Mike Folmer

Office of the District Attorney of Lebanon County via AP

A former high-ranking state senator pleaded guilty Thursday to three counts of child pornography possession and one count of criminal use of a communications facility. 

Office of the District Attorney of Lebanon County via AP

Voters in a central Pennsylvania state Senate district will get a chance in January to pick a replacement for a four-term senator who resigned last week after being arrested on child pornography possession charges.

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman said in a Wednesday statement that Jan. 14 is the earliest possible date to restore representation to residents of the heavily Republican district, which is based in Lebanon County.

A preliminary hearing on the charges against Republican Mike Folmer is scheduled for Thursday. Folmer hasn't commented.

Evan Agostini / Invision/AP

On today's program: A former senior White House advisor is on her way to Pittsburgh; how recent headlines about Daylin Leach and Mike Folmer will affect the opening session of the Pennsylvania Senate; a federal policy shift could affect health outcomes for immigrant children; a veteran climate change activist says people should ask more from their governments; and how Pennsylvania students are (and aren't) taught about climate science.

Office of the District Attorney of Lebanon County via AP

News broke of Republican state Senator Mike Folmer’s arrest for alleged child pornography possession a little after 9 p.m. Tuesday night. He was charged with four felonies.

PA Senate

A prominent state Senator was arrested Tuesday evening on child pornography charges and related offenses.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Several advocacy groups are pulling their support for a redistricting bill making its way through the state legislature. On Tuesday, Republicans in the state Senate added an amendment to Senate Bill 22 that would transform the way state judges are elected in Pennsylvania.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

 

State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Delaware, Montgomery) said he expects that medical marijuana will be available in plant form in dispensaries next year. Leach made the comments Friday afternoon during a panel discussion at the World Medical Cannabis Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh.

Supporters of medical marijuana are keeping the pressure on state House lawmakers who have remained cool to efforts to legalize the substance.

Currently, law enforcement officials in Pennsylvania have the power to seize property they believe to be connected with a crime, even if the owner is not charged, a practice known as civil asset forfeiture.

More than $100 million has been seized in Pennsylvania by way of civil asset forfeitures in the last 10 years, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. A bill proposed by State Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) would change the way these forfeitures are handled.

Special series: This week we're exploring legislative action taken recently in Harrisburg on important bills that were overshadowed by the passage of the state budget.

For the first time bill to legalize medical marijuana has made it out of committee, and some state Senate members are confident that they can get it passed soon.

Passing the Keystone Exams might never become a requirement to graduate from high school in Pennsylvania. The State Senate Education Committee has approved legislation that would leave it up to school districts to determine the effects of not passing the exam.

Currently Pennsylvania has started to implement the exams, but if Senate Bill 1450 is not passed the tests will determine if a student can graduate starting in 2017.