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Vermont inmates to go

to Pennsylvania prisons

HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and the Vermont Department of Corrections (VDOC) announced that a contract is finalized for the out-of-state housing of Vermont inmates.

The states began to explore the possibility of the interstate transfer after a private prison company in Michigan announced in December 2016 that it would be terminating the VDOC out-of-state contract.

The new contract will have an initial term of three years with the option of two, one-year extensions. The DOC will house the VDOC inmates at a rate of $72 per inmate, per day.

PA Corrections Secretary John E. Wetzel said the state has roughly 5,000 empty beds.

The agreement allows for the initial transfer of 270 Vermont inmates currently housed in Michigan. The terms of the agreement allow VDOC to house up to 400 inmates in Pennsylvania.

The inmates will be housed in two of Pennsylvania’s 26 state correctional institutions: SCI Camp Hill and SCI Graterford.

The inmates will begin transferring from Michigan to Pennsylvania in June.

Drivers reminded about

‘Honoring Our Veterans’ plate

ANNVILLE — The state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is reminding the public about the special “Honoring Our Veterans” license plate to show patriotism while also supporting veterans in need.

You do not have to be a veteran or active military personnel to purchase one of the license plates.

Available for passenger cars, motorcycles and light-duty trucks up to 10,000 pounds, the plate costs $35, with $15 benefiting the state’s Veterans’ Trust Fund (VTF). The VTF issues grants to charitable organizations that aid veterans service groups.

Casey: Retired coal miners get

permanent health benefits in bill

WASHINGTON — Following efforts by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, the new government funding bill includes language that will secure permanent health care benefits for almost 2,000 retired coal miners in Pennsylvania and over 20,000 across the nation who were in danger of losing their coverage.

Casey, D-Scranton, said while securing permanent health benefits for coal miners is a strong step in the right direction, he won’t stop fighting until he has secured a pension fix as well. Casey said he has a proposal to secure the pensions of nearly 13,000 Pennsylvania coal miners that is ready to go, and he is hopeful that congressional Republicans get behind it.

Democratic lawmakers discuss

raising state’s minimum wage

TOBYHANNA — State Rep. Maureen Madden, D-Monroe County, recently hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing at the Pocono Mountain Public Library to discuss raising Pennsylvania’s minimum wage.

Madden said working full time should not equal living in poverty and raising the minimum wage is a must.

State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, and chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee, said minimum-wage workers deserve a boost so they can provide for their families. He noted that all states surrounding Pennsylvania have raised their wage.

Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.