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Your guide to Pa.'s Supreme Court election

Plus, concerns over push to reschedule Pa.'s 2024 primary.

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Tuesday, September 5, 2023
🏆 WEEK IN REVIEW: Did you stay on top of Pennsylvania news last week? Prove it with the latest Great PA News Quiz: Election day conflict, troubled waters, and broadband blitz.
Supreme election, primary date, financial cuts, age requirement, union arrests, and work resumes. This is PA Post. Thanks for checking in.

Voters will choose Pennsylvania’s newest state Supreme Court justice during the general election on Nov. 7 —  a position that holds considerable power over the interpretation of the law in the commonwealth and one that will determine the balance of the court in coming years. 

Democrat Daniel McCaffery and Republican Carolyn Carluccio are looking to round out the seven-member court, which has the last word on legal questions about everything from election policy to abortion, the latter being looked to as a key issue in this race.

Spotlight PA has a complete guide on everything you need to know on the candidates running for the position: Pa. election 2023: A complete guide to the candidates for state Supreme Court.

THE CONTEXT: From Spotlight PA: 

This year’s race will not change partisan control of the court, which currently has a 4-2 majority of judges elected as Democrats, with one vacancy after the September 2022 death of former Chief Justice Max Baer.

But that majority could fade quickly, said Democratic political operative J.J. Abbott, as all four incumbent Democratic justices will either face retention or reach their mandatory retirement age by 2027.

“Republicans could in theory very quickly take back control of the court and hold it through 2030, giving them control of the redistricting process,” Abbott told Spotlight PA, referencing the redrawing of state legislative and congressional maps that happens once per decade.


"It wasn't that long ago we were losing jobs in this country.”

President Joe Biden in a Philadelphia Labor Day speech that focused on job records — his and Trump’s — ahead of the 2024 presidential election
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» Dems say Pa. party in shambles ahead of 2024, via Politico
» Pa. TV anchor could run for Perry’s congressional seat, via PennLive
» Lt. Gov. Austin Davis welcomes newborn daughter, via Capital-Star
» Shapiro launches state Office of Outdoor Recreation, via FOX56
» Pa. bill aims to digitize state driver’s licenses, via ABC27
» Pa. bill would end mandatory annual car inspections, via KDKA-TV
» CRIMINAL SOLUTION: Join Spotlight PA, the Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, and experts Thursday, Sept. 14, at 6-7:30 p.m. ET at Point Park University for a live discussion on how a Pennsylvania law traps people with mental health issues in jail. RSVP now; seating is limited. 

» STORY FEST: Spotlight PA is participating in Philly Story Fest, a first-of-its-kind festival that brings together storytellers from across the city on one stage. Join us Thursday, Oct. 5 from 7-10 p.m. at the Bok building in South Philadelphia (1901 South 9th St.). Tickets are $25 and available here.
A bee on a flower in Derry Township, via Robert N. Have a photo you want to share with the whole state? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
A closeup of a bee on a bright yellow and purple flower.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.PRIMARY CHANGE: Spotlight PA and VoteBeat report officials believe moving Pennsylvania's 2024 presidential primary date up could create more problems, as counties worry about rescheduling thousands of polling places within months. A Pennsylvania Senate panel advanced a bill last week that would move the primary from April 23 to March 19, in part to avoid its current conflict with the Jewish holiday of Passover.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.FUNDING STOP: Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro is terminating Pennsylvania’s contract with anti-abortion counseling centers after 30 years. The AP reports the contract with the nonprofit Real Alternatives — the same historically bankrolled with state welfare funds — will end on Dec. 31. Shapiro, a supporter of abortion rights, said his administration would not “continue that pattern” of supporting the organization. 

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
END DATES: Pennsylvania students with disabilities will be able to receive free public education services until the age of 22 after a recent lawsuit settlement, Philly Voice reports. The lawsuit alleged students were being denied up to a year of services they were entitled to under federal law. Philly Voice reports the lawsuit resulted in the state’s Department of Education changing the age at which students no longer qualify.
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.CAMPUS ARRESTS: Two employees of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, a teachers union, were arrested for trespassing after setting up a table at the Harrisburg Area Community College’s Lancaster campus, Inside Higher Ed reports. A PSEA spokesperson said the arrests were a violation of state labor law, while the school called the association’s presence on campus a “publicity stunt.” 

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.BACK TO WORK: After more than two-months on strike, union workers at the Wabtec locomotive plant in Erie are going back to work this week. Erie News Now reports: The company and union reached a new four-year deal last week that keeps the company's progressive wage scale and makes changes to the union's grievance process. It also calls for a $1,500 signing bonus and a total of more than 12 percent in raises.
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HEAT WAVE: The School District of Philadelphia announced early dismissal on Tuesday and Wednesday for schools that have inadequate cooling or no air conditioning. Pittsburgh's public school district is moving to remote learning at 38 schools this week for the same reason.

MONUMENT OUTRAGE: After 30 years of flying under the radar, The Inquirer (paywall) reports a monument outside of Philadelphia dedicated to Nazi collaborators recently gained attention. Jewish organizations around Philadelphia are asking for answers.

MANHUNT UPDATE: Danelo Cavalcante, a man convicted of murder who escaped a Chester County prison and has been on the run for days, was spotted on a residential security camera in Pocopson Township Saturday morning. This story is developing.

NASA LANDING: A Pittsburgh-area native was on board NASA’s Crew-6 mission that returned safely back to earth on Monday after a six-month journey. He brought the Terrible Towel with him.

MISTAKEN ID: Philadelphia rapper Lil Uzi Vert was the face of a puppy theft incident when Wilkes-Barre Township police mistakenly included their photo in a post advising residents of the suspect. The photo was later removed.
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: Hypothetical

Congrats to our weekly winner: Kerry L.

Congrats to our daily winners: Eric F., Mike B., Barbara F., Dwayne B., Susan N.-Z., Jon W., Don H., Katie J., Richard A., Elaine C., James B., Janice H., David W., Daniel S., Dennis M., Stacy S., Kimberly D., Anthony W., Tom M., Wendy A., Dan A., Vicki U., William Z., Beth T., and Stanley J.


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