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Map moves, inside sources, Mastriano launches, official semantics, housing crunch, Dimock driller, and Pittsburgh eyed for 2024 RNC. It's Monday.
CONGRESSIONAL MAP VOTE: A state House vote on a proposed and disputed rewrite of Pennsylvania's congressional map is expected this week, with key 2022 primary deadlines and a plea to the state's highest court looming. Spotlight PA and Votebeat report the chamber will likely consider amendments to the House GOP-proffered redistricting proposal on Tuesday, with a final vote expected Wednesday — less than two weeks before a Jan. 24 deadline set by Pennsylvania's Department of State, which oversees elections here. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, who must approve the congressional map for it to take effect, is unhappy with the current proposal. Anticipating a lengthy stalemate, concerned citizens and advocates are asking the state Supreme Court to take over mapmaking duties in the interest of time. STATE MAPS SCRUTINY: The parallel process of redrawing Pennsylvania's legislative maps was seen as a crucial chance to give the state's growing Latino population a greater say in policy. But the commission in charge of redrawing the state House and state Senate maps heard from residents who say that while the commission's proposals are better than existing boundaries, they don't do enough to keep communities of interest together or increase Latino representation. That testimony was heard in a public comment session held last week, one of four. Many people who testified discussed Lehigh County, specifically citing Allentown, a majority-Hispanic city that the proposed Senate map splits. Want to get involved? There's still time.
NOTABLE / QUOTABLE
"Transparency is a critical value in a democracy, especially when public officials try to undermine voters' trust in elections."
—ACLU of Pennsylvania announcing a lawsuit against Fulton County for failing to turn over 2020 election review documents despite an official ruling
» FRONT LINES: The unvaccinated make up an estimated 90% of COVID-19 patients in hard-hit Pennsylvania hospitals. The Post-Gazette went inside one such hospital for an up-close look at the unfolding crisis. » BACKUP PLANS: Pennsylvania is working to add beds and staff in hospitals and nursing homes coping with especially high COVID-19 caseloads, the AP reports. Three federal strike teams are already here. » SCHOOL SAFETY: The American Federation of Teachers in Pennsylvania wants state officials to push for more COVID-19 safety measures in schools or make the pivot back to online learning, CBS3 reports. » LEGAL REVIEW: NPR reports the U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to block President Joe Biden's vaccine-or-test requirement for employees of businesses with 100 or more employees. A final ruling is likely this week. To find a COVID-19 vaccine, use the federal government's online tool, call 1-800-232-0233, or text your zip code to 438829 (GETVAX).
A vibrant Wernersville sunset, courtesy of PA Poster Scott R. Send us your gems, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
MILITIA MEETUP: Two participants at a mysterious 2021 gathering of militia groups in Lancaster County, days before the U.S. Capitol siege, tell LNP the gathering wasn't about the 2020 election or Congress' planned certification of President Joe Biden's victory. But the FBI says a New Jersey Oath Keeper in attendance called it an important planning session for Trump's pivotal "Stop the Steal" rally. RIVAL BIDS: State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R., Franklin) — a Trump ally who amplified 2020 conspiracies and worked to overturn the election results — launched his bid for governor with a combative Gettysburg rally over the weekend. Rival state Sen. Jake Corman (R., Centre) is also running for governor and looking for Trump World bonafides of his own via former Trump spokesperson Kellyanne Conway. WORD JUMBLE: Critics say one of the largest county jails in Pennsylvania is circumventing a voter-backed ban on solitary confinement by calling the practice "segregation" instead, per TribLIVE. Allegheny County Jail is accused of similarly violating a motion passed by its own oversight board against non-lethal rounds and the shotguns used to deploy them by calling the shotguns "special delivery devices." EPIC FAIL: A plan that was meant to help 1,000 working-class residents buy a house in rapidly gentrifying parts of Philadelphia ultimately subsidized the construction and sale of only 140 homes — many to young professionals from other parts of the city, NBC10 reports. Several of the homes have since been rented out illegally or resold for profit. City officials blame a lack of oversight and say an audit is needed. WATER WOES: A Shale gas driller whose flammable water pollution in Dimock became a focus of Josh Fox's award-winning 2010 documentary "Gasland" has waived a hearing on related criminal charges while new complaints continue to be made. The AP reports the criminal case against Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. — now named Coterra — could be headed for trial, though a settlement is reportedly in the works.
IN MEMORIAM: Comedian Bob Saget, a Philadelphia native and Temple University grad best known as the dad on TV's "Full House," died on Sunday in Orlando at the age of 65. A cause of death has not been given. Variety reports detectives found no signs of foul play or drug use. FINAL FOUR: Pittsburgh is one of four finalists to host the 2024 Republican National Convention, Politico reports, having never hosted a modern-day national political convention before. The response has been m ixed. Milwaukee, Salt Lake City, and Nashville are the other three finalists. HOUSEHOLD NAMES: Retired WGAL-TV anchor Ron Martin is coming out of retirement and entering the real estate business, York Daily Record reports. He'll focus on Spring Garden Township in York County and is the latest of the station's on-air talent to make the pivot to home sales. FAST WATER: Penn swimmer Lia Thomas, a transgender woman, competed in the final home meet of her college career on Saturday — a career that has become a conservative media fixation as of late, The Inquirer reports. "I just don't engage with [the criticism]," Thomas said. COLD CANDY: Robert Wyant had a problem: His Harmar candy shop needed a boost amid a pandemic-related slowdown. Wyant's solution? Freeze dry the candy, which, according to TribLIVE, " results in a wafer-like texture" and candy that "melts in a person's mouth."
Unscramble and send your answer to email@example.com. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag.
Words that are fun to say. I F A M N G F A U R *This week's theme: Friday's answer: Razzmatazz Congrats to our weekly winner: Barbara F. Congrats to our daily winners: Craig W., Suzanne O., Joel S., Beth T., Vicki U., Bonnie R., Irene R., Mike B., Doris T., Ronnee G., Dave N., Michelle T., Susan N.-Z., Patricia M., Sharon L., Jodi R., Susan D., Kevin M., Connie K., Alan V., Al M., Janet C., Eddy Z., Judith D., Elaine C., David W., Kenneth J., Don H., Teri H., Leonard B., Chris M., James B., Susan R., Kimberly S., Marty M., Wendy A., Deb N., Tish M., Diane P., Mark O., Kim C., Rhonda T., Lex M., George S., James B., Bill S., Fred M., John P., Suzanne S., Daniel M., Richard W., Bill S., Mark C., Francis K., Annette T., Steve D., Becky C., Janet T., Nancy S., Laura B., Dan W., Mary Kay M., John H., Karen W., Geoffrey D., Kevin H., and Steve M.