|A weekly newsletter by |
|European excursion, Penn State profile, undated ballots, legislative elections, missing data, last-minute guide, SCOTUS decision, and unspent funds.|
|A HISTORIC CHALLENGE|
We've been challenged to raise $125,000 from our readers by Dec. 31, and if we do it, the Lenfest Insitute for Journalism will DOUBLE it. That means your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar. Will you help us kick off this historic end-of-year campaign by making a tax-deductible gift now?
We need your support to continue to investigate our government and elected officials, track our tax dollars, and provide vital public-service and explanatory reporting so that more people can get involved in our communities. We are stronger together, but we can't do it without your support. Can we count on you to help us reach our goal?
In the waning days of summer, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra embarked on a whirlwind, nine-city European tour — its first international journey since the start of the pandemic.
It brought along two Pennsylvania lawmakers and picked up the costs for their airfare, hotel, meals, and other incidentals, Spotlight PA's Angela Couloumbis reports.
The lawmakers’ European excursion, which the orchestra estimated cost $15,000, is the type of job perk that a gift ban would make impossible for elected officials and others in government. But Pennsylvania’s legislature recently adjourned for what will likely be the last voting day of its two-year session. It left a closely watched gift ban bill on the cutting room floor.
Also this week, Wyatt Massey profiles Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi, who led the University of Louisville through crises. But her sudden move to Happy Valley raised questions about her motivations and commitment.
Finally, Spotlight PA is continuing its voter-centric election coverage ahead of the critical Nov. 8 midterms. Katie Meyer explained why undated mail ballots are such a big deal, while Stephen Caruso took a deeper look at how abortion is playing a role in key legislative races.
Kate Huangpu also has the latest on how many mail ballots were requested for the upcoming election and how that will impact when we have unofficial results. Keep scrolling for more election coverage.
"That’s when I started wondering if she was all show and no go. She is in marketing, and that’s what that was, marketing."
—Michele Foster, a University of Louisville professor who worked on the school's anti-racism agenda, which "fell flat on its face."
This week, we're kicking off our biggest challenge in Spotlight PA history.
If we raise $125,000 by the end of this year, the Lenfest Institute for Journalism will DOUBLE it. That means if you contribute to Spotlight PA now, it will be matched dollar for dollar, powering our vital journalism into 2023.
Make a tax-deductible gift and start this campaign with a bang »
Next year will be pivotal to the state's future, beginning with a new administration in the governor's office and a new legislative session. Now more than ever, we need independent, nonpartisan journalists to hold our elected leaders to account, track our tax dollars, and ensure the government works for us all.
Our end-of-year fundraising campaign is our most important of the year, and we want to prove how much Pennsylvanians value Spotlight PA's work. Send a gift now and don't miss this special opportunity to double your impact.
|» Election officials should not count undated mail ballots on Nov. 8, Pa. high court rules|
» Missing traffic stop data from Pa. State Police undercut 2021 analysis for racial disparities
» A Pa. county is charging people to search court documents — an unusual and undue burden, experts say
A last-minute guide to everything you need to know to vote Nov. 8
Election Day 2022 is approaching and Spotlight PA wants to make sure you’re equipped with the knowledge you’ll need to cast your ballot.
Voters will choose a new governor and U.S. senator this year, elected officials who will help determine the future of major issues like abortion access and energy production. Voters will also cast ballots for representatives to the U.S. House and lawmakers to serve in the General Assembly.
Before you cast a ballot, here’s a last-minute checklist of everything you’ll need to vote.
First, the basics:
Make sure you’re registered. You can check your voter registration status here. Unfortunately, if you’re not already registered, it’s too late to vote in this election cycle.
It also is too late to request a mail ballot if you haven’t already. If you have, you can track your mail ballot here. It must be received by your county election office by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Read more about mail ballots.
If you plan to vote in-person, find your polling place here.
You need to bring a form of ID such as a driver’s license or a passport if it’s your first time voting at your polling location. You can find the full list of acceptable IDs here.
Any other questions? Call your county election office to check. You can find their number here, and read more Spotlight PA election guides here.
And here’s what you can expect to see on your ballot:
Enter your address into Spotlight PA’s interactive sample ballot to find your candidates.
All voters will have five options on the ballot for U.S. Senate: John Fetterman (D), Mehmet Oz (R), Richard Weiss (G), Daniel Wassmer (Keystone Party of Pennsylvania), and Erik Gerhardt (L). Read WESA’s guide to the candidates.
All voters will have five options on the ballot for governor: Josh Shapiro (D), Doug Mastriano (R), Christina Digiulio (G), Joe Soloski (Keystone Party of Pennsylvania), and Matt Hackenburg (L). Read our complete guide to the candidates for governor.
All voters will select a person to represent them in the U.S. House of Representatives.
All voters will select a person to represent them in the Pennsylvania House.
Voters who live in even-numbered state Senate districts will vote for candidates.
Because of this year’s redistricting process, you may live in altered or different U.S. House, state House, and state Senate districts. Use Spotlight PA’s sample ballot to find your district and candidates, then consult our vetting guide to learn how to research them.
There will be no statewide proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot. However, there may be local ballot initiatives depending on where you live. Check your county’s election website or sample ballot. —Kate Huangpu, Spotlight PA
|SCOTUS DECLINES: The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up a challenge of Pennsylvania's new legislative maps, which Republicans argued had placed an unconstitutional focus on creating more opportunities for candidates and voters of color. Courthouse News Service reports the Supreme Court did not issue any statement. There are no more challenges pending on the legislative maps.|
'INCREDIBLY DISAPPOINTING': The Pennsylvania legislature is sitting on $100 million in federal funds it allocated to itself to spend on mental health needs. A 24-member commission was created to make recommendations about the spending, but WESA reports that disagreements on those suggestions have held the process up.
POLICY GAPS: Most Pennsylvania schools lack official guidelines on the education of LGBTQ students, including how to handle name changes and gender identities, The Courier Times (paywall) reports. Meanwhile, the state's equity, inclusion, and belonging guides for LGBTQ students haven't been updated since 2016, and the Pennsylvania School Boards Association has no tailored guidance at all.
HOSPITAL HARM: The Inquirer has a concerning new report on an alleged culture of abuse inside the forensic unit at Norristown State Hospital. According to the outlet, a dozen former patients and staffers described attacks by security staff there. One said his abuser told him: "You're here. You're crazy. They won't believe your word over mine." The unit treats people deemed incompetent to stand trial.
HEALTH DESERTS: Six Pennsylvania counties — Cameron, Forest, Greene, Juniata, Sullivan, and Wyoming — are maternal health deserts with no hospitals providing obstetric care, no birth centers, no OB/GYNs, and no certified nurse midwives, March of Dimes reports, via Capital-Star. More than 105,000 women age 18-44 live in counties with little or no obstetric care, per Pennsylvania's top doctor.
» ABC27: Bills to prevent, track overdoses head to Wolf
» INQUIRER: AG charges 4 Jehovah’s Witnesses with sexual abuse
» PENNLIVE: Sick people in Pa. jails are suffering, dying
» PUBLICSOURCE: Exploring the rise in involuntary commitment petitions
» WITF: Bill aims to simplify medical insurance in Pa.
Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org
.B-B-B (Case No. 171): What common, unhyphenated nine-letter word contains three syllables, each of which starts with the letter B?
Last week's answer:
A dry stone. (Find last week's clue here
Congrats to Carol T., who will receive Spotlight PA swag. Others who answered correctly: Jon N., Fred O., George S., Geoff M., Samantha S., Tish M., Annette I., Joe S., and Mary B.