Did you know Spotlight PA is a nonprofit? Learn more about our nonpartisan journalism »
Skip to main content
Main content

Ex-senator's lobbying firm hired by state agency

Plus, an 'ice cream truck' for voting.

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

Thursday, February 8, 2024
A message from our sponsor:
Join the Harrisburg Regional Chamber's forum with Pennsylvania senators serving the Harrisburg region on March 7.
Today: Scarnati's firm, ballot fixes, Shapiro's 'Jekyll and Hyde,' pro pot, congressional conundrum, and Community Days cancellation.  

Pennsylvania's Game Commission is defending its hire of former state Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati's law firm. 

The commission entered into a $10,000-per-month contract last fall with the Jefferson County Republican's firm, Allegheny Strategy Partners, for help in “developing and strengthening relationships with members of the General Assembly," despite already having a legislative liaison on its payroll.

Angela Couloumbis reports a search of lobbying records shows only one other state agency has hired lobbyists since 2007. It's a practice challenged by good-government advocates and even some lawmakers. 

State Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R., York) championed a bill last session that would ban the practice. Informed of the Game Commission's hire of Scarnati's firm, Phillips-Hill's office said she now plans to reintroduce the bill.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Former top Pa. lawmaker's lobbying firm paid $41K by Game Commission in unusual arrangement.


"The NTSB is returning to East Palestine for our final board meeting for the same reasons we went last summer: Because the communities most affected by this tragedy deserve to hear our findings in-person and in real-time."

—National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy on plans to release the cause of the toxic train derailment at a hearing in June
Shop the Spotlight PA store for exclusive Pennsylvania gear and apparel.

ON SALE: Our Exclusive PA Tote Bag

Designed by a Pennsylvania artist just for Spotlight PA and printed by a local business.

Plus, get exclusive Spotlight PA apparel and accessories. SHOP NOW >

Shawnee Lake in Bedford County, via Karyl S. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

A expansive view of a blue lake under a blue sky.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.MOBILE UNIT: In a first for Pennsylvania, Democratic Montgomery County Commissioner Neil Makhija is proposing a mobile unit to help voters fix potentially disqualifying mail ballot mistakes, likening it to a pro-democracy "ice cream truck," Bolts reports.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.SHAPIRO SKEPTICS: Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro's latest budget address did little to assuage critics of his fracking industry embrace, per Inside Climate News. And with his new natural gas-focused economic development plan, some are crying "Jekyll and Hyde."
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
POT POLLING: Shapiro wants legal cannabis (and related tax revenue) for Pennsylvania, but what do Pennsylvanians think? New polling says two-thirds support adult-use cannabis here, a plank of Shapiro's latest budget, which he unveiled Tuesday.

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.WATER WORKS: Federal lawmakers agreed that something needed to be done to protect critical U.S. water infrastructure following November's Iran-linked cyberattack on Aliquippa's water authority. City & State reports that's largely where the consensus ends.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.DAYS OFF: DuBois' Community Days festival won't happen this year due, in part, to "a lack of donations." Ex-City Manager Herm Suplizio played a key role in fundraising for the event and was accused last year of stealing associated funds in a sprawling corruption case.

LUNAR NEW YEAR: Lunar New Year is days away. Lion dancing, drumming, and firecrackers are all lined up in Philly, WHYY reports.

BLACK HAIR: Allegheny County's Jasmine Green remembers the burn of hair-straightening treatments. TribLIVE says the impacts may be lasting.

SWIFT STUDY: Penn State Berks' new “Taylor Swift, Gender, and Communication” class is the envy of the Penn State system

PA PRODIGY: Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff's last living piano student is 99 years old and living near Hershey, WaPo (paywall) reports.

COLD COMFORT: Good Morning America introduces the 71-year-old retiree who's been "scarf bombing" the Harrisburg area for years

Are you a Berks County resident? We're seeking community input! Join one of our upcoming Spotlight PA - Berks County listening sessions:

Feb. 21: 5:30-7:30 p.m. at West Lawn-Wyomissing Hills Library | Register Here

A listening session is an informal, small-group discussion in which we are seeking your thoughts, opinions, and concerns on local news coverage, information access, community information needs, and news consumption habits. Visit spotlightpa.org/berks for more information.
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.

Yesterday's answer: Incremental

Congrats to our daily winners: Don H., Marty M., Stacy S., Barbara F., Lynne E., Jon W., Dan A., Alan B., Bob C., Richard A., Susan N.-Z., Jane R., Beth T., Kimberly D., Judith D., Sharon B., Elaine C., Wendy A., Jody A., William Z., and Jeffrey F.
Like PA Post? Share it with a friend.

Love PA Post? Support it with a tax-deductible gift.

Forwarded this newsletter? Subscribe here.
Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan & nonprofit newsroom producing investigative and public-service journalism that holds the powerful to account and drives positive change in Pennsylvania.

For sponsorship inquiries, email membership@spotlightpa.org.

Copyright © Spotlight PA, All rights reserved.

Spotlight PA
PO Box 11728
Harrisburg, PA 17108-1728


You're receiving this email because you subscribed to PA Post, a daily newsletter by Spotlight PA.

This email was sent to: <<Email Address>>

Receiving too many emails from Spotlight PA?

To change your newsletter subscriptions and frequency, you can update your preferences.

To stop receiving fundraising messages, you can update your preferences and select "Opt out of Fundraising."

To stop receiving ALL EMAILS from Spotlight PA, including all of our investigations and newsletters, you can completely unsubscribe here.