Following is a listing of judicial and executive action for the week of January 7. At press time, members of the General Assembly were scheduled to return to session on January 14.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has expanded its online case database to include landlord-tenant cases and civil cases of less than $12,000 that are filed in magisterial district courts.
The court decided to include the cases without the usual date-of-birth identifier, according to a spokesman for the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.
“The court doesn’t put in street addresses or other information for fear of ID theft,” said the AOPC’s Steve Schell. “Usually, it’s date of birth, but in most of these cases it’s not available, but they decided to go ahead anyway to make the information more accessible.”
Cases over $12,000 are filed in common pleas court. Information on those cases is available through county prothonotaries. Criminal cases in the common pleas courts are available online.
An AOPC statement said electronic docket sheets for more than 4.1 million of these cases will be available on the Unified Judicial System’s website at www.pacourts.us by clicking on the “Docket Sheets” button at the bottom of the page.
The online database also contains records for nearly 27 million traffic, non-traffic and criminal cases that have been filed in Pennsylvania’s appellate, criminal cases in common pleas court and magisterial district court. The records can be searched by court, case category and status, docket number and type, county and participant name, date of birth (if available) and date filed. In 2012, members of the public accessed case records more than 53 million times freely through the Internet.
The state Department of Community and Economic Development has lowered the interest rates on five business loan programs as part of the recommendation of a manufacturing council Governor Tom Corbett commissioned a year ago.
In December, the DCED lowered the interest rates for the Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund, the Small Business First Program, the Pollution Prevention Assistance Program and the Export Financing Program from 2.75 percent to 1.5 percent. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority approved lowering its interest rates to 1.5 percent.
The PIDA and the DCED will also waive fees charged to the borrowers. The new rates will initially be in place for applications received through March 31.
The Governor’s Manufacturing Advisory Council report sent to Corbett and the General Assembly in August outlined 15 key recommendations, including the need to improve access to capital. The council identified that 45 percent of small manufacturers accessed debt capital in 2010 and 78 percent of small manufacturers are negatively affected by a lack of access to capital.