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|Women in politics, unauthorized access, State speech, 'urgent threat,' double duty, hazard trains, and Philadelphia's rookie government. Welcome!|
A record number of women are currently serving in the Pennsylvania legislature: 80 of the 253 lawmakers in the state House and Senate.
And for the first time, two women are in charge of the chambers: Republican President Pro Tempore Kim Ward in the state Senate, and Democratic Speaker Joanna McClinton in the state House.
But despite these gains, Pennsylvania still lags behind more than two dozen other states in terms of representation.
Read Spotlight PA's full report: Women have more power than ever in Pennsylvania’s legislature, but lawmakers say big hurdles remain.
THE CONTEXT: In their conversations with Spotlight PA, lawmakers and academics agreed that the number of women in Pennsylvania’s legislature has remained middling at least partly because the party apparatuses that identify and groom candidates for success still struggle to see women as viable candidates.
Of the eight current and former lawmakers who spoke to Spotlight PA for this story, only three were endorsed by their party when they first ran for office.
One academic also said a lack of confidence may have historically played a role in keeping women from running for office.
“Women felt like they had to be perfect to run for office,” said professor Kimberly Adams, who added that things seem to be changing: “I don’t see that anymore."
|NOTABLE / QUOTABLE|
"Recent developments are likely to result in tighter credit conditions for households and businesses and to weigh on economic activity, hiring, and inflation. The extent of these effects is uncertain."
—The Federal Reserve in a Wednesday statement announcing a 0.25% interest rate hike, bringing the benchmark to its highest level since 2007
|We're down to the wire of one of our most important fundraising drives of the year. Our investigative journalism gets results, and you won't get it from anyone else. But we cannot keep it up without your support.|
Thank you to the 332 people who have given so far during this campaign, including Carol D., who said, "Caliber of reporting is excellent!"
Join Carol & contribute now »
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|» UNEQUAL ELECTIONS: Join us and a panel of election experts on Thursday, March 30 from 6-7 p.m. on Zoom for a free discussion on unequal voting policies in the state, how they impact voters, and possible solutions. Register for the event here and submit questions to email@example.com.|
|Owl and owlet in Lancaster County, via Elliott C. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.|
|'IMPROPER RELEASE': Kevin Dellicker, who lost in the GOP primary race to challenge U.S. Rep. Susan Wild (D., Pa.) last year, is among the 2022 Republican congressional candidates identified as having had their U.S. Air Force records improperly released to a Democratic-aligned research firm, Politico reports. "This isn't going to go away quietly," U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Cali.) vowed.|
FAR-RIGHT RETURN: Spotlight PA's Wyatt Massey reports a conservative student group is looking to bring far-right personality Alex Stein back to Penn State University Park months after his appearance with Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes was canceled at the last minute due to clashes. Massey reports the group is eyeing the month of April and wants five officers for security.
'SUPERBUG' FUNGUS: A drug-resistant fungal infection that can cause severe illness in people with weakened immune systems is spreading in health care facilities nationwide, and Pennsylvania reported 33 cases through the end of last year. Researchers say cases more than tripled in the pandemic as overburdened hospitals shifted their focus away from disinfecting some other kinds of germs, per the AP.
FORCED TO RESIGN: A former state lawmaker has resigned her $69,360-a-year post on a commonwealth board after taking a job in the attorney general’s office earning $145,018 a year. PennLive (paywall) reports former GOP state Rep. Marguerite Quinn's resignation from the lower-paying unemployment compensation board seat was announced soon after the outlet inquired about the double duty.
HAZARD TRAVEL: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security makes it next to impossible to learn the what, where, and when of hazardous rail shipments through states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania, especially post-9/11, the New Jersey Monitor reports. In related news: Two Pennsylvania state reps plan to pursue stricter rail safety rules amid questions about the state's ability to do so.
STILL CONFLICTED: Gary Heidnik was the last person put to death in Pennsylvania. His crimes inspired The Silence of the Lambs. The sister of one of his victims has mixed feelings about his execution 24 years later.
NEW EAGLE ERA: Shapira family leadership of the Pittsburgh-based grocery chain Giant Eagle has ended, with the board removing longtime CEO Laura Shapira Karet "pursuant to her contract," WESA reports.
40-YEAR LOW: Philly is set to get its least experienced city council since 1983 following a wave of high-profile departures. The Inquirer (paywall) says whether that's good or bad depends largely on who you ask.
GOOD PHOOD: Eater Philly has a deep-dive on guava, peanuts, curry, and roti: "The flavors and techniques that bind together the city's most popular cuisines," from Puerto Rican to Malaysian cooking.
BUSY BEE: Once your March Madness jets have cooled, it's time to get ready for the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Kenzo Veron of Carlisle's Lamberton Middle School will rep central Pennsylvania in the May contest.
Unscramble and send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag. Answers submitted by 6 p.m. on issue date will be counted
Q G R N D L E U A N O I T
Yesterday's answer: Vermillion
Congrats to our daily winners: Craig W., Susan D., Elaine C., Eric F., Becky C., John P., Vicki U., Adrien M., Starr B., Barbara F., Kim C., Diane B., Jenette W., Michael P., Theresa T., Don H., Marty M., Lynne E., Michelle T., Jon W., Mike B., Judith D., Suzanne S., Ada M., Al M., Sarah B., Bruce Bi., Dianne K., Jane R., Carol S., Susan N.-Z., Daniel M., Richard A., Bruce Ba., John A., Stanley J., James B., Marc W., Dennis M., Kimberly D., Nancy S., Carolyn R., Johnny C., Frederick H., David W., Bill S., Wendy A., WIlliam Z., Joel S., and Ronnee G.