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Wolf waffles on new relief for renters


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA
Your Postmaster: Ed Mahon
September 1, 2020
An end to the eviction moratorium, losing Little League for a year, presidential visits, and a compelling argument for sticky buns made with Spam. Is it fall yet?
After saying he doesn't have the legal authority to extend Pennsylvania's eviction moratorium, Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday suggested well, maybe he does.

Speaking to reporters, Wolf said he is "concerned" about the end of the ban and "might" issue a new order. When pressed on whether a new moratorium is coming, he responded "not today."

"Tomorrow?" a reporter replied. Wolf responded with a laugh that people would have to "wait and see."

To make matters more confusing, Wolf's office later said he "cannot extend the executive order" and a fix would need to come from the legislature. He'll talk more about the issue today at 10 a.m.

THE CONTEXT:  Wolf last extended the eviction moratorium on July 9, pushing it to Aug. 31. Last week, he told lawmakers he didn't have the power to extend it again on his own. Some legal experts questioned that opinion. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania residents have struggled to pay their rent, and a Spotlight PA review found a vital rental assistance program is riddled with problems.  Evictions could cause many problems, and some educators "worry about students expected to learn from home while homeless," WHYY reports.

Are you facing eviction because of the coronavirus? We want to hear from you.

“Regardless, I understand the frustration." —Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney responded on Twitter to a photo that showed him eating inside a Maryland restaurant. A ban on indoor dining in Philly is scheduled to end Sept. 8.
POST IT: "This is one of my favorite spots in Pa. to enjoy the beauty of our area." Thank you, Carole Dascani, for submitting this photo of Chickies Rock Overlook Trail in West Hempfield Township. Send us your hidden gems, use the hashtag #PAGems, or tag us on Instagram at @spotlightpennsylvania.
STRIKING OUT: If not for the coronavirus, the Little League World Series would have taken place in South Williamsport last week. The Centre Daily Times looked at what it means for the community to lose an estimated $35 million to $40 million tourism boost.

UNIVERSAL LEAVE: State employees under Gov. Tom Wolf's purview will soon have up to six weeks of paid parental leave to care for a child after birth, adoption, or foster care placement. He wants the legislature to extend that benefit to all workers, PennLive reports

SECOND AMENDMENT, LOTS OF OPINIONS: WESA had conversations with four voters about guns, school safety, and the presidential race. All support expanded background checks, but they differ widely aside from that.

ON THE RISE: Following a two-year decline, drug overdoses are back on the rise in the city and county of Erie. Between Jan. 1 and Aug. 13, the city saw 75 overdoses, up from 60 during the same period last year, GoErie reports.

THE BATTLE FOR PA: Joe Biden made a stop in Pittsburgh yesterday, where he insisted he would not ban fracking (he's been hit hard in TV commercials on this issue) and accused President Donald Trump of "recklessly encouraging violence" in response to protests in Portland and other cities. On the other side, Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to travel to Luzerne County today, followed by a Trump visit to Southwestern Pennsylvania on Thursday.

» Pennsylvania is a critical state in determining who wins the White House this year. The Philadelphia Inquirer just launched a weekly newsletter with exclusive reporting covering the entire state on issues that impact you, plus fact-checks, guides to voting, and more. Sign up to follow along at Inquirer.com/PA2020.

MAILBAG: After I asked for help last week, Michelle D. provided useful advice for starting a campfire: get fire-starter cubes. I bought something similar, and my family had great success roasting marshmallows on Saturday. (We also managed to open a can of beans with a rock, but that's a story for another time.) Send us a note, or ask a question about Pennsylvania issues and we'll answer it here as part of MAILBAG.

TAKE 5: For those missing fair food this year and feeling brave, The Morning Call's Jennifer Sheehan provides a winning sticky bun recipe from the 2015 Great American Spam Championship in Allentown. As I write this, I still feel skeptical about a Spam dessert, but Jennifer makes a compelling case.

WEST COAST IDEAS: The question of how to help renters and landlords is an issue across the country. CalMatters breaks down a new deal in the Golden State: No evictions until February 2021, no rent forgiveness, and no money for landlords to pay mortgages. 

WHAT TO LISTEN TO ... If you're wondering whether to see the new "Bill & Ted" movie. NPR's "Pop Culture Happy Hour" gives the answer, and it's ... meh, maybe, but there's no rush. The podcast conversation about the movie is a fun one.

TIP ONE — ALWAYS BE THE SCOTTIE DOG: If you happen to be stuck at home with one or more people, there's a fair chance you've been forced to play board games. If you're unlucky, that includes Monopoly. At the very least, you should win. Boing Boing points to some solid tips to do so. 
Unscramble and send your answer to newsletters@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out the winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag.

Yesterday's answer: Audacity

Congrats to our daily winners: George S., Chris S., Gail S., Cory N., Patricia R., Martin C., Lesley E., Jill A., Debra S., John C., Beth T., Cathy B., Lynne E., Sarah M., Brandie K., Daniel G., and Chris M.
Spotlight PA is an independent, non-partisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, TribLIVE/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and WITF Public Media.

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