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Pa. House Speaker Mike Turzai to resign June 15

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The Investigator

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

June 11, 2020 | spotlightpa.org

House Speaker Mike Turzai isn't waiting until the end of 2020 to retire. 

The Allegheny County lawmaker, one of the most powerful Republicans in the legislature, announced this week he will resign June 15, as Spotlight PA and PennLive first reported. Turzai in January said he wouldn't seek another term and would instead make a move to the private sector. 

His departure comes shortly after Black lawmakers took over the speaker's rostrum to demand that GOP leadership take up police reform bills in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd. Lawmakers will take the first step Monday, when a House committee considers bills to improve training and require background investigations during hiring — an idea endorsed by Attorney General Josh Shapiro and major police unions.

Turzai is also leaving amid a battle between the legislative and executive branches over a resolution to end Gov. Tom Wolf's coronavirus emergency declaration. Wolf vowed this week he would take the matter to court — but Senate Republicans beat him to the punch, filing a lawsuit to compel the governor to end his declaration. 

Sarah Anne Hughes, Spotlight PA


"It’s the people’s house, and if we aren’t doing the people’s business, then we aren’t doing business."

— State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D., Philadelphia) during a takeover of the House in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and long-stalled police reforms
LATEST CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS: There have been an average of 482 new cases and 42 deaths each day over the past week in Pennsylvania. More charts and trend lines can be found at the link below. Also, worth checking out this article about whether we are normalizing deaths as the coronavirus pandemic drags into summer.


As of 12 p.m. June 11

Latest from Spotlight PA

» Thousands of deaths later, Pa. finally mandates universal testing in nursing homes
» Rush to dole out billions in coronavirus relief dollars in Pa. could lead to waste, fraud
» 12 more Pa. counties will be allowed to move to ‘green’ reopening phase
» Wolf will appoint misconduct watchdog, establish commission to oversee state law enforcement

With reopening underway, see how the coronavirus is trending in your county with our new early warning tool

For better or worse, Pennsylvania is reopening its economy.

About half of counties have entered the Wolf administration’s "green" phase for reopening, which lifts most restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Another 12 counties will enter the green phase on Friday.

The Wolf administration’s decision to reopen comes at a time when new cases and deaths have fallen significantly since they peaked in Pennsylvania in April. But now we face a new question: As restrictions loosen, will cases and deaths resurge in Pennsylvania and how significantly?

On Tuesday, we launched a new feature on our "tracking the spread" dashboard to make it easier for our reporters and our readers to answer that question. For each county, we’re now assigning a summary describing whether its trend of new daily cases over the past two weeks is "rising," "falling," or "unclear."

As of Wednesday morning, our model shows that 13 counties in Pennsylvania have a rising number of new cases and 20 have a falling number. Meanwhile, 34 were statistically unchanged or had an unclear trend.

It’s important to note that these summaries should not be considered the final word on how the coronavirus is spreading in your county. Epidemiologists develop sophisticated models, using multiple metrics, to monitor the spread of diseases. Our model, which uses a type of statistical modeling called linear regression to analyze new daily cases, is relatively simplistic by comparison.

And, because our analysis is based only on cases over the past two weeks, our model won't necessarily capture broader trends: Cumberland County, for instance, had a notable fall in new daily cases about three weeks ago but its numbers have since stabilized, leading our model to conclude its trend is "unclear" as of Thursday morning.

That said, new daily cases remain an important metric for both health officials and researchers, and we believe these trend descriptions will provide something of an early warning system to our reporters and our readers about counties that may be facing a resurgence in cases. How is your county trending?

Daniel Simmons-Ritchie, Spotlight PA

On police reform

 CAPITAL-STAR: House Democrats strike deal with Republicans on police reform

» LNP: Support for police reform grows in Pa.

» THE MARSHALL PROJECT: Some advocates want more than just police defunding

» BILLY PENN: Philadelphia mayor rescinds proposal to add $19 million to police budget

» ERIE NEWS NOW: Pa. auditor recommends changes to justice system

» PUBLIC SOURCE: Advocates want police officers out of Pittsburgh schools

From across the state

» CBS 21 NEWS: Gov. Wolf responds to critics after joining Black Lives Matter protest

» INQUIRER: Charter school advocate steps down after criticizing recent protests 

» POST-GAZETTE: Protestors' recent arrests highlight failure of Allegheny County’s bail system

» WHYY: Daylin Leach begins civil action against Senate democratic leader after losing primary  

» YORK DAILY RECORD: Over 5,000 complaints report price hikes due to coronavirus  

» GO ERIE: State board gives OK to community college in Erie County


Send your answers to newsletters@spotlightpa.org.

Time Warp (Case No. 42): Two people are born at the same moment, but they weren't born at the same time. How is this possible?
Stumped? Get a hint. Feeling smart? Challenge a friend.

Last week's answer: Juan was born in the Southern Hemisphere; it is summer in December.

Congrats to Gail S., who will receive Spotlight PA swag (when we reopen our office!). Others who correctly answered: Dianne K., Claudia M., Hagan H., Rick S., Justin C., George S., David T., Pat C., Stephanie T., Deborah D., Dennis S., Lynda G., Judy E., Joseph S., Dennis P., Michael L., Kenneth J., Judy A., Heather D., Nia N.M., Drew C., Matt S., Kim H., Dave D., Jane Z-M, Phil C., Anna-Marie S., Lou R., Brett H., Thomas C., Steve B., Melanie B., James K., Jon N., Marvin S., Pat C., Carol M., Donna B., Dorothy K., Bonita R., Richard G., Maggie E., Ed N., Barbara M., Norman S.A., Heather B., Dennis F., Jim S., Lisa M., Paul F., Diane C., Kathy W., Roseanne D., Jack F., Annette I., and Rebecca D.
» This week's Riddler hint: Where do they live?
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