One person is dead, and two others hospitalized, following a Tuesday evening crash in Butler Township.  Emergency crews responded to the intersection of Route Eight and Litman Road shortly before 7 p.m.  Dispatchers have confirmed that the coroner’s office was called to the crash site.  Additional details have not yet been released.

State Police in Lawrence County report a Greenville woman was taken to the hospital following a one vehicle accident in Hickory Township early yesterday morning. According to police 34 year old Courtney Merrow was northbound on route 388 when she fell asleep at the wheel and traveled off the roadway and struck a tree. Merrow was flown to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Youngstown for treatment.

A Butler County nurse will go to trial on charges of criminal homicide involving patient victims.  Investigators say that Heather Pressdee administered lethal doses of unnecessary insulin which killed two patients and hospitalized a third last December.  Prosecutors say she committed her crimes while working at a Chicora nursing care facility.  Pressdee waived her right to a preliminary hearing yesterday.  Her arraignment has been scheduled for next month.

Lawmakers in the state House have approved a budget bill that would dramatically boost the amount of money spent on schools. The House Democratic plan would increase spending by almost a billion-and-a-half dollars above Governor Josh Shapiro’s proposal. About half of it would go for public schools. Altogether, it would boost spending for the 2023-24 fiscal year to 45-billion. That’s a five-percent increase over this year’s budget. The measure now goes to a Republican-controlled Senate as the state heads toward a June 30th budget deadline.

A state Republican senator from Erie has introduced a measure to up the minimum wage in Pennsylvania. Senator Dan Laughlin says the idea would not only increase the wage from seven-dollars-and-25-cents to 15-dollars-per hour within three years, it would also permanently index wage increases with inflation every year after that. Pennsylvania has not seen the minimum wage increase since it was hiked at the federal level in 2009. The bill also includes language to set the tipped wage in Pennsylvania to 40-percent of the minimum wage. The state’s tipped wage has remained at two-dollars and 83-cents per hour for almost 30 years.

State legislators will release two reports today from the Senate’s Legislative Budget and Finance Committee. One will be the annual report on highway maintenance funding for the state and the other will be on the impact that tavern gaming is having on the Pennsylvania State Lottery.  Previous annual reviews have shown that tavern gaming has not taken hold in the way it was originally envisioned when it was created by legislation almost ten years ago.

State lawmakers won’t be voting on the use of speed cameras this week. The House Transportation Committee put off a planned vote on House Bill 1284, which would expand use of the cameras in certain situations. The bill specifically would cover such systems in active work zones, as well as two pilot programs; one for designated highways and another for some school zones. Democratic sponsor Representative Ed Neilson of Philly — who chairs the committee — says he intends to schedule another meeting soon to take up that bill.

The Pennsylvania House Aging and Youth Committee has voted unanimously to approve House Bill 1184, which will extend a moratorium on applying cost-of-living increases. The measure will be used to determine eligibility for recipients of the Prescription Drug Assistance Program for another two years until the end of 2025. Committee Majority Chair Patty Kim of Dauphin County says the extension will benefit nearly 30-thousand seniors across the state. Over 19-thousand seniors were set to lose eligibility this year due a cost of living increase in Social Security of nearly nine-percent.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has extended a Code Orange air quality alert for parts of Western Pennsylvania into a second day today.  The alert covers Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties.  The Pennsylvania DEP says that smoke from Canadian wildfires is to blame for the issue.  A Code Orange is called when pollution levels are viewed as posing a risk to those with sensitive respiratory systems.  The department recommends that young children, the elderly, and those with breathing problems limit outdoor activities today.

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