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Shapiro will appeal ruling on key climate program

Plus, court orders Pa. to release marijuana doctor data.

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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

Wednesday, November 22, 2023
In today's edition: On appeal, police pick, marijuana doctors, intelligent design, city encampments, checkered past, and solo Thanksgiving.
GIVE THANKS, GET 2X: To kick off the Season of Giving, all gifts in support of Spotlight PA's vital journalism will be DOUBLED. Show your support and give thanks for the tireless work of our reporters by making a tax-deductible gift now »

Gov. Josh Shapiro’s office said Tuesday that it has appealed two Commonwealth Court decisions that struck down Pennsylvania’s participation in an interstate program to reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change.

The Democrat has been unwilling to commit to keeping Pennsylvania in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and the administration made it clear that the appeal is not a pledge to do so.

The state Supreme Court must take up the appeal.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Gov. Josh Shapiro will appeal decision that struck down key climate program to Pa.’s highest court

THE CONTEXT: RGGI has been under fire since former Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf announced his intention to join the program via executive order in 2019.

Republican lawmakers argued that the move was an overreach of executive power, and have said they believe RGGI will make Pennsylvania less competitive as an energy producer.

Should the Shapiro administration win the appeal, it is unclear whether the governor will maintain the commonwealth’s membership in RGGI.

Asked about these plans, spokesperson Manuel Bonder told Spotlight PA, “I won’t get into hypotheticals on that just yet.” 


"Such an unauthorized invasion of bodily autonomy can be incredibly traumatizing for both patients and medical students."

State Sen. Maria Collett (D., Montgomery) on pelvic, prostate, or rectal exams performed on anesthetized patients; Pennsylvania's newest state law requires specific, written permission from patients before that happens

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Trees below the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, courtesy of Daniel S. Have. a photo to share with the whole state? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
Crimson-colored trees frame a building atop a hill in the distance.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.PARKER'S PICK: The current head of security for the School District of Philadelphia is now set to become the city's next police commissioner. Billy Penn, citing multiple outlets, reports Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker will name Kevin Bethel, a former deputy PPD commissioner, as her choice to lead the city's force, the largest in the state. A formal announcement was set for 10 this morning.
  • RELATED: Philadelphia City Hall is distancing itself from its 3rd annual Palestinian solidarity day next week, via The Inquirer (paywall)
Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.DATA DECISION: A Commonwealth Court judge has ordered Pennsylvania’s health department to release information about medical marijuana certifications issued by individual doctors statewide, data that could help identify outliers who might be bending or breaking the rules. The decision likely concludes an open records dispute in which the agency sued Spotlight PA to keep the information secret.

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.AI HIGHWAYS: Pennsylvania is at the forefront of a movement to integrate artificial intelligence into road and bridge repairs. The New York Times (paywall) reports some experts are waving the caution flag. The paper says AI can help build more resilient projects for less money. But some experts fear there could be side effects from turning to such nascent technology in the race to update ancient infrastructure.

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.CITY-SANCTIONED: Homelessness is up in Allegheny County, perhaps most visibly in Pittsburgh, where local officials are weighing a plan to create city-sanctioned encampments with electricity, running water, and trash removal. TribLIVE reports the legislation, introduced this week, limits the encampments to no more than 50 residents at once. Nonprofits would be allowed to manage the sites. The locations are TBD.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.MIDWIFE ALARMS: Midwife Karen Carr drew scrutiny in Pennsylvania following a 2003 home birth that ended with the mother getting a C-section in a hospital. Carr was investigated for practicing nurse midwifery without a license, but Pennsylvania dropped the case. Now, WaPo (paywall) reports Carr has been linked to a string of home births gone wrong in several states, some with devastating results.
SOLO HOLIDAY: PublicSource asked its readers what's it like to spend Thanksgiving alone and says: The stories we received ranged from bittersweet to nostalgic, gleeful to devastating. Read them for yourself here.

VP DEBATE: Lafayette College in Easton will host the only vice presidential debate of the 2024 election. It's set for Sept. 25, 2024.

MONEYBALL: Pennsylvania's Treasury and Good Morning America went to a football game in Royersford to find the owners of unclaimed billions.

SEPTA STRIKE? SEPTA conductors and engineers authorized a strike on Tuesday, following the system's police force. Talks continue.

$1.8M LISTING: A Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired, wedge-shaped home that overlooks woods with walls of glass is for sale in Monroe County.
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