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

Dems warn of mental health misstep in Pa. budget

Plus, Pa.'s claim to Barbie fame.

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 Postmasters: Colin Deppen & Tanisha Thomas

Friday, July 28, 2023
Budget redirect, pipeline ruling, environmental violations, climate bills, Erie exam, railroad blocks, and the Pittsburgh Metro area expands.

Pennsylvania's GOP-led state Senate redirected $100 million for adult mental health services to in-school services, prompting warnings from some Democrats who want to see the funding restored. 

State Sen. Maria Collett (D., Montgomery) and state Rep. Mike Schlossberg (D., Lehigh) are among the critics of the Senate's decision to put the stimulus money toward an existing grant program for school-based mental health services that was funded through recurring revenue streams last time.

“I genuinely wish I had an answer as to why the Senate chose to go this route,” Schlossberg told Spotlight PA of the move.

Read the full report: Democrats say stalled Pennsylvania budget leaves behind adult mental health patients.

THE CONTEXT: Critics say the shift robs an overburdened mental health care system of promised relief. James James, a psychiatrist at Bethlehem-based St. Luke’s University Health Network, told reporters that patients facing mental illness can spend weeks in emergency rooms "waiting for a bed."

The state budget has yet to be finalized due to a procedural impasse

As for possible next steps: The legislature could redirect the $100 million back to adult mental health services through fiscal code bills that accompany the still-unfinished budget bill, Schlossberg said, though that could leave school-based mental health funding in the lurch. Lawmakers could also pass a standalone bill and find a new source of funding.

Schlossberg pointed to the $13 billion currently in state reserves. 


“It’s going to excite me when I see it. Take it down, just let me have one brick. I just want one brick, and I want everyone to sign it.”

Tamika Martin on a plan to replace Bedford Dwellings, the oldest public housing complex in Pittsburgh; Martin has lived there for six years 
Support vital journalism for Pennsylvania: The future of local news is in your hands. Donate now to Spotlight PA.
» Fetterman wants food stamps for striking workers, via Capital-Star

» Pa. Freedom Caucus warns against 'Marxist' library group, via WITF

» Pa. House Dems plan four-city road tour, via @StephenJ_Caruso

» Board rejects raising key cost for oil & gas drillers, via StateImpact

» State rep. wants government vehicle fleet to go electric, via WHTM

» How Local Gov't Works: Join us Thursday, Aug. 3 from 6-7:15 p.m. ET on Zoom for a free panel on oversight issues in local governments, how to hold officials accountable, and where you can turn to address issues with municipal services. Register here and submit questions to events@spotlightpa.org


Philly puddles, via @yatsko. Have a photo you'd like to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

A cityscape reflected in a puddle.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.PIPELINE FINISH: The U.S. Supreme Court has greenlighted completion of a contested pipeline project in West Virginia that would benefit Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale industry and has received lots of support from Pennsylvania lawmakers. NPR reports "the high court affirmed certain powers that Congress has over federal courts, and all but ensured quick completion of the natural gas pipeline."Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.MARINER EAST: Sunoco's pipeline division has agreed to pay $660,000 to resolve numerous violations of environmental laws in Pennsylvania. The violations occurred across nine counties during construction of the Mariner East II pipeline, one of the most penalized projects in state history. It's been dogged by sinkholes, community concernscriminal charges, and large-scale pollution.

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.CLIMATE COSTS: Climate change adaptations will cost Pennsylvania towns and taxpayers more than $15 billion by 2040, according to a new report, via Capital-Star. Brittany Reno, mayor of Sharpsburg on the Allegheny River, said "no community ... is going to be spared." The Center for Climate Integrity report say Falls Township would need to increase its annual budget by 43% to keep up.

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.SWING COUNTY: GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump will be in Pennsylvania tomorrow for a rally in Erie County — a place he narrowly flipped red in 2016 (and which Biden narrowly flipped back in 2020). In March, U.S. News & World Report examined Erie's political significance and its reputation as a swing state microcosm where union Democrats began to drift as local unions began to fade.
  • RELATED: Trump facing new charges, accused of asking staffer to delete surveillance video in DOJ case, via Axios
Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.ROAD BLOCKS: Rail giant CSX has been cited 49 times this year by Chambersburg police for blocked railroad crossings that cause lengthy traffic delays, a violation of state law. The company is seeking to invalidate those citations on the grounds that the state law itself is not enforceable, Public Opinion reports. CSX says it's governed by federal law and no federal law on blocked railroad crossings exists.
Investigative journalism that gets results: Spotlight PA's vital work depends on you. Donate now.
🏆 QUICK QUIZ: Follow the news this week? Prove it with the seven questions in this edition of The Great PA News Quiz: School funding appeal, public pensions, and a really big sandwich.

X FILES: Whistleblower David Grusch, a Pittsburgh native and Pitt alum, told Congress this week that the U.S. government has been aware of “non-human activity” since the 1930s and capturing UFOs for nearly as long.

MUSIKFEST: The "largest free admission music festival in the U.S." returns to Bethlehem next week. This year's Musikfest lineup includes: Maren Morris, AJR, Walk the Moon, Keith Sweat and Monica, and more.

METRO MAP: Lawrence County has been added to the Pittsburgh Metro Area under new metro area boundaries released by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, via TribLIVE's Ryan Deto.

RACCOON RUN: Baggage claim at the Philadelphia International Airport got an interesting show on Tuesday when a raccoon dropped in. WPVI obtained an image of the animal attempting to scurry away.

HEAD CASE: After years without a cranium, the famous headless lumberjack statue off Route 819 in Greensburg has a head again, WTAE reports. 

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: Pugnacious

Congrats to our daily winners: Becky C., John P., Mark C., Joel S., Beth H., Don H., Starr B., Jon W., Eric F., Bruce B., Connie K., Connie K., Bob C., Susan N.-Z., Lynne E., Ted W., Dan A., Karen W., Georgann J., Carol S., Jane R., Kim C., Stanley J., Daniel M., Vicki U., Dennis M., Mike B., Tish M., William Z., Tom M., Richard A., Marla C., Ronnee G., Kimberly D., Wendy A., Ada M., and Bob K.
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, non-partisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, TribLIVE/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and WITF Public Media.

Copyright © Spotlight PA / The Philadelphia Inquirer, 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.