Lawmaker’s comment stirs protest

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — An outspoken and conservative Pennsylvania state lawmaker is the target of calls to resign or be demoted after he interrupted a committee meeting to accost his Democratic counterpart for touching his arm and suggest the man might be gay.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday called Rep. Daryl Metcalfe’s comments offensive and discriminatory. Wolf’s spokesman says the governor doesn’t think Metcalfe should chair a committee that handles civil rights legislation.

Metcalfe chairs the State Government Committee. His comments and committee meetings routinely stoke anger from Democrats.

In Tuesday’s meeting, Metcalfe said , “stop touching me all the time” and “I don’t like men, as you might,” after Democratic Rep. Matt Bradford placed his hand on Metcalfe’s forearm while sitting next to him and speaking.

House Speaker Mike Turzai declined to discuss the issue Wednesday. Metcalfe didn’t respond to a call seeking comment.

Should raccoons be protected?

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A Pennsylvania Common Pleas judge will decide whether raccoons are protected animals or vermin meant to be disposed.

Allegheny County officials say 68-year-old William Killgallon has been charged with felony animal cruelty after Pittsburgh police say he admitted to drowning trapped raccoons in a barrel. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Killgallon’s attorney argued Tuesday that his client should not have been charged in the first place.

He argues raccoon are vermin that are not protected under an animal cruelty law.

Deputy District Attorney Jennifer DiGiovanni disagreed, saying “a raccoon is very different from a cockroach.” DiGiovanni contends animals like raccoons should be killed humanely, not drowned in a barrel.

The judge says he would issue a decision at a later date if the two sides can’t reach an agreement.

Convicted lawmaker gets pension

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A former Pennsylvania lawmaker who served prison time for corruption has won his appeal to get his $20,000-a-month pension restored.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has reported Tuesday the State Employees’ Retirement System board voted 6-5 to return former Democratic State Sen. Robert Mellow’s pension.

Mellow lost the retirement benefit when he pleaded guilty in May 2012 to allegations that he used taxpayer-funded staff to work on political campaigns. After serving for 40 years, the Scranton-area legislator was entitled to $246,000 a year.

His lawyers argued his crime didn’t compare to the state crimes listed under the pension forfeiture law.

A board spokeswoman says they struggled with the decision. All 11 members declined comment or were unable to be reached.

Mellow’s lawyer says he is “pleased that the law was followed.”

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