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Secretive group paid for Shapiro sports tix

Plus, Philly to host major Ozempic, Mounjaro legal fight.

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Friday, May 3, 2024
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Today: Ticket scrutiny, weight lawsuits, secret meetings, hydrogen hubs, subsidy vigil, SEPTA skeptics, and an inclusive new statue.

A nonprofit that does not disclose its donors paid more than $12,000 for Gov. Josh Shapiro to attend multiple sporting events last year, raising questions about who underwrites the outings and their interests in state policy.

The sports tickets also potentially violate the Democrat's ban on accepting gifts.

The nonprofit in question is Team PA, a Harrisburg-based public-private partnership that aims to bolster Pennsylvania's economic development. 

It's existed since the 90s and previous governors have tapped it for money, but government ethics experts are skeptical of the arrangement and Team PA's opacity.

Read the full report: Group that doesn’t disclose its donors paid $12K for Shapiro to attend Phillies games, other sporting events

Support Spotlight PA's unmatched election reporting that puts voters first.
“The First Amendment comes from here, this is Philadelphia, we don’t have to do stupid like they did at Columbia.”

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner discussing safety at the Gaza Solidarity Encampment at UPenn; schools like Columbia have seen clashes between protestors, counter-protestors, and police in recent weeks.
Dogwood trees in Pittsburgh, via Theresa CSend us your photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania
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Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.
GOING GREEN: Projects in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey will receive $750 million from the federal government to help produce “clean hydrogen” at commercial scale, part of a huge national investment in “hydrogen hubs.” But StateImpact reports some scientists, including a UPenn physicist, argue “green hydrogen” has safety and logistics issues that undermine its desired environmental benefits.
Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.
DATA SETTLEMENT: A staffing firm that did COVID-19 contact tracing for Pennsylvania will pay $2.7 million for failing to protect the private medical information of about 72,000 people, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday. The AP reports a federal whistleblower alleged the company was aware of its lack of cybersecurity safeguards when signing its contract with the commonwealth. 
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.COST CLIFF: Households enrolled in a federal broadband subsidy program could soon pay higher internet bills if Congress does not approve more funding to sustain it, the AP reports. Some lawmakers and advocates pleaded on Tuesday to extend the Affordable Connectivity Program at a Washington, D.C., public library. The program’s end could also impact Pennsylvania’s efforts to expand high-speed internet access, Spotlight PA reported last month.
TToday's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.RANSIT FUNDING: Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro’s budget proposal would dedicate $282 million in funding to public transit, and has support from activists and lawmakers. But the proposal’s SEPTA focus has opponents saying taxpayers across the state should not have to fund a regional issue — although Philadelphia has one of the nation’s largest public transit systems. WSKG reports revenue has dropped for public transit since the pandemic.
Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.
WEIGHT CASE: A legal battle over weight-loss drugs will unfold in a Philadelphia courtroom. The Inquirer (paywall) reports dozens of patients from across the country are suing Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly for not properly warning of the potential side effects of popular weight-loss and diabetes drugs. One Pennsylvania woman said she experienced stomach cramps and vomiting after starting a medication, and was later diagnosed with a stomach disorder.
🗞️ KNOW YOUR NEWS? Prove it with this week's Great PA News Quiz: college protests, MLB ‘fiasco,’ and an Obama-era loophole lingers.
CLOSED DOORS: The York Dispatch obtained emails documenting secret meetings being coordinated between school board members from 12 York County districts and a far-right political action committee.
NO REPORT: Federal Railroad Administration officials concluded a sinkhole caused the Whitemarsh train derailment, but because the agency did a “limited scope investigation,” there will be no final report.
FEMA FRAUD: A Montgomery County woman faces a maximum possible sentence of 960 years in prison after being accused of stealing $1.5 million of federal Hurricane Ida disaster benefits from FEMA, NBC10 reports.
PRODIGAL QUAIL: Wild northern bobwhite quail are making a comeback in Pennsylvania after being reintroduced in Franklin County. Due to poor habitat conditions, “they have been extirpated from Pennsylvania since the 1990s,” the Erie Times-News writes. 
FIRST KIND: Pittsburgh has erected its first public statue depicting a woman of color. Named Flora, the artwork features a Black girl holding a rabbit.
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