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New scrutiny for a PA liver transplant program

Plus, court won't review undated ballot ruling.

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Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen

Wednesday, May 1, 2024
Today: Transplant program suspended, ballot dates, primary 2.0, body cams, tax 'choke,' and Perry on abortion. Welcome to May. 

Penn State Health has voluntarily inactivated its liver transplant program at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center amid concerns about documentation and clinical processes, a spokesperson tells Spotlight PA.

A national oversight body will conduct a performance review and the program could remain inactive for as long as a year. Sixty-three patients are affected by the shutdown and will need to have their care transferred to other liver transplant centers.

Penn State's program was sanctioned in 2022 and recently restored to good standing. Spokesperson Barbara Schindo told Spotlight PA the health system has not received any notice of noncompliance ahead of this review.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Penn State Health halts liver transplants as national oversight body reviews program.

Support Spotlight PA's unmatched election reporting that puts voters first.

“It recently came to light Bryan had a business relationship with several Game Commission employees and received income through that relationship. That’s not to suggest there were any ethical violations on his part, but there were questions about the appropriateness ... and ultimately he chose to resign.”

—Pa. Game Commissioner Scott Foradora on the sudden resignation of the Game Commission's executive director, Bryan Burhans
A crabapple tree in bloom, via Starr B. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania
Large pink blossoms on a tree in a green field.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.
MISSING DATES: A federal appeals court on Tuesday declined to reconsider a ruling on Pennsylvania mail ballots without a date that could lead to thousands of rejections in November. Plaintiffs, led by the NAACP, wanted the full 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review a March decision by a three-judge panel, but the court declined.
Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.DÉJÀ VOTE: A week after state Rep. Bud Cook (R., Greene) promised to go on the "warpath" against Republicans who supported Stephanie Waggett's failed primary challenge against him, the Observer-Reporter (paywall) says Waggett secured enough Democratic write-in votes to run against Cook again this fall.Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
ON CAMERA: Pennsylvania State Police in Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Delaware Counties are now outfitted with body cameras, part of a statewide rollout expedited after Philly official Celena Morrison accused a state trooper of excessive force in March. As of Monday, roughly a third of the force's 16 troops were body camera-equipped.
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.
'PERFECT STORM': Pandemic-hit commercial property values and a court-ordered drop in the number Allegheny County uses to determine property tax levies have touched off a wave of aggressive appeals there that are "choking off" a primary funding stream for schools, TribLIVE reports. In the West Allegheny School District alone, $105 million of commercial property value has vanished in two years.
Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.
PERRY'S POSITION: Ahead of his reelection bid in a more competitive district, U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (R., Pa.) told WGAL that he opposes a federal abortion ban. But HuffPost reports he’s "signed on to legislation in Congress for the last seven years to impose a near-total nationwide abortion ban ― and he’s still a cosponsor of this bill."
CANNABIS CATEGORY: The Drug Enforcement Administration is moving to reclassify cannabis as a less dangerous drug, AP reports. It's a historic action that still requires several steps, including public comment.

RUST BELT HOLIDAY: Today is May Day and Belt magazine explains why it’s a particularly Rust Belt holiday "born from the experience of workers in the mills and plants of Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland."

QUOTE-UNQUOTE: @michellelprice notes "the Associated Press hired a 21-year-old to cover Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and he almost blew it because he became so mesmerized that he stopped taking notes." 

TUN TAVERN 2.0: The U.S. Marine Corps started at the Tun Tavern in Philadelphia in 1775. The Inquirer (paywall) reports an effort is underway to recreate the location as a nonprofit tavern and museum.

BUG OUT: It's not just spotted lanternflies — the invasive brown marmorated stink bug also got its American start in Pennsylvania. The first collection happened in Allentown in 1998. Here's a visual of its prolific rise
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