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Shapiro's $80M pitch to attack PA's housing crisis

Plus, Yass could be a Trump cabinet pick.

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Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen

Monday, March 18, 2024
Today: Housing help, Trump & Yass, drop-off dustup, social SCOTUS, and the Nazi plot to bomb Altoona. Welcome to the week.
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State-level action to combat Pennsylvania’s persistent housing shortages and rising costs is being proposed on multiple fronts — including in Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro's sophomore budget plan.

Shapiro wants $80 million for public legal defense against evictions, anti-homelessness initiatives, and a popular home repair grant program. Meanwhile, legislation is pending that aims to spur housing construction amid an estimated statewide shortfall of some 100,000 units.

Nothing is guaranteed, but the size and scope of the problem make doing nothing unpalatable for lawmakers in both major parties. 

Dana Hanchin, CEO of Lancaster-based HDC MidAtlantic, a nonprofit developer of affordable housing, said the state will also be hard-pressed to achieve its goals around economic competitiveness and education without addressing the housing crunch more proactively. 

Read Spotlight PA’s full report: Gov. Josh Shapiro wants to spend $80M to attack Pennsylvania's housing crisis. Here's how.

"I’ve been waiting 50 years for this."

—Real Estate Professor Emeritus Norm Miller on a landmark legal settlement, announced Friday, that could lead to lower home-buying costs nationwide
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Pink blooms on a magnolia tree framed against a bright blue sky. Tall brick buildings are also seen near the bottom of the frame.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.SECRETARY YASS? Pennsylvania's richest man, TikTok investor Jeff Yass, is being floated as a possible Donald Trump cabinet pick, should the latter win on Nov. 5. Bloomberg first reported that Yass was being considered for Treasury secretary. Yass and Trump had a falling out but recently made up, right before Trump's TikTok flip-flop.
  • Yass-linked PAC targets U.S. Rep. Summer Lee, via WESA
Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.DROP BLOCK: A plan to add five ballot drop-off locations in Allegheny County has drawn a legal challenge. Members of the county's Republican committee, including Councilor Sam DeMarco, are suing the county and its Democratic executive over the plan, which they argue was improperly launched, TribLIVE reports.
  • Pennsylvania was deluged by election lawsuits in 2020 — experts say 2024 will be even more intense, via Spotlight PA
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.OFFICIAL USE: The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday clarified when it's constitutional for public officials to block critical constituents on social media. Former President Trump was sued repeatedly for blocking people on Twitter, and then-Lt. Gov. John Fetterman was threatened with legal action for doing the same in 2020.
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.'ACCESS DENIED': A new complaint accuses the Philadelphia School District and the Pennsylvania Department of Education of denying education access to children with disabilities at a West Philadelphia juvenile detention center, in violation of federal law, The Inquirer (paywall) reports. The complaint points to a larger, systemwide breakdown.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.IN BRIEF: The first GOP debate for state attorney general touched on abortion, DA Larry Krasner, and more; state Rep. Melissa Shusterman (D., Chester) wants to lift a ban on abortion coverage through Pennsylvania's Affordable Care Act marketplace; and dueling rallies are planned around a "Drag Queen Story Hour" in Lancaster.
🗞️ KNOW YOUR NEWS? Prove it with this week's news quiz: Trump’s TikTok flip-flop, 2024 pollbooks, and the State Police motif.
MR. FIX-IT: The Biden administration wants antitrust law exemptions that would make it easier to repair ice cream machines at fast food chains. Here's a map of the McBroken machines in your neck of the woods.

'MATCH FIXING': Temple University says it's reviewing reports of possible "match fixing" by its men's basketball team. At least one game involving the team was flagged for unusual betting activity.

BOBBLEHEAD BOLO: TribLIVE has the latest on a suspected Jaromír Jágr bobblehead heist that plunged the Pittsburgh Penguins into crisis mode last week. The shipment made it to California, then disappeared.

CURVE PLOT: The Nazis tried to bomb Altoona's Horseshoe Curve during World War II, The Inquirer (paywall) reports, but one of eight saboteurs tasked with carrying out the mission wound up reporting it to the FBI.

ANGRY BIRD: Multiple cyclists were dive-bombed and injured by a mother peregrine falcon on a Lancaster County trail. Then that female was forced out by another. LNP (paywall) asks: Will the dive-bombings stop?
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