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Whistleblower law leaves employees exposed

Plus, college students in Pa. join Gaza war protests.

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

Friday, April 26, 2024
Today: Whistleblower protections, election coverage, office disarray, college demonstrations, climate plans, and bill issues.
Employees of federal contractors are supposed to be protected against retaliation for reporting wrongdoing.

But the law intended to protect these workers still leaves thousands without crucial safeguards against reprisal, as a complaint filed against a Lehigh Valley nonprofit by a Pennsylvania woman demonstrates.

The gap in protections creates a “serious risk” that will likely discourage whistleblowers from coming forward and embolden employers to retaliate against those who do.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Thousands of employees at federal contractors do not have whistleblower protections despite 2013 law
Support Spotlight PA's unmatched election reporting that puts voters first.

“It’s important to me that I accept my error and I do what I can do to make it right.”

—Greg Rausch, president of the Cumberland Valley School Board, on his vote to reverse his decision disinviting a gay actor from speaking about bullying at a middle school.

An American toad at Kings Gap, via Don H. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on IG, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania
a brown frog buried between blades of green grass
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.
ELECTION UPDATES: Just 29% of Democrats and Republicans turned out to vote this week, a steep decline from the 2020 presidential primary, The Inquirer (paywall) reports. One expert told WHYY, “There is a general sense of disappointment right now among the electorate with the choices.”
  • Biden’s Pennsylvania campaign making pitch to Haley voters: Come on over, via Capital-Star
  • Will this former TV anchor give longtime Rep. Scott Perry a run for his political life? via PennLive (paywall)
Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.
COURT CHAOS: The Dauphin County Clerk of Courts Office is in disarray, with staff turnover and vacancies causing serious issues including defendants being held in prison past their release dates, PennLive (paywall) reports. The root of the turnover appears to be the election of a new clerk of courts, which spurred the departure of several veterans.  

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
CAMPUS PROTESTS: Students at college campuses across Pennsylvania — including Penn State, Pitt, Swarthmore, and UPenn — have been protesting this week to support Palestine and demand those institutions divest from Israel and call for a ceasefire in Gaza. Students from Penn set up an encampment Thursday just days after the university revoked Penn Students Against Occupation's status as a registered student group.
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.
GAS GREENWASH: A Pittsburgh corporation says its natural gas can help solve climate change, but scientists warn that's not true, PublicSource reports. CEO Toby Rice says EQT will amp up exports of liquified natural gas (known as LNG) over the next six years. A climate scientist said fossil fuels can’t combat a problem they created, calling rhetoric similar to Rice’s greenwashing.
Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.
ERROR PENALTY: PPL Electric Utilities will pay an extra $1 million into a fund that helps low-income customers as part of a revised settlement with the Public Utility Commission, the Morning Call reports. The panel approved revisions Thursday to a $17 million settlement with PPL that stemmed from billing errors that affected thousands of customers.
🗞️ THINK YOU'RE UP TO SPEED? Prove it with this week's PA News Quiz: 2024 matchups, protest votes, and Roe remarks.
CASH BAIL: A district judge in Allegheny County has been barred from making bail decisions after a person they released on a non-monetary bond failed to appear.
SECRET MEETINGS: A Pittsburgh City Council member canceled a closed-door meeting just days after TribLIVE reported on secret meetings by the body that may violate state law.
‘HONEST MISTAKE’: A Somerset County man faces at least 12 years in prison after his family says he accidentally left hunting ammunition in his luggage while traveling through a Turks and Caicos airport. 
WORK STOPPAGE: Concessions workers at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia held a second walkout on Thursday, The Inquirer (paywall) reports. Their union said the strike will continue until further notice. 
AIR QUALITY: Several central Pennsylvania communities including Harrisburg have some of the worst air in the mid-Atlantic region, according to the American Lung Association.
Get Spotlight PA's exclusive "New Serving the Truth" kitchen apron.

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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: Volatility 

Congrats to our daily winners: Marty M., Eric F., Stacy S., Bob C., Jon W., Mary C., Barbara F., Susan N., Jody A., Mike B., Lynne E., Beth H., Daniel M., Marc G., Richard A., Don H., Connie O., Stanley J., Perry H., Jane R., Marie B., Malachy M., David T., Craig E., William Z., Alan B., Janet S., Jeffrey F., Vicki U., Leann T., Ted W., John P., Keith F., Tom M., Starr B., Wendy A., Sharon B., Mary S., Gabrielle G., and Elaine C.
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