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Legal weed unlikely to make it into this PA budget

Plus, waiting years for disability services.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
PROGRAMMING NOTE: We're off for Juneteenth, meaning no newsletter tomorrow. We'll be back in your inboxes first thing Friday.
Today: Long-shot pot, slow service, city hall probe, paid liaison, school water-test results, and a fireworks marathon in the making.
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SLIM CHANCE

A centerpiece of Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro's budget pitch is unlikely to be part of a final deal this year, advocates and lawmakers say. 

In his February budget address, Shapiro called on the General Assembly to legalize adult-use cannabis and a 20% tax on related sales.

But with a June 30 fiscal deadline looming, big-picture regulatory questions still unanswered, and a legalization opponent in control of what legislation the GOP-majority state Senate considers, it's looking unlikely this time.

Five of six neighboring states have legal recreational cannabis now.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Legal cannabis likely won’t be in this year’s budget, but supporters say there’s a silver lining.

NOTABLE / QUOTABLE

"I, as mayor, and the administration alone can't solve this gun violence by ourselves. We need intergovernmental, cross-collaborative partnerships."

—Mayor Cherelle Parker who signed legislation Tuesday banning bump stocks in Philadelphia; the move came days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a Trump-era federal ban on the rapid-fire gun devices and the same day U.S. Senate Republicans scuttled an attempt to pass another
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📅 UPCOMING EVENTS
PROPERTY VALUE: Join us Thursday, June 20 from 6-7 p.m. ET via Zoom for a free panel discussion about how outdated property assessments affect schools, roads, and more. Register for the event here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org
📷 POST IT
SEPTA's historic green and cream trolleys return, as seen by Spotlight PA's Stephen Caruso. Have a photo of your own to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania
An old-fashioned trolley going down a city street.
DAILY RUNDOWN
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.
WAIT TIMES: Because the level of need exceeds what’s appropriated in the state budget, adults with autism and intellectual disabilities in Pennsylvania spend months, if not years, waiting for Medicaid waivers that pay for related services. Here's how Gov. Shapiro's budget plan aims to reduce the lengthy backlog, via Spotlight PA.
Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.
'NULL AND VOID': Mayor Matt Tuerk says Allentown's contract with a former FBI investigator probing discrimination in city hall wasn't properly launched and is therefore void. The investigator said he already began his work and claimed he found evidence to substantiate the discrimination allegations, per Morning Call (paywall).
 
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
NRA SHOW: Nearly $200,000 in taxpayer money has gone to a former Dauphin County commissioner to liaise with the NRA and keep its big annual outdoor show in the county, PennLive (paywall) reports. The payments, which started in 2021, came amid rumors the NRA was considering moving the show — rumors the NRA says are false.
 
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.
'FOREVER' WATER: More than 30 Pennsylvania schools found toxic "forever chemicals" in their drinking water at rates that exceed new federal standards, WHYY reports. Schools in Berks, Dauphin, Lackawanna, and York Counties had the highest totals. January marked the first time schools were required to test for the chemicals.
 
Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.
NEW LAWS: Gov. Shapiro signed four bills into law on Tuesday, including one that requires annual moments of silence in schools on 9/11 and related instruction. The others deal with disabled veteran benefit payments, travel insurance, and lowering the minimum temperature for cremations to keep equipment running longer as demand grows
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IN OTHER NEWS
JUNETEENTH: Today is Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved people in the U.S. Pennsylvania was the first state to pass an abolition act of its own, but, as The Inquirer (paywall) reported in 2019, many Black Pennsylvanians were in bondage long after that.

DANGEROUS HEAT: A 44-year-old mother from Pennsylvania died this week while hiking in Sedona, Arizona. The Arizona Republic reports it's believed the woman suffered heat exhaustion and was treated too late.

NETFLIX HOUSE: Netflix is getting viewers out of the house with new physical venues. One of the first will open in King of Prussia next year. Philly Voice reports Bridgerton and Squid Game features are possible.

BOOM TIMES: Independence Day falls on a Thursday this year, and York Daily Record (paywall) explains why that means "you might be hearing fireworks into the wee hours of the night for six straight days."

PUSH OFF: A judge has ordered the SS United States ship out of its berth in Philadelphia. The AP explains why and what it means for the historic ship, which still holds the transatlantic speed record it set in 1952.
Spotlight PA's exclusive "All Sun, No Shade" beach towel, on sale now
 HOT, HOT, HOT 

Our exclusive 'All Sun, No Shade' beach towels are HOT!

Bold and thick, get ready for summer with this exclusive Spotlight PA swag. But hurry! Once they're gone, they're gone for the year. SHOP NOW >
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. Answers submitted by 5:30 p.m. on issue date will be counted.
 
V T O A N I N I I D

Yesterday's answer: Saccharine

Congrats to our daily winners: Barbara F., Jon W., Don H., Stacy S., Rosemary C., Kimberly D., Bob C., Jane R., Richard A., Eric F., Elaine C., Alan B., Dan A., Tom M., Jody A., Susan N.-Z., Annette I., Wendy A., Perry H., David W., Judith D., William Z.
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