AP PA headlines: Budget work gets underway late

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Lawmakers faced with Pennsylvania state government’s biggest shortfall since the recession are bracing for what they call a “get-out-of-town budget.”  Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and leaders of the Legislature’s Republican majorities have been absorbed until recently with major pension and gambling legislation. That virtually ensures that a budget package will be hashed out in rushed, closed-door negotiations.

For now, top Republican lawmakers are sticking to talking publicly about what they can do to avoid a budget-balancing tax increase, while rank-and-file lawmakers worry about what kind of result will emerge from a slapdash budget.  Some lawmakers say a get-out-of-town budget will leave problems to fester.  That includes school districts squeezed by rising pension costs and a Department of Environmental Protection wracked by years of budget cuts.

NEW YORK (AP) — Courts or legislatures in at least a dozen states, including Pennsylvania, have declared that some children have three parents. It’s an arrangement sometimes called “tri-parenting.”  While the cases are rare, they have appeared in states from Florida to Alaska.  Advocates say legal recognition reflects the realities of some families.

They include gay couples having a child with a friend, and a man seeking to remain in a paternal role after DNA shows someone else fathered the child he’s raising. New York’s first “tri-custody” ruling involved a husband, his wife and a female neighbor who had all become romantic partners and set out as three to have a child.

But some courts and experts have raised qualms that more parents could mean more parents could mean more conflict.

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A judge has declared a mistrial in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault case in Pennsylvania, but the comedian’s civil lawyers are still fighting lawsuits against him by 10 women around the country.  Seven women currently have defamation suits pending against him in Massachusetts. Three more have defamation or sexual battery suits pending in California. Cosby has denied any wrongdoing.

The criminal case against Cosby partly stems from the accuser’s related civil lawsuit a decade ago. Prosecutors reopened a criminal probe and filed charges in 2015 after Cosby’s deposition in the woman’s 2005 lawsuit was unsealed, and they realized the 12-year statute of limitations for felony sexual assault had not yet expired.  A jury deliberated for more than 52 hours over six days before declaring itself hopelessly deadlocked. A judge declared a mistrial Saturday.

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