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Shapiro took $1.7K worth of free tix from lobbyist

Plus, a state House special election.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2024
Today: Open tab, special election day, court hackers, fracking disclosures, learning losses, and snow forecasts. It's Fasnacht Day, aka Fat Tuesday.

Democrat Josh Shapiro accepted $1,650 worth of “event tickets and catering” from a powerful Harrisburg lobbyist last year, a perk his campaign insists was a political contribution.

In his official capacity as Pennsylvania’s governor, Shapiro has banned all executive branch employees from receiving similar gifts from people who are trying to influence state government decisions.

The tickets were paid for by Michael Brunelle, a top staffer to former Gov. Tom Wolf who is now a lobbyist with clients including health care giants and energy and utility companies.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Josh Shapiro accepted $1,650 in ‘event tickets’ from powerful Pa. lobbyist.


"I think we can't accept the level of violence that we are seeing in Philadelphia or in other communities across Pennsylvania. And, we need to make sure we are making the critical investments to address that."

—Gov. Shapiro on a bill he signed into law creating a new special prosecutor focused on crimes committed on Philadelphia public transit; Philadelphia's progressive DA has sued over the law amid questions about its future
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A peregrine falcon in South Williamsport, via @jackshollowphotography. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

A falcon perched on a tree, its wings slightly spread.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.ELECTION DAY: A closely watched and well-funded special election for an open state House seat takes place in Lower Bucks County today. Here's the who, when, and where. WaPo (paywall) calls the race an "early indication of how national Democrats intend to tie Republicans to former President Donald Trump up and down the ballot."

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.COURT ATTACK: A cyberattack on Pennsylvania's state courts website has ended and all affected services have been restored, NBC10 reports. State Supreme Court Chief Justice Debra Todd credited "tireless resistance" from administrators and IT professionals.
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
TRADE SECRETS: Gov. Shapiro's administration will require fracking companies to publicly disclose the chemicals they use in drilling. But Kristina Marusic, of Environmental Health News, says there are loopholes in the policy that will lessen its impact.

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.TO BE CONTINUED: The Lehigh County chapter of Moms for Liberty is likely to continue despite recent reports of its imminent demise. The Morning Call (paywall) reports a leadership void was set to prompt its disbanding, but a replacement chair came forward.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.SCHOOL HOURS: Federal law requires schools to deliver services missed due to pandemic disruptions to students with disabilities. WESA reports Pittsburgh alone owes nearly 603,000 hours of compensatory services and had completed just 3,000 as of January.
SNOW DAY: Winter weather has returned, just in time to impact this morning's commute across much of Pennsylvania. You can blame me: I put my shovel and rock salt away last weekend, carelessly tempting the fates.

NEED A MINUTE? Let this peaceful, 55-second-clip transport you to Philly's Rittenhouse Square with backing from Debussy's "Clair de Lune."

PUBLIC PEAK: Pennsylvania's last privately owned summit, Wyoming County's Miller Mountain, is going public, Bay Journal reports.

SWEET SPOT: Today is Fat Tuesday or Fasnacht Day. Times News profiles NEPA families keeping the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition alive.

PA POEM: Just in time for Valentine's Day, Lewisburg poet Ron Mohring's 'The "V" in Love,' via WPSU's Poetry Moment.
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Yesterday's answer: Football

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