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Future still uncertain for clergy abuse amendment

Plus, John Fetterman's memoir.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2024
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Today: Abuse amendment, lives lost, VA scrutiny, primary plans, short-staffed, stepping down, and John Fetterman's memoir. Thanks for checking in.

Partisan differences in Pennsylvania's General Assembly are keeping constitutional amendment proposals with bipartisan support from reaching voters, including one that would give survivors of childhood sexual abuse a chance to sue their abusers past the statute of limitations.

Democrats who control the state House want to send voters a single question about opening a new abuse lawsuit window, while Republican leaders are holding firm on their insistence that the abuse amendment be logrolled with other GOP priorities, including a voter ID requirement.

Should the legislature fail to agree on a way to move forward before the November election, the process will need to begin again, delaying relief for survivors until at least 2027 after significant setbacks already.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Relief for abuse survivors, other constitutional amendments halted in Pa.’s split legislature.


“It’s a new frontier and the regulations have not evolved.”

—State Rep. Tarik Khan (D., Philadelphia) on a bill that would ban the misuse of artificial intelligence in political campaigns and fine violators

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GRADING SHAPIRO: Join us at 6 p.m. Thursday to grade Gov. Josh Shapiro’s first year in office with our expert reporters and one of the state’s top pollsters. This is an exclusive event for Spotlight PA members, but you can join by making a tax-deductible gift of any amount now. We’ll send you a special RSVP link once we receive your gift.

RICHEST LITTLE CITY: Join us Thursday, Jan. 25 from 6-7:15 p.m. on Zoom for a free panel on the corruption case rocking this small Pennsylvania city and how local government can protect against wrongdoing. Register for the event here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org

As seen by @john_mccullough_photography in Venango County. Have a Pennsylvania photo to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

Rays of sun streak through clouds above a snow-covered field.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.CUT SHORT: Philly was set to record its first child homicide victim of 2024 on Monday, with Tyshaun Welles, 16, taken off life support one week after a subway shooting. The Inquirer (paywall) has a powerful look at the 23 young lives lost to gun violence there in 2023.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.VA CONCERNS: Federal lawmakers want answers from officials with Pittsburgh's Veterans Affairs health care system — one of nine VA facilities out of 114 nationwide to earn a single-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, via WESA.
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.PRIMARY PREP: The first test of the 2024 presidential election is over, but dozens of other states will hold primary elections and caucuses in the coming months. Spotlight PA has everything you need to know about Pennsylvania's primary date and more.
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.OUTSIDE HIRES: State Rep. Clint Owlett (R., Tioga) wants to end a residency rule for state correction officers to grow their numbers here. The Marshall Project explains how shortages of prison staff make life worse for employees and imprisoned people alike.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.OPEN SEAT: State Rep. Aaron Kaufer (R., Luzerne) on Tuesday confirmed he won't be seeking reelection and that he's stepping away from the job to focus on his family, WVIA reports. His term ends Nov. 30. Several Republicans were already eyeing the seat.
BOOK OF JOHN: Semafor's Max Tani reports U.S. Sen. John Fetterman (D., Pa.) is working on a memoir. Its working title is "Unfettered."

BUTTER ENERGY: What's next for the Pennsylvania Farm Show's 1,000-pound butter sculpture? It becomes renewable energy, via WHTM.

OFFICIAL APPEARANCE: Yes, that was Pennsylvania Sen. Vincent Hughes (D., Philadelphia) in the front row at Monday's Emmys.

'AMAZING' FIND: A rare Spider-Man comic is on sale in Western Pennsylvania for $35,000. TribLIVE reports that may be a bargain.

DANGEROUSLY COLD: With subzero windchills expected in Pennsylvania today, here's a reminder of our coldest temp on record.
Are you a Berks County resident? We're seeking community input! Join one of our upcoming Spotlight PA - Berks County listening sessions:

Jan. 23: 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Fleetwood Public Library | Register Here

Feb. 21: 5:30-7:30 p.m. at West Lawn-Wyomissing Hills Library | Register Here

A listening session is an informal, small-group discussion in which we are seeking your thoughts, opinions, and concerns on local news coverage, information access, community information needs, and news consumption habits. Visit spotlightpa.org/berks for more information.
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: Conundrum

Congrats to our daily winners: Mark O., Richard A., Becky C., Susan N.-Z., Christina M., Don H., Sharon S., Daniel M., Dolores Q., Beth T., James L., Barbara F., Kim C., Stacy S., Bob C., Tim B., Tracy S., Rick W., Lynne E., Alan B., Elaine C., Jane R., Gail D., Susan R., Wendy A., Joel S., Craig E., Starr B., Tish M., Vicki U., Marie B., John P., Beth H., Daniel S., Tom M., William Z., David W., Ada M., Stanley J., Marianne A., Karen W., David T., Jeffrey F., and Jody A.
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