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Private PSERS, executive power, landmark trial, traffic block, growing alarm, farmer shortage, and a Pennsylvania worker revolt. It's Wednesday, welcome.
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» VACCINE MANDATE: Whistleblowers will play a key role in enforcing President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees, the AP reports. The mandate is currently under legal review.
» SCHOOL MASKS: The anticipated end of a statewide school mask rule on Jan. 17 will leave the future of school masking up to local districts. Some are ready to move on, TribLIVE reports, while others are weighing the options.
» EMPLOYEE POLICY: Philadelphia quietly rolled out a vaccine mandate for about 4,000 non-union employees last month, pushing the city closer to a universal mandate for its workers, Billy Penn reports.
» CANNABIS CONUNDRUM: Join us Thursday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. EST via Zoom for a free Q&A on cannabis as a treatment for opioid use disorder, the debate in the medical community, and a look at what the research says. Register here and submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Hiawatha Paddlewheel Riverboat docked on the Susquehanna River West Branch at Williamsport. Thanks for sharing, Don H.! Send us your gems, use the hashtag #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
POWER CHECK: The top Republican in the state House is backing state constitutional amendments that would significantly limit a governor's power to issue regulations or administrative orders, all amid sustained wrangling over coronavirus rules. If the measure is twice approved by both chambers, voters would get final say over the changes, per Spotlight PA.
FUNDING FIGHT: A landmark trial that could fundamentally alter how Pennsylvania funds its public schools is set to start Friday, seven years after first being filed. WHYY explains the respective arguments and the constitutional claim at the center of the suit, which the station calls "one of the most complicated and consequential in state history."
EMPTY POSTS: The Inquirer recently looked at staffing levels inside Philadelphia prisons and found 40% of posts unfilled, stabbings that went unnoticed, and a growing sense of alarm. At least 21 people have died in Philadelphia jails during the pandemic, including five by homicide and four by suicide. Staff also say riots have grown more common.
FARM WORK: Researchers say there won't be enough skilled and migrant workers to fill the gap as Pennsylvania's farmers age out of the profession, presenting an acute dilemma for the state's crucial agriculture industry. WESA reports more than half of people who run Pennsylvania's farms were aged 55 or older in 2017.
Correction: Tuesday's edition incorrectly identified state Rep. Mike Sturla (D., Lancaster) as a member of the U.S. House.
IN OTHER NEWS
BOOM TIMES: Manheim Township is trying to rein in recreational fireworks by only permitting their use seven days a year, WGAL reports. A groundswell of complaints followed the state's legalization of a wide array of consumer-grade fireworks in 2017 — a move some lawmakers are pushing to undo.
WORKER REVOLT: A Washington Post piece about a nationwide wave of worker rebellions begins at a McDonald's in Bradford, where employees — sensing "they finally had a little power" — walked off the job in September.
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