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Powerful groups sink millions into Pa. court race

Plus, how Pa. routes money for people in poverty to an anti-abortion entity.


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA
Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
October 26, 2021
Supreme spending, redistricting race, crisis count, wage watch, peddle pushers, funding channels, and a very sarcastic letter to the editor. It's Tuesday.

"Everyone tried to hold onto hope. At 4:37, it was over."

—An unnamed worker at DBi Services in Hazleton, which closed suddenly last week, leaving 1,500 people nationwide without jobs
» 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.
» CHILD-SIZED: Moderna says a low dose of its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and appears to work in 6- to 11-year-olds, the Associated Press reports. 

» DUE DATE: Pfizer's vaccine for 5 -to 11-year-olds is closer to earning regulatory approval and could roll out in a matter of weeks, CNN reports.

» SUPPLY CHAIN: The White House's plan to vaccinate 28 million children ages 5-11 will enlist pediatricians, local pharmacies, and schools, per CBS.

» SURVEY SAYS: LendingTree pulled U.S. Census Bureau survey data on vaccine hesitancy and says government mistrust is high in Pennsylvania but lower than it was before.

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).
A posing friend spotted on the Shikellamy Overlook above both branches of the Susquehanna River. Thanks, Don H.! Send us your gems, use the hashtag #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
MAP TIME: The Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission has approved data that will be used to draw 253 state legislative districts, Capital-Star reports, meaning mapmakers have just under three months to produce their first drafts. Spotlight PA has looks at how we got here, what's at stake, and who's doing the state-level drawing.

EXPOSED: Data collected in neighboring West Virginia show rapid growth in the number of Pennsylvania babies exposed to drugs during pregnancy. Unlike Pennsylvania, West Virginia tracks substance-exposed births in real time, and the Post-Gazette found the number coming across the Pennsylvania border has jumped in recent years.

BASE PAY: Pennsylvania employers looking to collect valuable state grants or tax breaks will have to pay workers at least $13.50 an hour to do so under a new executive order issued by Gov. Tom Wolf, the AP reports. Wolf's perennial push to raise the state's "embarrassingly low" minimum wage continues to encounter legislative resistance.

GIFT GAB: Lawmakers in the state House have unanimously advanced a bill limiting lobbyist influence via new restrictions on the gifts they give to lawmakers, City & State reports. The bill caps gifts from lobbyists at $250 a year and bans others outright, but City & State reports calls for a total prohibition continue. Pennsylvania remains an outlier on this front.

FUND FUNNEL: Pennsylvania is one of 14 states that directly fund the anti-abortion movement, sometimes with money diverted from cash assistance for people in poverty, The Inquirer reports. The state has allocated tens of millions of dollars to a Harrisburg nonprofit that funnels money into crisis pregnancy centers with anti-abortion agendas.

Editor's note: Monday's PA Post included coverage of Pennsylvania's contribution to a national wave of job resignations. While Pennsylvania's "quit rate" did grow in August, it was still the lowest of any state, per WESA.
SOCIAL STATUS: Twitter has suspended the official account of U.S. Rep. Jim Banks (R., Ind.), who intentionally misgendered former Pennsylvania health secretary and transgender federal official Dr. Rachel Levine, Axios reports. 

DISASTER RELIEF: Turned down for Hurricane Ida relief? You have 60 days to appeal the decision. First: Read the determination letter carefully to see why you were denied and if any fixes are outlined, Pottstown Mercury reports.

CAR TALK: Commuters with thoughts on the potential tolling of the I-83 South Bridge over the Susquehanna at Harrisburg can submit comments online (scroll down) and attend a virtual meeting or in-person forums.

STATE OF FEAR: The internet taught me two things about Pennsylvania yesterday: 1) For a mostly landlocked state, we maintain a healthy fear of water and 2) Pennsylvania has the highest horror movie death toll.

ROTE RAGE: An extremely sarcastic letter to the editor from an angry East Hempfield motorist may be the pinnacle of the art form. LancasterOnline reporter Tom Lisi shares it — in all its glory — here.
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
Yesterday's answer: Liverwurst

Congrats to our daily winners: Susan F., Ted W., Neal W., Irene R., Kevin H., Joel S., Al M., Barbara F., Myles M., Becky C., Patricia M., Lynne E., Michelle T., Beth T., Susan D., Elizabeth W., Bridget C., Patricia R., Kim C., Judith D., David I., Bruce B., Heidi B., Elaine C., Don H., Doris T., Tim B., Brandie K., Jill A., Craig W., Jay M., Bruce B., Christine M., Bruce T., Wendy A., Catherine J., Tish M., Bill S., William M., Dianne K., Kimberly S., George S., James B., Susan N., David W., Rick D., and Chris M.
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