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How to vet PA’s 2024 legislative candidates

Plus, the ‘ghost buses’ haunting Pittsburgh transit.

The logo of PA Post, a free daily newsletter delivering the top news from across Pennsylvania every day.

A daily newsletter by The logo of Spotlight PA, an independent, nonpartisan newsroom producing investigative journalism for Pennsylvania.
Your Postmaster: Tanisha Thomas

Friday, April 12, 2024
Today: Assessing candidates, filling seats, college plan, Dauphin delays, warmer winters, weapon detectors, and a goth-friendly home.

All Pennsylvania House representatives and half of state senators will be on the ballot this year.

Legislators are tasked with representing their constituents’ interests and acting as a front door to state government. They also work with their colleagues to solve problems.
Spotlight PA has compiled a guide to help you evaluate the primary legislative candidates. Learn how to vet both incumbents and newcomers hoping to win office. 

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Pa. election 2024: A guide to vetting primary legislative candidates

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“I say to my staff, ‘We have to be more than turning the lights off on people for two hours. What’s that experience?”

Pittsburgh CLO Executive Producer Mark Fleischer on the theater’s efforts to attract new and old attendees to shows.


BROKEN PRIMARIES: Join us Friday, April 19 from 6-7 p.m. ET on Zoom for a Spotlight PA members-only event with Nick Troiano, author of The Primary Solution, a new book on how our partisan primaries are fueling the political divide in America and what we can do about it.

Become a Spotlight PA member here and you'll be automatically registered for the event.
Blue Mountain from the Appalachian Trail in Cumberland County, via Robert S. Have a photo to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania
a greenish yellow field with trees, a couple buildings, and mountains in the background
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.COUNTER OFFER: Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania have rolled out a higher-ed proposal to counter Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro's plan, the AP reports. The GOP pitch aims to help in-state and out-of-state students who enroll in degree programs for “high-priority” disciplines such as teaching and nursing. Top Republicans have expressed strong opposition to key elements of Shapiro’s plan.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.
CLIMATE CHANGE: Warmer winters around the Chesapeake Bay watershed are causing plants that prefer cooler temperatures to be pushed out by ones that can better handle warmth. That includes Pennsylvania, where the Bay Journal reports 300 million ash trees are at risk of infestation by emerald ash borers, an invasive species whose larvae don’t die off unless winter temperatures hit about -10 F.

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
BOOK CHALLENGES: In 2023, Pennsylvania was a national leader in attempts to limit access to books in public schools and libraries, according to the nonprofit American Library Association. The Erie Times-News reports Pennsylvania and California landed in second place for attempts to restrict access to books, surpassed only by Illinois. Nationwide, such challenges increased by 92% from 2022 to 2023.
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.
REQUEST DELAYS: A former Dauphin County chief solicitor has accused the county of purposefully delaying responses to public records requests, PennLive reports. According to the solicitor, the county regularly asks for extensions on records requests and then uses the full 30-day response time allowed by state law to draw out the process. Delays are supposed to be used sparingly.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.
SCHOOL POLICY: Two high schools in Allentown School District will have weapon detectors by the end of May, the Morning Call reports. The move follows instances of weapons making it into schools in recent years, and the district is considering installing detectors in middle schools as well. 
🤔 KNOW YOUR NEWS? Take this week's news quiz to prove it: Next eclipse, 2024 protest votes, and a 'Big Oil' lawsuit.
NO SHOW: Pittsburgh Regional Transit is trying to fix the issue of “ghost buses” appearing on third-party transit apps after several riders complained about waiting for vehicles that never showed up.

REACHED AGREEMENT: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has settled a yearlong strike by a union representing the paper’s truck drivers, TribLIVE reports. A strike among the outlet’s editorial staff is ongoing.

NEW OWNERS: The Harrisburg Senators have been sold to a group that owns and operates several minor league teams within the MLB, PennLive reports. The team will continue to play at FNB Field in Harrisburg. 

BELL’S BACK: After a decade in storage, the Bicentennial Bell is back and has a new home at the Benjamin Rush Garden, The Inquirer reports.

GOTH HOUSE: A York home is getting attention for its gothic, horror movie-inspired interior design. The spacious property, listed at $245,000, has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and lots of black paint.
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. Answers submitted by 5:30 p.m. on issue date will be counted.

Yesterday's answer: Yachtsman

Congrats to our daily winners: Stacy S., Jon W., Don H., Bob C., Barbara F., Elaine C., Kimberly D., Eric F., Malachy M., Alan B., Gabrielle G., Janet S., David W., Dan A., Wendy A., Susan N., Tom M., and Jeffrey F. 
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