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Wolf’s veto tally looms over last year in office

Plus, governor pitches own map as redistricting deadline nears.


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Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
January 18, 2022
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Pen power, many maps, census disputes, fake electors, temporary hold, 'ghost flights,' and Pennsylvania scrapple gets a bad name. It's Tuesday.
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"None of us know what to do with a funeral for 12 people. We're in a space of grief and pain we wish on no one else."

—Rev. Dr. Alyn Waller at Monday's funeral service for the victims of a Jan. 5 house fire in Philadelphia, the city's deadliest in more than a century
» WILL TRAVEL: Sixteen-year-old Nicholas Montero of Bucks County told WHYY about his decision to travel to Philadelphia to get a COVID-19 vaccine against his parents' wishes. Philly doesn't always require parental consent.
» TEST KITS: Starting tomorrow, American households will be able to begin ordering free at-home COVID-19 tests from the federal government by mail. CNN explains how it works. The limit is four per household.

» DIY CAVEATS: KHN explains the limits, misconceptions, and variables that impact the reliability of at-home tests and why some people mistakenly look at a negative home-test result "like a get-out-of-jail-free card."  

» NEW SUPPLY: TribLIVE reports western Pennsylvania schools that are already testing for COVID-19 appreciate President Joe Biden's plan to send them more testing kits, adding, "The rest have no plans to change course."

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 cold Perry County sunset, as photographed by @kinzr13Send us your gems, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
SHIFTING LINES: There are two congressional redistricting proposals Gov. Tom Wolf thinks are better than the one being advanced by the GOP-controlled state legislature. The first is his own proposal, which Wolf unveiled over the weekend. The second came from the Committee of Seventy's Draw the Lines project. With a key deadline one week away and all sides digging in, The Inquirer explains what might come next.

CENSUS RIFT: The time for settling 2020 census disputes has come and State College is one of the university towns nationwide planning to challenge tallies taken during a pandemic-led student exodus, fearing lower numbers could lead to less federal funding. The AP reports the odds of successful challenges are long and that the results won't impact the redistricting process — one guided by census data — either way.

BUFFER STATE: Electors in five states signed documents wrongly declaring a Trump victory as they attempted to redirect electoral votes that actually belonged to Biden. LNP reports electors in Pennsylvania came close to doing the same but "hedged the language" to say they'd cast their votes for Trump only if his election challenges prevailed. That small distinction could now save them from prosecution.

ON HOLD: Pennsylvania's Supreme Court paused a third-party review of Fulton County's voting machines at the last minute on Friday amid warnings from state officials and the manufacturer, Capital-Star reports. A Wolf administration request to halt the review — part of a contested and partisan probe of Pennsylvania's 2020 balloting — was granted on a temporary basis until the full court can consider it. 

FACT CHECK: Reports of planes carrying child migrants into a pair of Pennsylvania airports last month were quickly weaponized by Republicans running for governor and U.S. senator here. WHYY and WITF took a closer look at their "ghost flight" narratives and found a bevy of inflammatory statements with few provable facts. Some of the fear-mongering, meanwhile, is already trickling down to local politics.
OPEN SEAT: Lancaster City Council member Xavier Garcia-Molina is stepping down to focus on his mental health and graduate studies. LNP reports you have until Jan. 24 to apply for the seat, assuming you're 18 or older, not a city employee, and not an elected federal, state, or county official.

THE MEATS: My Spotlight PA bio is clear: I am no lover of scrapple — that Pennsylvania Dutch staple and great melting pot of eclectic meats. But I think a rebranding may be in order to avoid defamatory tweets like this one. (Editor's note/warning: The tweet — linked here — is kinda gross.)

*WOULD* HURT A FLY: Speaking of rebrandings ... were we wrong about the spotted lanternfly? Not exactly, but StateImpact talked to Penn State researchers about online misinformation and the commonwealth's earliest alarms over the invasive species, some of which missed the mark.

READ LIST: Republican Herald coverage of a Pottsville connection in Kathryn Canavan's new true crime book had me at "a glamorous showgirl and girlfriend of Philadelphia mobsters who allegedly played a role in the half-million-dollar robbery of a coal baron's home on Mahantongo Street."

NO SAVESIES: With snow on the ground, it felt like a good time — nay, a necessary time — to re-up The Incline's piece on the the parking chair's complicated ethics. And while we're at it, here's a look at the chaotic good, chaotic neutral, and chaotic evil of the "Pittsburgh Left."
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.

*This week's theme:
The weather
Friday's answer: Stumblebum

Congrats to our weekly winner: Alan V.

Congrats to our daily winners: Mike B., Beth T., Michelle T., Becky C., Don H., Bonnie R., Lynne E., Kimberly S., Doris T., Georgann J., Elaine C., Vicki U., Mary A., Susan N.-Z., Lex M., Gina L., Al M., Kimberly B., Dawn C., Kim C., Ronnee G., Craig W., George S., Daniel M., Susan D., William S., Bill S., Suzanne S., David W., James B., and Judith D.
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