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Mastriano vs. Shapiro on Medicaid, opioids, abortion

Plus, how climate change will test Pa.'s power grid.


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA

Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
October 14, 2022
Health 2022, ballot guidance, election denial, fallout reports, storm damage, cameo credits, and the 'secret life' of Art Rooney. It's Friday.

The coronavirus pandemic and abortion rights have in many ways dominated the conversation surrounding the race for governor between the leading candidates: Democrat Josh Shapiro and Republican Doug Mastriano. 

But the next person to hold the office will have influence or direct control over many other issues affecting health care in Pennsylvania — from who qualifies for an insurance program serving millions of low-income residents to how the state responds to an opioid crisis killing thousands of people each year. 

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Where Mastriano, Shapiro stand on the opioid epidemic, medical marijuana, and other health issues.

THE CONTEXT: The number of people enrolled in Pennsylvania's Medicaid program skyrocketed during the pandemic, and enrollment now exceeds 3.5 million, recent figures show.

The next governor could exercise power over the program in many ways — sometimes by signing or blocking legislation, and other times by controlling how the program works on a day-to-day basis or who qualifies for it.  

They will also govern a state that has for years had one of the highest drug overdose death rates in the country and hold the power to sign or reject bills regarding abortion and cannabis.


"Nobody's going to jail over this, put it that way."

—Lt. Tyler Moyer, spokesperson for the Tredyffrin police in Chester County, on a stash of stolen Democratic political signs found via Apple AirTag
Read our complete coverage, plus key dates, campaign finance data, sample ballots & more at our Election Center 2022 website.

Spotlight on the Issues: Where Mastriano and Shapiro stand on:

»  College Funding & Student Debt
»  Energy & Environment
»  Crime & Justice
»  LGTBQ Rights
»  Abortion, Medicaid, & Opioids

More issue analyses will be published in the coming weeks. 

A complete listing of Spotlight PA voter guides:  

»  Everything you need to know about mail ballots
»  Your complete guide to the candidates for governor
»  How to vet the candidates on your midterm ballot
»  No constitutional amendments on the ballot, but big ones loom
»  How to serve as a poll worker on Nov. 8
»  These Pa. voters haven't missed a Nov. election for 50+ years
»  How Spotlight PA will cover Pennsylvania's 2022 election

En Español:

»  Una guía básica para investigar a los candidatos
»  Cómo trabajar como trabajador electoral el 8 de noviembre
»  Todo lo que necesita saber para votar por correo
»  Su guía completa de los candidatos a gobernador

Support Spotlight PA's vital election coverage by making a gift now.
» BILLY PENN: How Pa. agencies are reaching out to Latino voters
» INQUIRER: Why Shapiro's campaign is worth watching (paywall)
» POLITICO: Quants vs. the forecasters in the U.S. Senate race
» VOX: How the Pennsylvania Senate race got so close
» WAPO: Captions used by Fetterman common after strokes (paywall)
» WHYY: Where Mastriano, Shapiro stand on raising the minimum wage

» GOVERNOR'S GUIDE LIVE: On Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. via Zoom, Spotlight PA is hosting a free panel on who the candidates for governor are and how their administrations would impact you. Register for the event here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org

The Pennsylvania Wilds, as seen by yours truly. Send us your photos and art, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
BALLOT REQUEST: GOP leaders in the state House want undated mail ballots from the Nov. 8 election to be segregated due to the "high likelihood of new litigation" after this week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling. State election officials say the ruling didn't change anything. They've told counties to treat the ballots as normal. GOP leaders want that guidance updated. Best bet: Sign and date yours.

FULL DENIAL: Election denial is on the ballot this Nov. 8. City & State lists the Pennsylvania midterm candidates who have fully denied the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election. They include congressional enablers of Trump's meddling and Republican Doug Mastriano, who, if elected governor, would get to appoint the next secretary of state, aka Pennsylvania's chief election official.

MANDATORY REPORTS: In the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Pennsylvania lawmakers broadened the number of professionals who are required to report suspected child abuse. But ProPublica and NBC News found that while the change was meant to stop severe abuse, it has strained the child welfare system and led to more unsubstantiated reports against poor families.

STORM WARNING: Last year saw a record high number of power outages across Pennsylvania, all of them caused by severe weather. The Post-Gazette (paywall) reports the state's own assessments note that storm activity appears to be the greatest challenge to the reliability and resilience of the state's electric grid, as severe weather fueled by climate change grows more and more intense. 

MOVIE MONEY: Pennsylvania tourism officials love to tout the state's many cameos in feature films and TV shows — from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia and beyond. But with the state shelling out up to $60 million a year in tax credits to lure movie and television productions here, PublicSource decided to look into the tax credit program and found several problems right off the bat.

FIRST-PERSON: Jeffrey Shockley is serving life without parole in Pennsylvania, what he calls "death by incarceration." His essay for PublicSource covers clemency and "the point of jails and prisons."

SECRET LIFE: The Post-Gazette (paywall) reports that FBI records reveal new details about how former Steelers founder Art Rooney made his fortune, uncovering the sports legend's "secret life in the rackets." 

FRESCO FILE: The Sistine Chapel has come to the Ross Park Mall near Pittsburgh. City Paper reports a JCPenney is now housing recreations of some of Michelangelo's most famous works, with selfies in mind.

MALL SKATE: A new, 7,000-square-foot roller-skating rink is set to open in Johnstown's Galleria mall in December. WTAJ reports a social media poll sealed the deal. Admission is currently set for $6 per person.

FUNNY TOWN: A New York comedian wants other comedians to join her in Williamsport for a residency geared toward "the 51% of the population historically branded as 'not funny,'" The Inquirer (paywall) reports.

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 6 p.m. on issue date will be counted.

Yesterday's answer: Publicity

Congrats to our daily winners: Michelle T., Irene R., Ted W., Craig W., Starr B., Judith D., Joel S., Don H., Theresa T., Mark O., Susan N.-Z., Patricia M., Kevin M., Marty M., Wendy A., Steve D., Moon M., Stanley J., btfoos, John B., John A., Jill K., George S., Eddy Z., Fred O., Daniel M., Fred H., Mike B., Rebecca S., Susan D., Bill S., Kim C., Anne B., Elaine C., Cameron T., Tish M., Jane R., Becky C., Dianne K., Jessica C., John P., Kimberly D., and John F.
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