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Secret talks on Penn State's $700M stadium overhaul

Plus, Biden visits Philly to rally Black voters.

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The logo of PA Post, a free daily newsletter delivering the top news from across Pennsylvania every day.

A daily newsletter by The logo of Spotlight PA, an independent, nonpartisan newsroom producing investigative journalism for Pennsylvania.
Your Postmaster: Tanisha Thomas

Friday, May 31, 2024
Today: Secret meetings, new suit, AI tracker, Biden rally, and the possible return of Pennsylvania's poet laureate. Thanks for checking in.
Penn State's Board of Trustees deliberated the $700 million Beaver Stadium renovation plan in private — a potential violation of the state’s open meetings law.
The board approved the project May 21 after what chair Matthew Schuyler said was an executive session “to review and discuss elements” of the project that “if conducted in public would lead to the disclosure of information or confidentiality protected by law.”
The move has raised familiar transparency concerns.
Melissa Melewsky — media law counsel for the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, of which Spotlight PA is a member — was skeptical that the Sunshine Act’s executive session exceptions, or other laws mandating confidentiality, would require trustees to deliberate the entire renovation plan in private.
“They are treating the transparency elements of the Sunshine Act as a mere formality,” she added.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Penn State trustees deliberated on $700M Beaver Stadium renovations in private meetings, according to the board chair.
"I think it does matter at the margins, and the margins are where it matters."

—Alison Dagnes, a political science professor at Shippensburg University, on Thursday's guilty verdict in the hush-money trial of former President Donald Trump; Pennsylvania lawmakers and candidates offered reactions
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Spotlight PA will soon launch a new weekly newsletter focused on caregiving and caregivers across Pennsylvania. Every Tuesday, "How We Care" will feature original reporting and perspectives on how we care for one another at all stages of life, the huge economic and policy questions ahead, and how it's affecting the lives of millions of people across the state. You can sign up for How We Care here.
A sora bird feeding her chick at Middle Creek in Lancaster County, via Elliott C. Have a photo of your own to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania
A brown waterbird feeds her baby chick behind dead plant stems
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.LAWSUIT ODDS: A state-level lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania’s mail-ballot dating rule may have a chance at succeeding where a federal effort failed, Spotlight PA and Votebeat report. An attorney at the Public Interest Law Center, one of several organizations representing the plaintiffs, said state courts have previously overridden technical Election Code requirements in interpreting the state constitution’s “free and equal elections” clause, a centerpiece of this challenge. If successful, this suit could set a statewide standard.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.
AI ELECTION: Warnings about the impact of artificial Intelligence on this election continue, and WIRED rounded up examples of how the technology is already being deployed in campaigns in America and around the world. In Pennsylvania, lawmakers are weighing related bills, including one that would penalize artificially generated impersonations of candidates for federal, state, and local offices with fines of up to $250,000, $50,000, and $15,000, respectively.
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
BLOC BLITZ: President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris visited Girard College in Philadelphia this week to rally Black voters amid warnings from fellow Democrats and recent polls about slippage with the crucial demographic, Politico reports. The visit was Biden’s fifth to Philadelphia and seventh overall this year in Pennsylvania, but Politico says the payoff isn’t evident yet. Pennsylvania is a must-win state, and Black voters helped deliver it for Biden last time.
  • Haley's PA voters not ready to line up behind Trump, via CNN.
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.
PRIDE PAC: Former state Rep. Brian Sims (D., Philadelphia) is now the senior adviser for Agenda PAC, which has launched a pro-LGBTQ campaign — coinciding with Pride month — against GOP incumbents in districts seen as winnable for Democrats. The list includes two Republican state reps. in Pennsylvania, Valerie Gaydos (Allegheny) and Joe Emrick (Northampton), both of whom supported banning transgender girls and women in school sports, per The Advocate.
Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.
RAIN RESTITUTION: Chester “rain tax” board members may have to repay eight years of salaries, potentially worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, that the city’s bankruptcy receiver says may have been made illegally to the stormwater officials, The Inquirer (paywall) reports. The receiver’s office says the state requires the salaries be approved by City Council but adds it found no evidence that happened there.
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🤔 NEXT QUESTION: Are you on top of the news? Prove it with the latest edition of the Great PA News Quiz: Shapiro’s RV road trip, pronatalist politics, and ‘monopoly’ money.
PSU VERDICT: A Dauphin County jury has awarded $5.25 million to a former Penn State football doctor who said he was wrongly terminated because he wouldn't let head coach James Franklin interfere with medical decisions concerning players, PennLive reports.
OFFICIAL POSITION: State Rep. Bob Freeman (D., Northampton) wants to re-establish a Poet Laureate position in Pennsylvania, The Center Square reports. Gov. Ed Rendell terminated the position after taking office in 2003. Only a handful of states don’t have one.
NEW HOME: A Navy vet gave a tour of his new home in Harrisburg to a White House official on Tuesday. "I don't know what heaven feels like yet, but it's close," Iraq War veteran Damon Taylor said. Harrisburg's Affordable Housing initiative and the American Rescue Plan helped.

SWEDE SKATE: Philly’s most famous skate spot is back but across the ocean. Skaters are flying out to experience a re-creation of LOVE Park in Sweden this Saturday. The build used original blueprints and materials salvaged from the demolished Center City location.
PRESERVATION AWARDS: Nominations are open for this year’s Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Awards now through June 18. 
Spotlight PA's exclusive "All Sun, No Shade" beach towel, on sale now

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 >
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.
H Y M P N Y O S 

Yesterday's answer: Flashback or Halfbacks

Congrats to our daily winners: Ada M., Vicki U., Elaine C., Bob C., Eric F., Jane R., Beth T., Kimberly D., Julie K., Barbara F., Benjamin M., Judith D., Don H., Jon W., Jody A., Stacy S., Ellen G., Ted W., Richard A., Lynne E., Timothy A., Connie O., Beth H., Marc G., Jimmy E., Perry H., Stanley J., Eddy Z., Leann T., Amelia M., Susan N., John P., Sally H., Tish M., Jeffrey F., Keith F., Alan B., Wendy A., Annette I., Tom M., Craig E., William Z., Dan A., Dana D., Leslie B., Karen W., Michael T., Daniel S., and Marie B.
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