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More claims of drug discrimination by Pa. courts

Plus, an update on deleted State Police records.

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

Thursday, January 25, 2024
Today: medication bans, data recovery, DA's cannabis case, 2024 endorsements, PSU budget cuts, and a tea storm is brewing.
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The U.S. Department of Justice is accusing more Pennsylvania courts of discriminating against people with opioid use disorder by restricting access to legitimate addiction medications like buprenorphine and methadone.

The outcome of a related court case — which directly involves the state Supreme Court, as well as Blair, Jefferson, Lackawanna, and Northumberland County court systems as defendants — could have major implications across the state for people with opioid addiction and open criminal cases.

Ed Mahon reports court documents show both sides appear close to finalizing a settlement agreement. The case was brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which covers opioid use disorder.

Read Spotlight PA's full coverage: Justice Department expands claims against Pa. courts in opioid addiction treatment case.


"A lot of parents have already made contingency plans, looking at Michigan and Pennsylvania. Some will move out. It's tragic."

—Parent Rick Colby on the impacts of Ohio banning gender-affirming care for minors; lawmakers overrode a gubernatorial veto Wednesday
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RICHEST LITTLE CITY: Join us TODAY from 6-7:15 p.m. on Zoom for a free panel on the corruption case rocking this small Pennsylvania city and how local government can protect against wrongdoing. Register for the event here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org

Ice on the Allegheny River and snow on the baseball diamond in Pittsburgh, via the postmaster's better half, Katie W. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

A shot from a tall building showing hills in the distance and an icy river and baseball field in the foreground.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.DELETED DATA: A State Police official told law enforcement agencies that some crime lab records inadvertently deleted from a server by the Shapiro administration "will no longer be accessible," per Spotlight PA. Officials say some prosecutions could be impacted.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.2A LAWSUIT: Warren County's outgoing Republican district attorney is a medical marijuana patient who's suing federal agencies because he cannot have guns and a medical marijuana card. DA Rob Greene says the rule violates his constitutional rights.
  • RELATED: Advisory board backs letting nurses prescribe medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, via @edmahonreporter.
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.PARTY BACKING: Lancaster County GOP officials are rallying around incumbents and backing state House Minority Leader Bryan Cutler over his primary challenger, via LNP (paywall). Elsewhere: the state GOP wants York County DA Dave Sunday for attorney general.
  • RELATED: State rep. and auditor general candidate Malcolm Kenyatta 'first PA candidate to qualify for 2024 ballot,' via WHTM.
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.
PSU BUDGET CUTS: Penn State is planning nearly $100 million in budget cuts at its main and branch campuses in 2025-2026 amid a financial deficit, per StateCollege.com. The school has not yet indicated if the reductions are expected to result in job losses.
  • RELATED: Critics worried about PASSHE's 'continuing woes' during a decade of change, via the Center Square.
Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.'NO RECORDS': What was former Central Bucks School District Superintendent Abram Lucabaugh doing to earn $1,000 a day as a district consultant following his abrupt exit and $700,000 severance deal? The Courier Times (paywall) found no paper trail
EMERGENCY OUTAGE: Computerized 911 dispatch services remained out in Bucks County on Wednesday following a cyberattack. Officials say response times have not suffered. Phones and radios are filling the void.

STATE SUPPORT: On the heels of a purported Iranian-linked cyberattack on Aliquippa's water authority, state GOP lawmakers want to form a state cybersecurity task force and more, via WTAJ.

TEA FIGHT: The AP reports a Bryn Mawr College chemistry professor has angered seemingly all of Britain. How? By suggesting a pinch of salt for perfect tea in a book on the science behind the ancient beverage.

BEAUTIFUL BIRD: Philly Voice has photos of the rare and remarkable painted bunting bird causing a stir in Bartram's Garden.

WORK FROM HOME: The house at 257 Oakland Ave. in Pittsburgh isn't just any house. It's a laboratory for growing old at home, WESA reports.
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