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GOP weighs subpoena for secret waiver list

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The Investigator

Your guide to the Capitol & stories holding the powerful to account

April 30, 2020 | spotlightpa.org

One of the most controversial aspects of Gov. Tom Wolf's response to the coronavirus may be headed toward a protracted court battle.

Republicans this afternoon will consider whether to subpoena records related to the state's controversial business waivers. Democrats are countering that the move is unnecessary because the state's auditor general announced today he will audit the waiver process and determine if it was fair and equitable.

The waivers have been a major point of anger and frustration among business owners because of perceived inconsistencies and the fact that the state has not been transparent about the specific criteria used in issuing them. The administration has ignored numerous requests from the media for the records, saying it will release them eventually, but refusing to provide a timeline

Meanwhile, officials are preparing to unveil the state’s goals for coronavirus testing and contact tracing, which they have so far shied away from specifying. Pennsylvania's testing and tracing capacity are significantly below what experts believe will be needed to begin safely reopening the state.

An in case you missed it, make sure to take a minute to read our special investigation into how the state's contact tracing nurses endured years of budget cuts and political fights before becoming one of the most essential front-line defenses against the pandemic. If you value in-depth accountability journalism like this report, please consider making a donation now.

Sarah Anne Hughes, Spotlight PA


"I always felt if they knew what we did, they wouldn’t even consider cutting it."

Brenda Carll, a retired public health nurse in Venango County, on repeated cuts to the state's ranks of nurses who conduct contract tracing 
LATEST ON THE NUMBERS: New case counts are generally trending in a positive direction even as the death count fluctuates due to data discrepancies. The Wolf administration on Friday will announce which portions of the state can begin the process of reopening. Other states have already relaxed some rules.


As of 12 p.m. April 30
Latest from Spotlight PA
» Pa. slashed its ranks of contact tracing nurses. Now, they are pivotal to reopening.
» Pa. to set coronavirus testing, contact tracing benchmarks before reopening begins
» Wolf won’t abandon ambitious spending plan as massive budget deficit looms
» Coronavirus data shared with public varies widely by state
» Pa. removes more than 200 deaths from official coronavirus count
» AARP calls on Pennsylvania to release list of nursing homes with coronavirus cases
From across the state
» BEAVER COUNTY TIMES: Daughter of man in hard-hit nursing home sues the state
» CAPITAL-STAR: Some lawmakers, fearing PR crisis, refuse inmate-made masks 
» INQUIRER: Officials call for probe of state-run veterans home with rising deaths
» INQUIRER: State form to report dangerous work conditions flooded by trolls
» INQUIRER: Pa. unemployment system still crashing under immense pressure
» MORNING CALL: Closed restaurants mean farmers don't have cash to feed their flocks
» PENNLIVE: Golf courses will reopen this Friday
» POST-GAZETTE: Board approves tuition freeze at state-owned universities
» WHYY: Pa. curtails public access to records during the pandemic

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