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Pa. GOP raises prospect of bypassing popular vote


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Your Postmaster: Ed Mahon
September 24, 2020
Failed sports override, casting aside the popular vote, serious allegations in Allegheny, and an authentic Oktoberfest playlist. It's Thursday. You got this.
Five votes — that's what stood between House Republican leaders and a successful veto override yesterday.

Gov. Tom Wolf earlier this month rejected a bill that would give public and private schools "exclusive authority" to determine whether to hold sporting events and set limits on crowd size. It originally passed the House 155-47, but only 130 members voted Wednesday to override the veto — just under the required two-thirds threshold.

The Morning Call reported on some of the 24 Democrats who, in the immortal words of onetime presidential nominee John Kerry, voted for the bill before they voted against it. State Rep. Mike Schlossberg (D., Lehigh) told the paper he "came to the conclusion this bill did more than was originally advertised."

At the moment, the bill wouldn't change much. School districts are currently allowed to make calls about whether to holding sporting events. And a federal ruling has — at least for the moment — done away with a Wolf administration order capping indoor events at 25 people and outdoor ones at 250. Some schools are already planning to allow more spectators at games

The Context: Since March, the Democratic governor and the Republican-controlled General Assembly have clashed ... many times ... over his sweeping use of emergency powers. 

Wolf has vetoed 11 bills and resolutions this year, the majority of them related to coronavirus restrictions. That beats his prior record of nine full vetos and one line-item veto in 2015, his first year in office. He's never had a veto overturned.

And veto fights aren't done. Later on Wednesday, the House voted 145-56 in favor of a bill that would ease restrictions on bars and restaurants. The bill now goes Wolf, who has said he will veto it.

These lands belong to everyone, yet they are currently unavailable to the general public." 

–– Joel Webster of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, one of the groups that published a report describing how people in Pennsylvania don't have access to 27,000 acres of public land.
POST IT: Thank you, @milkandannie, for sharing this photo "among the crop fields." Send us your hidden gems, use the hashtag #PAGems, or tag us on Instagram at @spotlightpennsylvania.
END-RUN: The chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party told The Atlantic that he's talked with President Donald Trump's campaign about a contingency plan where the legislature appoints loyal electors, setting aside the results of the popular vote. “I’ve mentioned it to them, and I hope they’re thinking about it, too,” Lawrence Tabas said.

'DEHUMANIZING': Attorneys for five inmates say the Allegheny County Jail failed to provide necessary care to people with psychiatric disabilities, making their conditions worse, PublicSource reports. The story describes allegations that multiple inmates with mental health diagnoses have spent more than a year in solitary confinement.

HOUSE WITH NO NAMES: After demonstrators showed up to the homes of public officials this summer, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney's administration made it harder to search city property records by name, WHYY reports. But that move has caused its own problems.

AGING OUT: A Broke in Philly article looks at the challenges facing young adults aging out of foster care during the coronavirus pandemic. In July, the state raised the limit to 23 for aftercare services, but it has declined to provide other assistance.

SUING DISNEY: A Northampton County mother says the Disney Store in the Lehigh Valley Mall humiliated her 7-year-old autistic son by not allowing him in a store without a mask, The Morning Call reports. The lawsuit alleges a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This isn't the first such claim, and USA Today did a fact check a few months ago.

» Fight back against attacks on the truth and a free press by supporting Spotlight PA today. Your contributions go directly toward our journalism.
HEALTHY LIVING: Six Pennsylvania counties made U.S. News & World Report's list of the 500 healthiest communities in the country: Montgomery, Chester, and Bucks in the Philly suburbs; Cumberland, outside Harrisburg; Butler, in the west; and Centre. The list has some similarities to rankings of the wealthiest counties in the state, although less than I figured.

TAKE 5: If election forecasts have you stressed, here's an alternative: The 2020 Fall Foliage Prediction Map. Looks like Oct. 12 will be a pretty good time to be in northern Pennsylvania, while Oct. 19 is close to peak times for many southern parts of the state.

OKTOBERFEST: A pop music critic has this handy playlist, which The Morning Call picked up, of songs you'd hear at Munich beer tents. Traditional polka and oompah songs make the list, but so do American pop songs, including "Take Me Home, Country Roads."

WHAT TO READ ... If you aren't as excited for fall as some of us. Every year, I think of this old satire piece in the Onion, describing "His Excellency, the Duke of Fall" who wore a "gray sweater over a plaid collared shirt as he cradled a cup of pumpkin-spiced coffee and relished the crisp October morning."

A BEAUTIFUL DAY: This week marks the first airing of "Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood" on WQED in Pittsburgh. If you're looking for a great movie to watch, I recommend the documentary "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" Warning: You'll need tissues. 
Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out the winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag.
B R T O N I A H E N I 

Yesterday's answer: Exquisite

Congrats to our daily winners: 
Tina S., Art W., George D., Chip K., Irene R., John C., Tracey C., Timothy P., Joel S., Susan D., Kathleen M., Kathy B., Chris W., Steve D., Tom F., Bruce B., Lynne E., Karen A., Kim C., Karen W., Diana S., Patricia R., Martin C., Heidi B., Lisa M., Brandie K., Bernice H., Jenn R., Tish M., Dom A., Dianne K., Lex M., Joann D., Sherri A., Alex L., Mark O., Lee W., Beth T., Jenn C., Geoff M., Barbara S., Karen R., David W., Carol D., Elly S., Denise L., Chris M., Theodore W., Mary Ann M., John H., Brian G., and Evelyn S.
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