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A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA


Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
June 24, 2022
Rate hike, document block, alternate electors, Perry's plan, home visit, gun ruling, tax holiday, and Pat Toomey for $400. Today is Friday! 
HOME HELP

Gov. Tom Wolf is asking the legislature to spend $91 million to raise a pivotal reimbursement rate for skilled nursing homes statewide. 

The goal is to help offset the costs from proposed new regulations that would increase daily required care and, as a result, provider payrolls.

With the state's June 30 budget deadline quickly approaching, the Democrat wants to increase the amount of money skilled nursing homes receive for residents on Medicaid — a key payer of such services.

But a lobbying group for long-term care providers here says Wolf's pitch, while welcome, doesn't go far enough, Spotlight PA reports. 

THE CONTEXT: In 2021, the Wolf administration updated Pennsylvania's decades-old nursing home regulations, acknowledging the state must improve quality-care requirements that experts called dangerous.

The new rules require staff spend more hours per day providing direct care to patients, which providers said would drive labor costs up.  

Since the start of the pandemic, the state has earmarked nearly $500 million to the hard-hit nursing home industry. But as one-time infusions, providers said the money wasn't enough to reverse troubling trends.

There does appear to be agreement among legislators that more investment is needed, but how to do so is still being debated.

If funding remains as is, advocacy networks, experts, and nurses fear facilities may be ill-equipped to support the aging population.

NOTABLE / QUOTABLE

"It's not the city refusing to produce the information. It's the direction of the NTSB. The NTSB has indicated they want a clear, clean investigation."

Associate city solicitor John Doherty on Pittsburgh's push to withhold official documents related to a bridge that collapsed in January
 
📷 POST IT
Doing the slide. Thanks for sharing, Robert N. Send us your pics, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
DAILY RUNDOWN
HAND-OFF: U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wisc.) told a radio station this week that GOP Pennsylvania Congressman Mike Kelly pushed an alternate slate of pro-Trump Wisconsin electors on Johnson's staff, per Insider. The Jan. 6 committee said a member of Johnson's staff later tried to hand the list of names to then-Vice President Mike Pence. Johnson denies involvement. Kelly called the claim "patently false."

DOJ PLAN: Thursday's hearing of the J6 committee included new details on efforts by U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (R., Pa.) to install pro-Trump DOJ officials to help overturn the 2020 election, per Capital-Star. Witnesses testified that Perry pushed for Jeffrey Clark, the Philly native and former DOJ lawyer whose home was raided on Wednesday, as acting attorney general and peddled far-flung conspiracy theories.

HOME VISIT: The chairman of the Allegheny County Republican Party, Sam DeMarco, was interviewed by federal agents at his home on Thursday, part of a probe into former President Trump's attempt to use alternate electors from swing states to overturn the election, the Post-Gazette reports. A hedge in Pennsylvania's alternate electors document may offer participants legal protection, the paper adds.

PUBLIC GUNS: The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a New York state law that restricted who could obtain a permit to carry a gun in public. It's unlikely to directly affect Pennsylvania's carry laws, which aren't written like New York's. But gun-rights attorney Joshua Prince told Patch the high court's ruling sets a precedent around self-defense that could have a bearing on other cases and rules here.

GAS RELIEF: Echoing President Joe Biden, Democrats in the state Senate want to put the brakes on Pennsylvania's highest-in-the-nation gas tax, PennLive reports. They're calling for a pause of the levy and for the state's budget surplus to be used to offset a related drop in revenue for road and bridge repairs. Similar proposals — including from Republican state lawmakers — have gone nowhere.
IN OTHER NEWS

CLARIFICATION: Yesterday we said that Philly's Federal Donuts has dropped Martin's potato rolls over the company's ties to the far-right lawmaker and gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano. While the decision followed a public outcry, the chain hasn't explicitly cited Mastriano as the reason.

POLICY PAUSE: Amid concern over how the Democratic National Committee's gender-parity rules — the same meant to increase female participation in politics — would impact nonbinary candidates, the Lehigh County Democratic Committee temporarily dismissed the rules in certifying the recent winners of local committee posts, per The Morning Call.

MUSIC MEND: The birthplace of Black opera in the United States is in Pittsburgh, and after decades of decay and disrepair, renovations on the historic house are finally underway, WESA reports.

NO SMOKE: With the FDA considering a ban on menthol cigarettes, WHYY recounts how a group of Black Philadelphia leaders in the 80s managed to keep an entire brand of menthols off the market.

EASY A: See if you know the answer to this Jeopardy! question from Wednesday's episode: "A gentle hand gesture of affection by Pennsylvania's Toomey." The category was "The senator's first name."

THE SCRAMBLER
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.
 
R I M F N Y U I T O

This week's theme: Geology
 
Yesterday's answer: Mineralization

Congrats to our daily winners: Craig W., Mark O., Judith D., Starr B., Susan R., Barbara F., Don H., Beth T., Susan D., Elaine C., Ana G., Doris T., Craig E., George S., Kim C., Dianne K., Jane W., David W., Kimberly B., Bill S., Sharon P., Vicki U., David S., Chuck D., James B., Nancy S., Eddy Z., and Jude M.
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