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Assessing Shapiro's key promises after 1 year

Plus, skill games win big in Pa. court.

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—Colin Deppen, Newsletter Editor

The logo of PA Post, a free daily newsletter delivering the top news from across Pennsylvania every day.

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

Monday, December 4, 2023
In today's edition: Pledges tracked, miles reimbursed, fatal error, Santos votes, Perry paper trail, game-time decision, emergency plan, and water hackers.
How are Gov. Josh Shapiro's campaign promises faring 11 months in?
In February, Spotlight PA began tracking the first-term Democrat's progress on promises he made during the campaign or early days of his tenure — everything from pocketbook issues to voting rights. 

Read the full report: Where Shapiro stands on key promises.

THE CONTEXT: Shapiro has delivered on an automatic voter registration pledge via executive action (and not without controversy). He's also announced millions in grants from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency following his vow to help hire thousands of new cops.

But a number of pledges are waiting for related bills to make it out of the divided legislature, and relations between the parties only faded over the summer after Republicans in the upper chamber accused Shapiro of reneging on a budget deal due to Democratic objections.

"It is too high, I agree. That's not why I'm there. And if I were to look at it as a person not knowing what I do, I would be outraged too."

State Rep. Pat Harkins (D., Erie) vowing to curtail his taxpayer-funded travel expenses after reports he collected $154,687 for mileage since 2018
Sustain Spotlight PA's vital journalism and be entered for a chance to win a getaway to the Historic Hotel Bethlehem.
It's Sustainer Week, and that means it's time for our biggest giveaway ever!

Don't miss your chance to win 2 nights and dinner at the Historic Hotel Bethlehem in the heart of beautiful Lehigh Valley. Make a sustaining gift of $15/month or more right now and you'll be automatically entered!

All one-time gifts of any amount will be DOUBLED as part of our year-end matching grant.

Thank you to the 929 people who have given so far during our year-end drive, including Elizabeth W., who said, "You support our precious democracy."

Join Elizabeth & make a tax-deductible gift now »

You can also give via PayPal or Venmo, or send a check to: Spotlight PA, PO Box 11728, Harrisburg, PA 17108-1728.

Into the woods of Huntingdon County, via James G. Have a Pennsylvania photo you want the whole commonwealth to see? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

A trail in the woods is pictured. The trees around it are mostly bare, with some fall-colored leaves hanging on.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.'DO NOT HOLD': Forty-four-year-old Rocco Carbonara was beaten to death inside a Philadelphia jail hours after arriving last week. His lawyers say he never should have been there. The Inquirer (paywall) reports Carbonara was experiencing homelessness and that the warrant to have him brought to court specified, in all caps: “DO NOT HOLD.” City officials say there was contradictory language elsewhere in the document.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.2020 CONTACTS: As U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (R., Pa.) worked to overturn the 2020 election from inside Washington, D.C., he remained in contact with supportive Republican lawmakers in Harrisburg, newly unsealed communications show (read the filing). According to WITF, conversations spanned a legislative audit, direct coordination with the Trump campaign, alleged Pennsylvania whistleblowers, and more.

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
HEFTY SUM: Central Bucks School District taxpayers are on the hook for at least $1.5 million in legal fees stemming from complaints about the district’s treatment of LGBTQ students, the Courier Times (paywall) reports. In related news, recounts have confirmed a Democratic flip of the district's board of directors. The board is set to meet tonight with its first Democratic majority "in recent memory" now in control.
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.'CODE BLUE': Allegheny County has decided emergency winter homeless shelters will remain closed until temperatures hit 26 degrees. The "code blue" action plan would add “overflow shelter beds” and “safe places to access care during the winter months," per WESA. But advocates say the temperature threshold is too low. Warming centers won't be activated until temps fall below 20 degrees.
  • RELATED: Outgoing Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald gets new job with regional planning org, via TribLIVE.
COURT WIN:Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania. Skill games are legal in Pennsylvania, Commonwealth Court has ruled, delivering a big win for the unregulated and growing industry. PennLive reports the court ruled 7-0 that the games are not slot machines or illegal gambling devices as defined by the state’s crimes code and cannot be seized by law enforcement. The decision, capping years of legal uncertainty, is headed for an AG's office appeal.  
Support Spotlight PA's vital journalism and get a chance to win a historic hotel getaway.
🏆 PA POP QUIZ: How'd you do keeping up with the news last week? Let's find out with the latest edition of The Great PA News Quiz: 2024 vision, snow droughts, impeachment court, and war machines.
CYBERATTACKED: Federal agents say Aliquippa's water authority wasn't the only U.S. system breached by Iran-affiliated hackers targeting Israeli-made equipment. Federal authorities didn't give a count, but an Aliquippa official says he was told four other U.S. utilities and an aquarium were hacked.

ALIQUIPPA EXIT: Aliquippa will be the latest Pennsylvania city to exit the state's Act 47 program for financially distressed municipalities. It was the second to enter. The exit comes after 35 years, makes Aliquippa the 27th town to do so, and leaves five communities in Act 47 now. 

KICKED OUT: U.S. Rep. George Santos (R., NY) was expelled from the U.S. House on Friday. Here's how Pennsylvania delegates voted. He becomes the sixth House member to be ejected from the chamber. Disgraced Pennsylvania Congressman Michael Myers was the fourth.

2024 ELECTION: The Inquirer (paywall) reports the Pennsylvania GOP is considering an early endorsement in the race for state attorney general, and one Republican says it's an effort to box him out. The paper also previewed Pennsylvania's "nice-guy U.S. Senate race" from NYC.

POLITICAL PAY: A roughly 3.5% raise for Pennsylvania lawmakers took effect on Friday, pushing base pay for most to $106,422 annually, up from $102,844. PennLive (paywall) reports Pennsylvania lawmakers are likely the second-highest paid in the nation when benefits are factored in.
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: Felicitous

Congrats to our weekly winner: Daniel M.

Congrats to our daily winners: Tracy S., Mike B., Barbara F., Susan N.-Z., Richard A., Lynne E., Don H., Elaine C., Kimberly D., Kim C., Jane R., Alan B., Bob C., John P., Joel S., Stanley J., Marie B., Craig E., James B., Patricia M., Jon W., William Z., Wendy A., Stacy S., Christina M., Jeffrey F., Rick W., Tom M., and Dan A.
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