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|In today's edition: Committee votes, election officials, DA strategy, EV stations, unsafe streets, vaccine doubters, and Pa.'s 'chipmunk cult town.'|
A Pennsylvania House panel is expected to consider bills intended to prevent children and teens from accessing firearms as advocates for stricter gun laws call on the state Senate to take up legislation.
On Monday, CeaseFirePA unveiled an installation at the Capitol that shows how many days, hours, minutes, and seconds have passed since the lower chamber passed gun control bills. The campaign is aimed at pressuring the GOP-controlled state Senate to vote on the measures.
While it's unlikely the upper chamber will do so, the state House is continuing to advance these bills and will consider two more today — including one that would require secure storage of firearms in homes with children.
Read Spotlight PA's complete report: Democrats continue advancing gun control as advocates call for Pa. Senate to take up bills.
THE CONTEXT: After more than a decade out of power, Democrats took control of the lower chamber this year with a one-vote majority.
Since then, the caucus — with some GOP support — has advanced a handful of bills to tighten the state’s gun laws. One would implement universal background checks, while another allow authorities to take firearms away from person at risk of harming themselves or someone else.
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|» RESULTS REVIEW: Join us, the New Pennsylvania Project, and Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts on Thursday, Nov. 16 from 6-7 p.m. for a Q&A on the election results. Register for the event here and submit your questions to email@example.com.|
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|2024 VISION: Democratic wins in last week's elections put the party's members in key oversight roles ahead of the 2024 presidential election in a key state: Pennsylvania. This includes statewide courts and a host of county commissioner seats. But Bolts magazine reports 2020 election deniers were reelected in some red-leaning counties: "jurisdictions that may emerge as hotspots for litigation once again next year."|
CHARGES DROPPED: Tyler Sherrell says he was jumped and stabbed during the 19 months he spent in Allegheny County Jail on a homicide charge the local DA's office ultimately dropped. The only evidence against him was another man's "self-serving" finger-pointing, TribLIVE reports. Experts told the outlet it's part of a strategy in which prosecutors overcharge a weak, low-evidence case to get a confession.
- RELATED: Saylor concedes in Dauphin commissioners race as Democrats win rare control of county, via WHTM
- Democrats did well in 2023 in states like Pennsylvania; experts say that means little for 2024, via LNP (paywall)
BATTERY LIFE: President Joe Biden wants half of new cars to be fully electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030. That will require a robust grid of chargers. And while Pennsylvania and Ohio lead all states in tapping Infrastructure Act dollars to add the stations (Pennsylvania's first is underway in Pittston), experts tell WaPo (paywall) that federal funding is likely to fall well short of reaching the administration’s goals.
- RELATED: Former Allegheny County inmates with psychiatric disabilities settle for $120,000 in excessive force lawsuit, via City Paper
DANGEROUS ROADS: A Philadelphia teacher was killed last week in a hit-and-run while riding his bike in Roxborough. Days later, 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr. was left with a broken rib in a hit-and-run that occurred while he was crossing a Center City street on foot. An editorial in The Inquirer (paywall) says the city's traffic deaths are exceptionally high and proven safety measures are being adopted too slowly.
SHOT SKEPTICS: Pandemic-era misinformation hasn't just undermined confidence in COVID-19 vaccines. A UPenn survey of 1,559 people found only 71% agreed that vaccines in the U.S. are safe, down from 77% in 2021. A federal study found vaccination exemptions among kindergartners have hit a record high of 3% in the U.S. Pennsylvania's exemption rate is up .5% from 2021-22, sitting at 3.8%.
|WIND FARMS: Pushback has halted a planned Jersey Shore wind turbine farm. Pennsylvania is home to more than two dozen such farms, most more than a decade old. Development has slowed amid similar pushback here and a shrinking supply of windy locations, The Inquirer (paywall) reports.|
AGENT CHARGED: An agent with Pennsylvania's Office of the Attorney General is on leave with pay after being criminally charged in Lehigh County for child porn possession, NBC10 reports. Joshua Steven Gonzalez, 39, of South Whitehall Township was due to be arraigned on Monday.
COURT PRESS: A Lehigh Valley classical musician who stopped paying union dues is appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying a prior court ruling striking down mandatory fees in government unions should also apply to government-funded charities like symphonies, the Capital-Star reports.
MAYORS-ELECT: United Steelworkers union leader and one-time State of the Union guest Jojo Burgess has been elected the first Black mayor of majority-white Washington, Pennsylvania, per WTAE. In Oil City, Democrats managed to flip the mayor's office as the GOP splintered.
LONG WALK: Lincoln University students have finished their 66-mile trek from Chester County to Harrisburg, where they pressed lawmakers to approve delayed state funding for their school and several others, @gill_mcgoldrick reports. Here's the backstory on the demonstration, via The Tribune.
Unscramble and send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.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
W I O E R V V E
Yesterday's answer: Tabernacle (also accepted: recantable)
Congrats to our daily winners: Vicki U., Barbara F., Don H., Stacy S., Kimberly D., Bob C., Jon W., Susan N.-Z., Jane R., Karthik B., Richard A., Susan D., Kim C., Becky C., James B., Becca S., Karen P., Carol S., Alan B., Tom M., Jeffrey F., Jacqueline C. B., Wendy A., Stanley J., Robert D., and Elizabeth R.