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Banks cry foul over proposed PA credit card rule

Plus, RFK Jr. files to join PA ballot.

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Your Postmaster: Tanisha Thomas

Monday, June 24, 2024
Today: Credit card fees, voter misinformation, red-flag ruling, SCOPA on skill games, presidential ballot, and out-of-state abortion access.
A bill that would decrease credit card “swipe fees” is moving through the Pennsylvania House. But it faces long odds in the Senate and pushback from banks and credit unions.

When a customer pays a merchant using a credit card, the credit card company charges a “swipe fee.” The fee can range between 1.4% and 3.5% of the transaction’s cost, depending on the credit card company, including the cost of sales tax, plus an additional flat fee. Lower swipe fees are also charged on debit cards. 

The bill in the state House would keep the fees from being applied to the state sales tax. 

Financial institutions say the current system works well and changing it would create “chaos,” while merchants argue these swipe fees are an undue burden on both them and their customers. 

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Credit card ‘swipe fees’ could decrease under new Pa. bill, but banks hate the idea.

“And I indicated to him that I thought we’re moving along, but that we could perhaps use a little more of a kick in the pants to get moving.”
—State Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman (R., Indiana) on what he said to Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro about budget talks ahead of this coming Sunday’s fiscal deadline.
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At the hummingbird feeder in Newtown, Bucks County, with Margaret Y. Have a photo of your own to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania
a gray bird standing on a metal rod
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.
LAWSUIT CLAIMS: A far-right group’s election lawsuit against Pennsylvania officials leans on information from other groups with histories of making false claims about the state’s voter rolls, Spotlight PA and Votebeat report. It also includes at least one easily disproved claim. The filing seeks to force the commonwealth to comply with the group’s interpretation of the law before November’s presidential election. The group, United Sovereign Americans, also sued Maryland.
Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.
RED FLAGS: A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling is prompting anti-gun violence advocates to once again push lawmakers to enact a “red flag” law in Pennsylvania, PennLive (paywall) reports. The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday upheld a federal law meant to protect domestic violence victims. In doing so, it reversed a court ruling that state Sen. Lisa Baker (R., Luzerne) cited in blocking a red-flag bill here last year.
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
SKILL GAMES: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will decide whether skill games are unlicensed gambling machines that must be shut down, the AP reports. The court will hear an appeal of a lower-court ruling on the matter. The legality of the machines has been an ongoing discussion for Pennsylvania’s courts and lawmakers. The high court’s decision could set future rules for how they're treated under the law. 
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.
RFK JR: Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has filed paperwork to appear on the ballot in Pennsylvania, Capital-Star reports. Kennedy’s campaign said it submitted 9,000 signatures, nearly double the amount required for independent candidates. Democrats are working to get him blocked from ballots in other states. Kennedy did not qualify for Thursday’s presidential debate hosted by CNN.
Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.
ABORTION ACCESS: Pennsylvania saw abortions for out-of-state residents rise 41% between 2021 and 2022 — the year the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the Inquirer (paywall) reports. Residents from Ohio, Delaware, and West Virginia made up a majority of the surge in out-of-state abortion patients here. Abortion is legal in Pennsylvania up through the 23rd week of pregnancy. 
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TREE OF LIFE: A groundbreaking ceremony was held Sunday for a new complex replacing Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue where 11 people were killed in 2018, the AP reports. Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff and Gov. Josh Shapiro were there.
JOINT PROPOSAL: U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle (D., Pa.) plans to introduce legislation to hold a joint session of Congress in Philadelphia at Independence National Historical Park as part of the United States’ 250th birthday celebration in 2026, The Inquirer (paywall) reports.
PENNSYLVANIA RAINFOREST? By one definition, Pennsylvania’s popular Ohiopyle State Park is close to being considered a temperate rainforest, but it falls short — just short — of one critical metric, Spotlight PA reports, via our weekly PA Local newsletter.
INVASIVE ANNIVERSARY: Those pesky spotted lanternflies arrived in Pennsylvania 10 years ago bringing together a collective stomping effort to keep them out. Experts share what they’ve learned about the invasive species since, via LNP and sister site WITF. 
CHIP CONTEST: Chester County-based Herr’s wants your thoughts (and taste buds) to determine the best “Flavored by Philly” chip, per YDR (paywall). This year’s offerings include ravioli, stromboli, and pierogi. Tasting and voting are happening until Aug. 9.
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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.

Friday's answer: Dispirited

Congrats to our weekly winner: Cate C.

Congrats to our daily winners: Kathy W., Ada M., Tracy S., Beth H., Eric F., Jane R., Marty M., Jon W., Ted W., Timothy A., Don H., Bob C., Barbara F., David T., Vicki U., Elaine C., Brandie K., Pat E., Dan A., Perry H., Beth T., Ellen G., Jody A., Nan S., Stanley J., Susan N., Annette I., Daniel S., Daniel M., Karen K., Marie B., Stacy S., Wendy A., Tish M., Maureen G., William Z., David W., Tom M., Alan B., and Marcia E.
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