FILE - PA Donna Oberlander, Barb Gleim,  Torren Ecker

Pennsylvania state Reps. Donna Oberlander, Barb Gleim and Torren Ecker take part in a House Majority Policy Committee meeting to discuss workforce issues.

Report: Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board adds $769.9 million to state coffers

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board report shows $769.9 million was added to the Pennsylvania General Fund and local governments as a result of alcohol sales during the fiscal year 2018-19, according to their annual report.

Other highlights of the report include:

• The board completed more than 8,000 investigations.

• About 35 percent of the board’s revenue comes from three counties, Allegheny, Philadelphia and Montgomery.

• Sales on the board-run website Fine Wine and Good Spirits increased by 86 percent daily after a larger e-commerce center was opened.

• Sales of wine and spirits cans grew by 63 percent as more items are now packaged in cans.

Ecker bill would exempt farmers from paying unemployment compensation on seasonal workers

A bill introduced by Rep. Torren Ecker, R-Adams, will exempt farmers from paying unemployment compensation for foreign seasonal workers.

“These employers and legal workers went through the proper channels and followed the rules in order to work in Pennsylvania,” Ecker said in a statement. “However, despite not being eligible for unemployment compensation, they and their employers are forced to pay into the fund through taxes with each paycheck. This has caused employers, including farmers, to pay several thousands of dollars in unnecessary taxes.”

The bill has been introduced as House Bill 2032 but has not been assigned to a committee.

DePasquale plans follow-up report on student loans

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said he is preparing a report on student loans to follow his audit of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA).

DePasquale was in Lancaster County on Thursday participating in a student roundtable about tuition and debt with Millersville University students.

“Nationwide, there is an estimated $1.5 trillion in outstanding student loan debt – more than double what it was a decade ago,” DePasquale said. “Pennsylvania now ranks second in total student loan debt, the average student loan debt stands at nearly $35,000.”

DePasquale did not state when he would release the report.

Election Day goes smoothly, top election official says

Forty-five Pennsylvania counties had new voting systems but no major problems were reported from the election held Tuesday, acting Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said.

The only reported problem happened in York County, where some ballots were printed on the wrong paper stock. Those ballots were counted by hand. The Secretary of State’s office will be following up on the issue with the machine’s manufacturer.

Voters went to the polls to choose local officeholders. Boockvar said voter turnout was better than expected and official numbers will be released in a few days.