News from the Associated Press - July 3, 2014

Associated Press
July 3, 2014

GOP chair: Corbett won't 'do nothing' on pensions

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The state Republican Party chairman says Gov. Tom Corbett won't sign budget legislation without trying to force action on legislation to overhaul Pennsylvania's two major public pension systems.

Rob Gleason said Wednesday that he spoke face-to-face with the Republican governor for an hour and he's convinced Corbett's "not going to just sit there and do nothing."

Corbett has a $29.1 billion no-new-taxes budget bill on his desk, but he's given no indication how or when he'll act on it. His options include a veto of the entire bill or a line-item veto that allows him to scratch out certain objectionable spending items.

He's scheduled to speak to reporters at 3 p.m.

The Legislature is controlled by Corbett's fellow Republicans, but bipartisan opposition has stalled Corbett-backed pension proposals since last year.


Pa. slots revenue down for month and fiscal year

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - For the second fiscal year in a row, Pennsylvania casinos have reported a decline in revenue from slot machines.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board said Wednesday that gross slot-machine revenue for the fiscal year that ended Monday fell 4.5 percent to $2.3 billion. Ten of 11 Pennsylvania casinos that were open the last two years posted annual declines.

The agency says that slots revenue in June fell 6 percent from the year-ago period.

State regulators have blamed increased competition from border states for the casinos' recent slots struggles.

Pennsylvania remains the nation's second largest gambling market after Las Vegas in terms of gross revenue and No. 1 in taxes collected.


NY police step up traffic enforcement for holiday

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York State Police are stepping up their patrols to catch drunk and distracted drivers over the July 4 weekend.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says Wednesday that the effort will run Thursday through Sunday. He says 500 electronic message boards will be placed alongside state roadways warning motorists against driving while intoxicated.

In addition to increased patrols and sobriety checkpoints, state police say they'll devote more resources to stopping underage drinking.

The Fourth of July holiday is typically one of the state's busiest travel periods.

Last year, the state police issued more than 10,000 traffic tickets during the Fourth of July weekend.


NY Firemen's Association warns against fireworks

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The Firemen's Association of the State of New York is reminding residents that fireworks are illegal in the state and are urging Fourth of July celebrants to leave the pyrotechnics to the professionals.

The organization, which represents volunteer firefighters, says that more fires are reported on July 4 than on any other day of the year.

The association says fireworks are responsible for thousands of injuries each year, and notes that 60 percent of all fireworks injuries happen in the weeks immediately before and after Independence Day.

According to the association even sparklers can be dangerous because their high temperatures can cause third-degree burns.

The group also cautions residents that fireworks can alarm pets and urges people to leave their dogs at home during fireworks shows.

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