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Why lawmakers may move Pa.'s 2024 primary date

Plus, state House Democrats officially have their one-vote majority back.

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Tuesday, October 3, 2023
In today's edition: presidential primary, vote advantage, expired bill, accountability measures, Nobel Prize, and leaf peeping. It's Tuesday. 
Pennsylvania lawmakers are weighing whether to move the date of the state’s 2024 primary. 

The state Senate has already passed a bill that would move the election from April 23, 2024, to March 19, while the state House is back in Harrisburg this week and ready to consider legislation.

Here, via Spotlight PA, is what you need to know about Pennsylvania’s primary, the arguments in support or moving it, and the arguments against.

THE CONTEXT: The current date conflicts with Passover, a holiday during which some Jews avoid driving, writing, and other activities, as they do on the Sabbath. 

Some lawmakers also want Pennsylvania to vote on the presidential primary candidates earlier to give the state more of a say.

But county officials who run elections and other voting experts have major logistical concerns about moving the 2024 primary so late in the year.

"Despite this being a personnel matter, the Governor's office has offered official comments and conflicting information on the issue."
Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R., Westmoreland) on misconduct allegations against a Shapiro aide who resigned last week
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» Complete guide to the candidates for Pennsylvania Supreme Court

» Complete guide to the candidates for Commonwealth, Superior Courts

» What to know about the judicial retention questions on Pa. ballots

» Una guía de los candidatos a la Corte Suprema del estado

» Una guía de los candidatos a la Commonwealth y las Cortes Superiores

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» STORY FEST: Spotlight PA is participating in Philly Story Fest, a first-of-its-kind festival that brings together storytellers from across the city on one stage. Join us Thursday, Oct. 5 from 7-10 p.m. at the Bok building in South Philadelphia (1901 South 9th St.). Tickets are $25 and available here.

» PATH TO EQUITY: Join Spotlight PA for its first in-person summit on Wednesday, Oct. 11, from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Whitaker Center in Harrisburg. Spotlight PA is co-presenting this event with Color & Culture, a Pennsylvania marketing firm. Tickets are on sale at this link until sold out.

» ELECTION 101: Join Spotlight PA’s government reporters Kate Huangpu and Stephen Caruso on Thursday, Oct. 12 from 6-7 p.m. ET on Zoom for a free panel on Pa.’s 2023 judicial candidates. Register for the event here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org
Along the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail near Shippensburg, via Joan S. Have a Pennsylvania photo to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
A horse and buggy travels on a road surrounded by green fields and farm buildings.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.POWER BALANCE: Democrats officially have a numerical majority in Pennsylvania's state House again. Lindsay Powell, who won this month's special election for an open seat in Allegheny County, was sworn in Monday, shortly after the county certified the win. That again gives Democrats a one-seat edge in the lower chamber after several special elections prompted by rank-and-file resignations.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.FARM FAIL: The farm bill has expired after months of a building interparty dispute over GOP-sought food stamp limits — but internal Republican Party discord also played a role. U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson (R., Pa.) has a key part in the process and said he won't bring the bill before the committee he chairs until a floor debate is scheduled. But Republicans struggled to wrangle their own first.

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.FUNDING FIX? Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi is promising new accountability measures as lawmaker concerns about the school's transparency contribute to a monthslong delay in approval of significant state funding for it. In a Sunday op-ed, Bendapudi said the university has heard the concerns and will release a report with "information our lawmakers and the public request most often."

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.SPEAKER SOS: U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.) is looking to get U.S. House Democrats on board with a plan to save Kevin McCarthy's speakership against a revolt from within his own party. U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R., Pa.) is also in McCarthy's corner. Politico reports that with up to a dozen GOP lawmakers potentially among the party's anti-McCarthy faction, Democrats would have the deciding votes.

UNDER INVESTIGATION: Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.Tributes poured in Monday for Philadelphia journalist and former city spokesperson Josh Kruger, who was fatally shot in his Point Breeze home overnight, per police. The Inquirer (paywall) reported Monday morning, citing Deputy Police Commissioner Frank Vanore, that no arrests had been made and the motive remained unclear. There were no signs of forced entry into the home.
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NOBEL PRIZE: Two scientists from the University of Pennsylvania won the Nobel Prize in medicine Monday for work that enabled the development of mRNA vaccines against COVID-19, via the Associated Press.

DAUGHTER'S PROMISE: TribLIVE journalist JoAnne Klimovich Harrop's award-winning article about being quarantined in a nursing home with her mother at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic is now a book.

IUP PARTY: The Wall Street Journal has named Indiana University of Pennsylvania the top party school in the nation, the nod coming 17 years after the school tried to shed its Animal House reputation.

BURIAL PLAN: An Irish immigrant nicknamed Stoneman Willie is being laid to rest 128 years after he was accidentally mummified by a Reading funeral home that has kept his body ever since, per Reuters. 

FALL COLOR: Pennsylvania has released its fall foliage map, which shows color is starting to pop across much of the commonwealth and may be peaking in parts of the Northern Tier this week, via KDKA-TV.

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