The New Castle News reports about 105 Lawrence County Courthouse workers have a new four year labor contract that includes wage increases ranging from three to 4.25 percent each year.  The county commissioners unanimously approved a four-year bargaining agreement Tuesday for court-related and court-appointed employees with Teamsters Local 261.  The contract is retroactive to Jan. 1 this year and extends through Dec. 31, 2026.

The full state House has voted in favor expanding the state’s clean-slate program. That system conceals people’s criminal records after a certain amount of time has elapsed. Supporters say the program makes it easier for them to find work and housing. The bi-partisan legislation passed on a vote of 189-to-14 Tuesday.

The smoke from Canadian wildfires that has been impacting air quality in the northeast could affect Western Pennsylvania again today.  Meteorologists say the weather pattern that contributed to fine particulate matter moving into the region is likely to continue into tomorrow.  Yesterday, the state EPA issued a Code Red Air Quality Alert for the entire commonwealth.  Young children who are active outdoors, the elderly, and those with respiratory conditions are most likely to see serious breathing complications.

A Beaver County woman is accused of driving under the influence of drugs when she caused a crash that seriously injured a motorcyclist in Salem Township.  State police say 44-year-old Jammie Lynn Koslof, of Aliquippa, was taken into custody on Tuesday in connection with the April 16th incident.  Investigators say Koslof tested positive for cocaine, THC, and prescription medication after she slammed into the back of a motorcycle that was stopped at a red light on Route 22 west.  The motorcycle rider had to be transported from the scene by medical helicopter.  Koslof is charged with aggravated assault by vehicle and other counts.

A man is in custody after allegedly making threats against a Butler County’s magistrate’s office.  Police say 54-year-old Matthew Dec called the office of Magistrate Lewis Stoughton in Chicora and threatened staff as well as to burn down the judge’s “place.”  Dec is facing several charges including making terroristic threats and is being held in the Butler County Jail.

A bill that would revive a state program to help finance healthy food options in lower-income areas has passed a hurdle in the state legislature.  The House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee unanimously approved the measure Tuesday that would help finance grocery stores, farmers markets and other healthy-food options in underserved communities. The program originally operated for six years until 2010. Supporters say ramping the program back up would help people who don’t ordinarily have access to fresh produce, while promoting locally-grown produce throughout the Commonwealth.

  Federal lawmakers are working on a measure aimed at stopping the spread of the invasive spotted lanternfly.  Pennsylvania senators Bob Casey and John Fetterman are among a bipartisan group proposing a bill that would make the bug the focus of a high-priority research initiative for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.  Senator Casey’s office says the legislation would also make resources available to help protect against the pest.  Senator Fetterman’s office cites studies that estimate the insect could cost the state’s agriculture and food industries more three-hundred-million dollars each year if it’s not controlled.

A proposal to allocate $100 million in federal funds to pay for adult mental health programs easily passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Wednesday, a plan built on the recommendations of a state commission charged with issuing suggestions for coordinated care.   A spokesman for Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro said that he supports the legislation.  The largest chunk of funds, $34 million, would go toward workforce development and retention in the behavioral health field, which would include training, paid internships, loan repayment and tuition assistance. The measure now heads to the State Senate.

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