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The high bar for 3rd party ballot access in PA

Plus, "non-lethal" police force has killed 100s.

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

Tuesday, April 2, 2024
Today: Ballot access, "non-lethal" force, SCOTUS watch, AI warnings, cannabis sales, water worries, and the year's first swine flu case.
A relatively new political party wants to join races for two of the commonwealth’s elected row offices. 

The Forward Party, which casts itself as a potential home for moderates who feel alienated by major party politics, wants to run candidates for attorney general and treasurer on the November 2024 ballot. 

But to do that successfully, the party needs to navigate a confusing system that relies partly on the commonwealth’s Election Code, partly on precedent, and partly on state policy — elements of which could be changed in court at any time. 

Read Spotlight PA's full report: The Forward Party wants to be on Pa.’s 2024 general election ballot. It must overcome several hurdles.

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"We do not tolerate or support hate and are actively working to ensure our DEI office and our next DEI official will have the impact that is needed here."

—Delaware County spokesperson Adrienne Marofsky on the firing of Lauren Footman, the county's first DEI director, after Footman accused her boss of racial discrimination; Marofsky said the firing was unrelated
TRUSTING ELECTIONS: Join us TODAY at 6 p.m. ET on Zoom for a live panel Q&A with Al Schmidt, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of State, on creating trust in our election system and combatting misinformation. Register here and submit questions here or to events@spotlightpa.org
As seen by @jan.schwartz3 in Forks Township, Northampton County. Have a Pennsylvania photo of your own to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania
A small red bird perched on a budding branch.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.'NON-LETHAL': More than a thousand people nationwide died over the course of a decade after police subdued them using "non-lethal" force, the AP found, noting frequent lapses in protocol and training. In Pittsburgh, experts found a "slew of errors" by the police who repeatedly tased Jim Rogers before his death in custody. One of the cops involved was reinstated last month with full back pay.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.SCOTUS WATCH: The U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to preserve access to a medication used in two-thirds of U.S. abortions, MSNBC reports. If it doesn't, Pittsburgh's WESA says telehealth access to the drug, mifepristone, would be upended in Pennsylvania, a large state where abortion clinic deserts persist

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.AI DISCLAIMERS: As experts issue warnings ahead of the "first presidential campaign of the AI era," a bill is on the move in Harrisburg that would require businesses statewide to identify any AI-generated content as such. Attorney general candidate and state Rep. Craig Williams (R., Delaware) feels the measure is too heavy-handed.

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.POT PROFITS: Recreational cannabis sales could generate hundreds of millions of dollars for Pennsylvania annually if approved. But Marijuana Moment notes the amounts could have been much higher had the commonwealth made the move before all but one neighboring state, a delay that cost it a gold rush in cross-border sales.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.WATER WORRIES: Encina's proposed chemical recycling plant in Northumberland County is still in the works after the October withdrawal of a permit application. It's also still generating pushback — despite the Texas company's assurances — over millions of gallons of wastewater that would be pumped into the Susquehanna River daily.
SWINE FLU: The first human case of swine flu in an American this year has been confirmed in Pennsylvania, per the CDC. The 18-year-old patient had mild symptoms and no person-to-person transmission was identified.

BUYER BEWARE: If you suspect you've been sold a fake pair of viewing glasses for next week's solar eclipse, don't use them and report it to the Pennsylvania attorney general's consumer protection hotline.

ELECTION ECLIPSE: The eclipse led Erie County to extend its voter registration deadline by a day, to April 9, amid concerns that throngs of tourists would impede would-be voters from signing up, per WITF.

DYED VOTES: Pennsylvania-made Peeps still contain carcinogenic red dye No. 3. But The Inquirer (paywall) reports bipartisan legislation introduced in Harrisburg last month would ban the additive and others here.

ELECTRIC SURGE: Electric vehicle ownership is up 45% in Pennsylvania compared to a year ago, the Center Square reports. Counting plug-in hybrids, there are almost 375,000 EVs registered here now.
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: Sibylline 

Congrats to our daily winners: Kimberly D., Barbara F., Margaret D., Elaine C., Lynne E., Jon W., Don H., Bob C., Richard A., Alan B., Stacy S., Wendy S., Beth H., Tom M., Susan N.-Z., David W., Stanley J., Wendy A., Malachy M., Jeffrey F., William Z., and Gabrielle G. 
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