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Subpoenas urged for Rep. Kelly in ethics inquiry

Plus, the fight for and against Pa. recovery home rules.


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA
Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
October 25, 2021
Home rules, ethics inquiry, 'The Great Resignation,' explosive allegations, strike wave, PSERS privacy, and a voter fraud bounty backfires. It's Monday.

"His failure to coalesce party officials or party activists behind him is not a good sign. That should have happened already." 

—An unnamed Republican operative on the personal issues clouding Sean Parnell's Trump-backed bid for U.S. senator from Pennsylvania
» A COMPLETE GUIDE to the Nov. 2 election in Pennsylvania, including how to find your polling place, mail ballot details, who's on the ballot, and more.

» A SPECIAL GUIDE to who's running in the state Supreme Court election and other significant appellate court races

» A BASIC GUIDE to vetting your local candidates in Pennsylvania's 2021 school board elections, which are receiving renewed attention this year.

» A FREE PANEL on the election and why it matters — watch it here.

If you value these voter resources, please make a tax-deductible contribution to Spotlight PA so we can keep them free and available to all every election season.
» STUDY GROUP: Research by Pfizer shows its COVID-19 vaccine is nearly 91% effective at preventing symptomatic infections in 5- to 11-year-olds.

» BREAKTHROUGH CASE: U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson (R., Bellefonte) was hospitalized with a breakthrough infection and is now working from home.

» BOOSTER SHOTS: The CDC has expanded booster shot eligibility and endorsed mixing and matching different brands as an option.

To find a COVID-19 vaccine, use the federal government's online tool, call 1-800-232-0233, or text your zip code to 438829 (GETVAX).
Looks like fall has fallen in Ole Bull State Park, high atop the northern tier in Potter County. Thanks for sharing, Paul K.! Send us your gems, use the hashtag #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
ETHICS INQUIRY: There is "substantial reason to believe" that the wife of U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R., Butler) used insider information gained through his congressional position to make a well-timed and profitable stock purchase, an ethics watchdog has concluded. Subpoenas have been recommended for both Kelly and his wife, per the AP.

MASS RESIGNATIONS: Pennsylvania workers quit their jobs roughly 120,000 times in August, up from 90,000 during the same month last year, The Inquirer reports. It's all happening amid a nationwide wave of job resignations that experts say is being fed by a host of factors — pandemic-related "hamster wheel" epiphanies among them.

DROPPED CALLS: A federal lawsuit alleges two people died in a fire because a Lehigh County 911 dispatcher did not understand their pleas for help in Spanish and hung up. The lawsuit, filed by former 911 center employees, includes a host of "explosive allegations," per the Morning Call. The county says the claims are "categorically false."

STRIKE VOTE: Five thousand workers for Pennsylvania's largest public transportation system, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), have authorized a possible strike with their contract set to expire in a matter of days. A strike isn't guaranteed to happen, but the option is approved should negotiations break down, 6ABC reports. 

IN SECRET: Pennsylvania's largest pension fund is keeping communications about a lingering scandal private with help from public records laws. Public School Employees' Retirement System officials say their exchanges are exempt from disclosure rules and an arbiter agreed. Spotlight PA and The Inquirer found others condemning the secrecy.
FRAUD FIND: A progressive Pennsylvania poll worker who reported illegal voting by a Republican in 2020 has claimed a $25,000 reward, Daily Local reports — the first and lowest-possible payout in a backfiring search for fraud launched by Texas' pro-Trump lieutenant governor.

MEDICAL VALUE: Capital-Star reports a "rare show of cross-party support" is behind a legislative push to let Pennsylvania researchers study the potential health benefits of psilocybin — the active ingredient in magic mushrooms. Recode says "psychedelic startups" are ready and waiting.

TIL: There are seven states where atheists are barred from holding public office and one — Pennsylvania — where ballot access is only expressly protected for those who believe. The New York Times reported in 2014 that the rules were still on the books despite being rendered unenforceable.

RADIO WAVES: A Washington Post piece about Garrison Keillor's attempted comeback after his #MeToo downfall is set in Sellersville, where the storyteller, humorist, and former "A Prairie Home Companion" host recently told a crowd: "I have no regrets. It's all amusing at this point."

STREET SCENE: It's been two years since a downtown Pittsburgh street swallowed up a city bus. To celebrate, a local botanical garden recreated the scene in miniature for a new exhibit, Pittsburgh Magazine 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.

*This week's theme:
 Food and drink
Friday's answer: Procrastinate

Congrats to our weekly winner: Mary Kay M.

Congrats to our daily winners: Mike B., Susan N., Jill M., George S., Neal W., Don H., Beth T., Susan F., Elaine C., Susan D., Bridget C., John F., James B., Becky C., Irene R., Tim B., Dianne K., Jay M., Craig E., David W., Leisha J., Joel S., Elizabeth W., and Kyle C.
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