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Shapiro takes state plane more than predecessor

Plus, a state agency investigates unexplained aerial phenomena.

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Monday, May 6, 2024
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Today: Flight costs, SCOTUS watch, campus campaigners, steel stop, panel push, AIPAC funding, and Bradford County baseballs.
Pennsylvania’s state-owned plane cost taxpayers $410,000 last year as it flew Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro and other state officials.
In his first year in office, Shapiro surpassed his predecessor Tom Wolf’s busiest air travel year, with $270,000 in fuel, maintenance, and personnel expenses during almost 150 hours of flight time.
Shapiro’s administration, as well as former executive branch staffers, argue the trips help connect communities with their government officials.
But government watchdogs think Shapiro could find more cost-efficient ways to do that.

Read the full report: Gov. Josh Shapiro uses Pennsylvania’s state plane much more than his predecessor
Support Spotlight PA's unmatched election reporting that puts voters first.
“We have much bigger issues than people that are illegally camping in the woods and living out here because of mental health issues, or they lost their jobs.”

Borough of Pottstown Mayor Stephanie Henrick on a U.S. Supreme Court case that could criminalize homelessness across the country, including Pennsylvania
Bottlebrushes in Northumberland County, via Penny W.  Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania
a white fluffy plant with green leaves in the background
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.
PROTEST EFFECT: Student protests over the Israel-Hamas war are affecting U.S. Senate contests across the nation, including in Pennsylvania, the AP reports. Republican candidate Dave McCormick, who made an appearance at the UPenn last week, said the protests test the “leadership and moral courage” of elected officials like President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.).
Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.
DELAYED DEAL: Nippon Steel has pushed back its closing date for acquiring Pittsburgh-based U.S Steel, The Hill reports. The Japanese company will postpone the deal by three months to handle Department of Justice requests for additional information and documents. The announcement comes after U.S. Steel shareholders approved the purchase last month despite opposition from the Biden administration, steelworkers, and congressional lawmakers.
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
SOLAR GRANT: Pennsylvania will get $156 million in federal aid to build more solar panels on homes in low-income and polluted communities, the Bay Journal reports. The funding is part of $7 billion in grant awards shared by states in the Solar for All program created by the Biden administration. The solar panels will help limit reliance on fossil fuels and are expected to lower residents’ electric bills. 

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.BETTER ODDS: A spokesperson for Gov. Shapiro said the Biden administration’s move to reclassify cannabis helps bolster Pennsylvania’s efforts to legalize the drug, Marijuana Moments reports. Shapiro expressed support for legalizing recreational marijuana as part of his budget pitch in February. Five out of the six states bordering Pennsylvania already regulate marijuana for adult use
FUToday's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.NDING PULLED:  U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (R., Pa.) is one of 15 Republican lawmakers that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has pulled campaign funding from for voting against $14 billion in military assistance to Israel, PoliticsPA reports. The lobby donated $5,000 to his campaign last month before halting funds. It is unclear if the move is temporary. 
🗞️ KNOW YOUR NEWS? Prove it with this week's Great PA News Quiz: college protests, MLB ‘fiasco,’ and an Obama-era loophole lingers.
MISSING MONEY: Westmoreland County district attorney’s office has launched a criminal investigation of a state attorney general's office in North Huntingdon following $100,000 in drug forfeiture money going missing.
LOOK UP: The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency has investigated more than a dozen UFO incidents since 2013, according to documents obtained by the Capital-Star. 
MARATHON MESSAGE: A Bensalem Township native is raising awareness about human trafficking by being the first person to run across the country wearing a weighted vest.
COW HIDES: A sizable amount of MLB baseballs come from a Bradford County beef-processing plant that sources local dairy cows. 
JUMP IN: In honor of a local group that offers double Dutch lessons, Philadelphia has declared first Saturdays in May “Philly Double Dutch Day.”
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