State lawmakers rush to wrap up final session votes

Written by The Associated Press | Oct 26, 2016 7:24 AM

FILE PHOTO: The Pennsylvania Capitol building. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(Harrisburg)_A bill on the move in the Pennsylvania Legislature would punish municipalities that refuse to detain people suspected by federal immigration authorities of being in the country illegally.

The Republican-controlled Senate passed the bill, 34-14, and sent it to the House of Representatives, which passed a similar bill earlier this month.

Democratic Governor Tom Wolf's office says he'll review the bill if it reaches his desk.

Under the bill, sanctuary cities would lose access to state law enforcement grants.

The bill also would make a sanctuary city liable for an injury or property damage caused by someone released from custody, despite a detainer request by federal immigration authorities.

Sanctuary cities, including Philadelphia, say they have better relations with immigrant communities in fighting crime or that they can be sued for holding someone who is in the country legally on a federal immigration detainer.

An earlier story is below:

(Harrisburg)_A lawyer for a Pennsylvania casino says a Senate bill to temporarily reinstate a mandate that casinos pay tens of millions of dollars to host communities is unconstitutional.

The mandate was struck down by the state Supreme Court last month. 

Lawyer Michael Sklar, who represents Mount Airy Casino, said Wednesday that the Senate bill is flawed for the same reasons.

One reason he cited is that it imposes a 4 percent local tax on Philadelphia's casino, but a 2 percent tax and $10 million fee on nine other casinos.

Sklar says a 6 percent tax on every casino would be fair and yield the same amount.

The tax structure in the bill would expire May 1.

Senate officials say the next seven months will give lawmakers time to work on a permanent solution.

It's not clear whether the bill can pass the House of Representatives

An earlier story is below.

(Harrisburg) -- The state Legislature is rushing to wrap up its work on what is expected to be its last voting day of the two-year legislative session.

Bills on the move today could include legislation to overhaul benefits in Pennsylvania's two big public pension plans and to temporarily extend a mandate that casinos pay tens of millions of dollars to host communities.

Lawmakers expect to work late into the night as they make one final try to pass a slew of proposals.

Other bills on tap include a package to fight opioid addiction and to make it easier for gun owners and groups including the National Rifle Association to sue municipalities over their firearms ordinances.

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