governor Shapiro is set to deliver his budget address on March 7th.

Girl wrestlers from across Pennsylvania have gathered at the state capitol to celebrate the sport being officially sanctioned by the PIAA.  The state had set a goal of 100 schools being willing to participate in the program before the sport could be recognized officially.  PIAA Executive Director Dr. Robert Lombardi said Tuesday that goal was met last week and there are now 101 girls’ wrestling teams across Pennsylvania. 

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