Pennsylvania state government leaders are trying to fulfill a promise to speed up the process for state licensing, permitting and certifications. The Shapiro administration said Friday it has received 24-hundred separate licensing, permits and certification requests and was reviewing them. They include certain permissions to be granted by the Pennsylvania Department of State and 750 separate ones for the Department of Environmental Protection.  A news release from the governor’s office says the Department of State has cut corporate-filing process times from eight weeks down to one-and-a-half weeks.

Ligonier Valley Police Chief John Berger is on administrative leave in connection with an investigation that involves state and federal officials.  WTAE-TV reports that police department solicitor Mark Sorice has confirmed Berger is currently off the job.  PSP says they assisted the Department of Homeland Security with a raid at the police headquarters last Thursday.  Details on what the investigation is in reference to have not yet been released.  The department says Assistant Chief Mike Matrunics is currently overseeing operations.

State Police in Mercer County report a vehicle/pedestrian accident in Coolspring Township. According to police 65 year old Clarence Edinger of New Wilmington was northbound on Lake Latonka Drive when he traveled left of center and struck 59 year old Kathleen Kowalski of Mercer. The woman was taken to the Allegheny Health Network in Grove City for treatment. Edinger faces a number of charges including driving under the influence.

Pennsylvania got smaller in the past year according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s recent release of its population estimates.  Statewide, Pennsylvania’s population is estimated to be just under 13-million people as of 2022 – that’s about a 40-thousand-person loss from the year before. 

Readers of USA Today have named a Kennywood thrill ride among the best in the nation.  The Phantom’s Revenge roller coaster was named among the top ten roller coasters in the country according to a survey released on Friday.  The Mako coaster at Sea World Orlando was voted tops overall.

The state attorney general’s office says about 158-thousand Pennsylvanians will be getting some money from a class action settlement from the owner of TurboTax. The settlement for the state totals just under five-million-dollars.  A multistate investigation found that the company tricked tax filers into paying for some of their products that were available for free. The AG’s office says people who used TurboTax’s Free Edition in 2016 through 2018 will receive about 30-dollars for each year they used the program.

Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education says it wants 112-million-dollars in state funding to train more students to be nurses and physician assistants. PASSHE is requesting almost 574-million-dollars overall from the state, with other funds going to those who want to study computer science, engineering, social services and business. Officials from the board of governors say the funding would allow them to freeze basic, in-state undergraduate tuition for the fifth consecutive year. 

The House Judiciary Committee has approved a bill which would expand Pennsylvania’s first in the nation Clean Slate Law.  PA’s Clean Slate program currently seals the records of those with non-violent misdemeanors who’ve been crime-free for ten years, with more than 43 million cases automatically sealed since 2019. But the bill would expand Clean Slate to include low level non-violent felonies and drug felonies. The bill now goes to the full House.

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