FILE - PA Philadelphia police 1-1-2020

Two Philadelphia Police officers stand in front of crowd of spectators on Broad Street during the New Years Day Mummers Parade on Jan. 1, 2020.

Senate advances bill to support pediatric cancer research

The Pennsylvania Senate Finance Committee recently approved a bill that could generate up to $100 million of donations to support research for childhood cancer.

Sen. Scott Martin, R-Lancaster, sponsored Senate Bill 74, which would create a tax credit program for donations to a Pennsylvania pediatric cancer research hospital. The program would be capped at $10 million over the next 10 years.

“These families deserve to know that we are fighting for them and taking every opportunity to improve treatments, both now and in the future,” Martin said.

The bill will be considered by the full Senate.

Bill reintroduced to recreate police oversight board

Unprofessional conduct involving law enforcement in the Pittsburgh-area prompted Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, to seek to establish an oversight board to set standards for training, certification, and provide ongoing education for law enforcement.

The legislation would implement certification and decertification standards for law enforcement, including state police troopers, municipal and correctional officers, and sheriffs.

“My bill would standardize professionalism for all law enforcement members and ensure they meet the high standards our residents expect and deserve,” Wheatley said.

Committee supports bill to help funding fire, ambulance, nonprofits during COVID-19

The House Gaming Oversight Committee approved legislation to support fundraising for nonprofits and first responders.

House Bill 290, authored by Rep. Ryan Warner, R-Perryopolis, would authorize organizations with licenses for Small Games of Chance to hold raffles and online drawings to fundraise throughout and after the pandemic.

“To their credit, these organizations have tried to be creative in their effort to continue fundraising using technology and social media,” Warner said. "My bill will ensure their operations fall within state law."

Shapiro announces arrests in unemployment assistance fraud case

Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the arrests of three Pittsburgh residents, saying they attempted to use false information on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) applications and submit fraudulent claims.

“These defendants took advantage of a program meant for everyday people whose lives were uprooted by COVID-19 to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from all of us,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “We are working overtime to track down people who undermine the public by breaking the law and committing fraud.”

Defendants used a list of contacts to fill out 61 false PUA forms totaling $925,273 in funds, according the Shapiro. To date, the Office of the Attorney General charged a total of 32 people for submitting fraudulent PUA applications totaling over 3.1 million.

– The Center Square