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Pa. lawmaker helped Trump plot to overturn election


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA
Your Postmaster: Sarah Anne Hughes
January 25, 2021
Recovery homes, transparent plan, vaccine map, Perry's role, little oversight, an apology, and travel recommendations. Once again, it's Monday.

Pennsylvania's drug and alcohol recovery homes — believed to number in the thousands — continue to operate without state oversight, despite a 2017 law requiring it, Spotlight PA has found.

The state’s Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs missed a June 2020 deadline to create the certification process. Officials said earlier this month they were completing an internal review of draft regulations and planned to send them to the attorney general’s office by the end of January, but couldn’t commit to a timeline for when oversight will begin.

"I’m saddened by that because the longer it takes to set that up, the more individuals could pass away in these unstructured recovery homes,” said one former community leader who pushed for the law.

THE CONTEXT: In December 2017, Gov. Tom Wolf signed the bill, which lawmakers said was needed to fight the opioid epidemic and protect vulnerable people from being exploited.

The action came after years of complaints from local government leaders and some recovery advocates, who said profit-driven owners packed people into homes, provided few rules and little support, and put residents at greater risk of relapsing.

But now, even some supporters of the law say regulations proposed by the state are too onerous and will keep good homes from seeking a license.

“There was a cost to the operator that a lot of people had problems with, especially if it was a mom-and-pop recovery house,” one member of the recovery home industry said. 


"They do not have the time or energy to watch press conferences or to read press releases to find this information."

—State Sen. Lindsey Williams, a Democrat from Allegheny County, on the need for "a transparent, clearly communicated, and efficient vaccine distribution plan"
POST IT: "There was no snow on the ground the night before! By the time it stopped snowing, we had 18 inches. (We're No. 1!)" Thanks, Lynne P.Send us your hidden gems use the hashtag #PAGems, or tag us on Instagram at @spotlightpennsylvania.
VACCINE MAP: Want to know where to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Pennsylvania? We’ve got you covered with this map of current vaccine providers as published by the state Department of Health. 

KEY ROLE: U.S. Rep Scott Perry, recently elected to a fifth term, played a key role in Donald Trump's attempt to oust the acting attorney general and overturn the election, the New York Times reports. Perry introduced the former president to a Justice Department official, who also believed in false conspiracy theories of election fraud. 
LITTLE OVERSIGHT, MUCH BIAS: A Bucks County judge is accused of humiliating a single mother in a child custody case, the Courier Times reports. Judge Alan Rubenstein has had an at times controversial legal career, having been rebuked by the Superior Court last year for calling a woman seeking a protection from abuse order a "little blond honey" who was "too dumb to leave." There is very little oversight of Pennsylvania judges, and complaints rarely lead to charges. 

BACK ON: The state will resume making payments to people in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program after weeks of delays, WGAL reports. The state on Sunday also extended Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation payments.
'TO ALL AFFECTED': A state representative from western Pennsylvania apologized after sharing an image mocking outgoing Health Secretary Rachel Levine, who is transgender, the Associated Press reports. "From this situation I have learned to not poke fun at people different than me and to hold my tongue," Rep. Jeff Pyle said.
AND THE WINNER IS: It's the news you've all been waiting for — the winners of the Farm Show butter sculpture contest! The adult winner was Garret McCall, who said he chose to carve Jesus as a shepherd to incorporate his faith and the theme of agriculture.

SPRING PLANNING: I usually don't like sharing travel listicles, but I'm making an exception because this one features Ricketts Glen — a place everyone should visit. Another featured spot, Elk County, is definitely on my travel bucket list. 

TODAY I LEARNED: Last week, this newsletter noted that President Joe Biden is just the second native Pennsylvanian to occupy the White House. What I didn't know until this week was that, despite being from Texas, Dwight Eisenhower considered the commonwealth his home and lived in a farm near Gettysburg.

TOSS WITH A TWIST: The Hershey Bears annual Teddy Bear Toss looked a little different this year. Instead of having fans gather indoors and throw the stuffed animals on the ice, people donated the bears by tossing them— more than 31,000 in total! — through car windows. 

#FIGHTLIKEAMOTHER: Cara Sapida, a 38-year-old WPXI reporter, was diagnosed with breast cancer last summer. She's now writing a book about her experience that "emphasizes that it’s OK for women in treatment to be tired and sad and have bad days."
Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag.

Fridays answer: Antioxidant

Congrats to our weekly winner: Jimmy N.

Congrats to our daily winners: Bob R., Stephanie J., Susan D., Becky C., David I.,  Jill G., Skip T., Bette G., Joel S., Theodore W., Mary Ellen T., Steve D., Anna T., George S., Irene R., Bill C., Linda E., Kevin H., Jeff M., Beth T., Chris M., Kim C., Nichole H., Dianne K., Raymond D., Jill A-S., Stanley J., Craig W., Patricia R., Jessica K., Ron P., David W., Carol D., John M., Kathryn A., Alana G., John C., Jarrod B., and George E.  
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