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Pa.'s other looming abortion fight

Plus, the state's GOP nominee for governor is spreading baseless claims about nursing home deaths. 

A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA

Your Postmaster: Spotlight PA Staff
July 6, 2022
Abortion amendment, Kenney comments, Fourth fears, baseless claim, judicial misconduct, Bitcoin noise, and a Swift story. Welcome to Wednesday. 
In the weeks since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade — which provided a constitutional guarantee to abortion — much has been made of Pennsylvania's next gubernatorial election and what it means for access in the state.

Less discussed is a proposed constitutional amendment that is being pushed by some state Republicans

Supporters say it would not ban abortion, but rather add language to the commonwealth's constitution stating the "policy of Pennsylvania is to protect the life of every unborn child from conception to birth."

Still, both backers and opponents of the proposal see it "as an intentional step toward significantly restricting abortion in Pennsylvania," WHYY reports.  

THE CONTEXT: Abortion is currently legal in Pennsylvania until 24 weeks of pregnancy, or longer if the health of the pregnant person is in danger.

As Spotlight PA previously reported, Democratic nominee for governor Josh Shapiro wants to maintain that access. Republican candidate Doug Mastriano wants to ban abortion at six weeks

Their widely different positions are expected to play a big role this November. The New York Times spoke to a woman in Montgomery County — a critical area for statewide candidates to win — who says she's often open to voting for either a Democrat or Republican but this fall will vote for people who back abortion rights and gun control.

While Pennsylvania's governor is able to veto legislation sent to their desk, they cannot reject constitutional amendments. 

The proposed abortion amendment is still in the early stages. But should Shapiro win this fall — and voters eventually approve the measure — it would provide a viable path for Republicans to defeat challenges to anti-abortion laws in the future. 

You can follow all proposed changes to the Pennsylvania Constitution using Spotlight PA's tracker. 

"I'll be happy when I'm not here, when I'm not mayor, and I can enjoy some things."

—Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney after a Fourth of July shooting in his city, comments that prompted other officials to call for his resignation.
» LAW & LOOPHOLE: Join us Thursday, July 7 at 6 p.m. ET via Zoom for a free Q&A on the limitations of the state's police misconduct database and a discussion on other police accountability efforts. Register for the event here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org.
It's hot air balloon season in Bucks County. Too bad I'm afraid of heights. Thanks for the shot, @youbetkevSend us your sky adventure pics, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
HOLIDAY FEAR: Just hours after a gunman killed six people and injured dozens in Illinois, two police officers were struck by gunfire but not seriously injured in Philly. The Inquirer reports on the chaotic scene that followed in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Around the same time in Harrisburg, people there to enjoy fireworks ran in fear after someone yelled "gun!" PennLive reports the panic was prompted by a fistfight

BRIDGE INSPECTIONS: Months after the collapse of the Fern Hollow Bridge, Pittsburgh has selected a firm to evaluate all 150 of its city-owned bridges. City Council must still give final approval to the $1.5 million contract, according to the Post-Gazette.

BASELESS CLAIM: Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor, is pushing a baseless claim about the Wolf administration and COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes. The Associated Press digs into Mastriano's messaging and what the truth is.

MISCONDUCT ALLEGATIONS: A Pittsburgh law firm has accused an Allegheny County judge of "impatient, undignified, and discourteous" behavior against defendants. City Paper reports that court observers noted that Black men, older people, and people with mental or behavioral health issues were particularly targeted. 

NOISE POLLUTION: Generators powering supercomputers that mine for cryptocurrency are creating noise pollution in rural parts of Pennsylvania, creating headaches for neighbors of these sites. One farmer told WPSU the noise has harmed her meat chickens and egg-laying hens
NEW PLAN: Half a million people enrolled in Medicaid in Pennsylvania need to pick a new plan by August, because of new agreements between the state and insurance companies. WESA has the basics of what you need to know

CENSUS RESULTS: Pennsylvania is getting older and more diverse, the Census Bureau's 2021 annual population estimates show. The Morning Call has a series of maps and charts breaking down the findings

SWIFT STITCH: This story begins with "It's easy to forget that Taylor Swift is from Pennsylvania," which I'm sure a number of Spotlight PA staffers would strongly disagree with. Regardless, Axios highlights a Philly creator making perfect gifts for Swifties from the Keystone State. 

RETURN OF THE KING: American chestnut trees were once the king of Pennsylvania's forests but their ranks have been decimated by blight. The Inquirer spoke to researchers and volunteers hoping to restore them.

WELCOME BACK: In other flora and fauna news, the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners is considering reintroducing the American marten to the state. PennLive says it was expatriated a century ago
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.

Yesterday's answer: Narcissistic

Congrats to our daily winners: Craig W., Art W., Susan D., Don H., Matt D., Kim C., Jill K., btfoos, Mark C., John P., Joan S., Becky C., Ted W., Heidi B., Michelle T., Kimberly D., Mike B., Catherine B., Susan N.-Z., Elaine C., Vicki U., James N., Ronnee G., Marty M., George S., Patricia A., Daniel M., Dianne K., Bill S., Diane P., Doris T., Mary Jo J., Sharon P., James B., Lance L., Bruce F., and Nancy S. 
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