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Disappearing internet discount to hit PA families

Plus, Fetterman and Casey's TikTok votes.

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Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen

Thursday, April 25, 2024
Today: Expensive access, primaried people, unclear design, TikTok tally, Yass hawk, and a Cybertruck towing a buggy. Thanks for checking in. 
The looming end of a federal subsidy for low-income internet users threatens to hike bills — and limit access — for thousands of Pennsylvanians.

Unless Congress approves more funding, April will be the last time many residents receive the roughly $30 monthly benefit in full. 

More than three-quarters of participating households said losing the benefit would force them to switch plans or drop internet service altogether. There are also implications for the state, which factored the subsidies into plans to expand high-speed internet statewide and ensure its affordability.

If the Affordable Connectivity Program runs out of money, Kate Rivera of the Technology Learning Collaborative, a Philly nonprofit that coordinated sign-up efforts, said, “I don’t think anyone really knows yet how to replace that.”

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Higher internet costs could be on the way for low-income Pa. residents as federal subsidies run out.
Support Spotlight PA's unmatched election reporting that puts voters first.

"If the universities in accordance with their policies can’t guarantee the safety and security and well-being of the students, then I think it is incumbent upon a local mayor or local governor or local town councilor, whoever is the local leadership there, to step in and enforce the law."

Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro talking to Politico about pro-Palestinian protests happening on college campuses across the country

Just a squirrel trying to get a nut (or a better view), via Robert N. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on IG, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania
A squirrel high up in a tree.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.
INCUMBENT UPDATES: At least two legislative incumbents lost in their primaries on Tuesday — state Rep. Kevin Boyle (D., Philadelphia) and state Rep. Jim Gregory (R., Blair) — while Minority Leader Bryan Cutler (R., Lancaster) survived a formidable challenge from his right, preventing a big Harrisburg shake-up, per Spotlight PA.
  • Primary for Amen Brown's West Philly state House seat remained too close to call on Wednesday, via The Inquirer (paywall).
  • State Rep. Bud Cook (R., Greene) on ‘warpath’ against GOP leaders who backed failed primary challenger, via Observer-Reporter.
Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.PROTEST VOTES: It wasn't just President Joe Biden who faced protest votes in Pennsylvania's primary. More than 150,000 Republicans voted for Nikki Haley, who exited the presidential race 48 days prior, instead of former President Donald Trump. Trump won the primary handily, but Axios says signs of swing state dissatisfaction are mounting
  • Extent of 'uncommitted' Biden protest vote won't be clear for weeks, but Dem write-ins were up in Philly, via The Inquirer (paywall).
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.BALLOT BACKFIRE: A design change meant to prevent Pennsylvania voters from making a disqualifying error on their mail ballots appears to have backfired, Spotlight PA and Votebeat report. Some voters failed to write the final two digits of the year on the return envelope, prompting rejections in places despite contrary advice from the state.
  • Court rejected Chester County GOP’s request to exclude some long-term care facility mail ballots, via Democracy Docket.
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.
TIKTOK VOTES: Both of Pennsylvania's U.S. senators — Democrats Bob Casey and John Fetterman — voted yes on a divest-or-ban TikTok bill that passed the upper chamber late Tuesday. President Joe Biden signed it into law on Wednesday, as TikTok vowed to fight the "unconstitutional" measure, which could lead to a U.S. ban.
Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.
YASS TIES: Pennsylvania's richest man, political powerbroker Jeff Yass, is connected to over $16 million in foundation funding to pro-Israel groups that advocate for "hawkish U.S. policies in the Middle East" and "support for theorists whom experts described as extreme anti-Muslim conspiracists," The Guardian reports.
2020 ORDER: Fulton County commissioners have been ordered to reveal personal communications with an inspector at the center of their Trump-aligned probe of 2020 voting machines, Public Opinion reports.

CENTER CUTS: UPMC will layoff at least 1,000 workers, TribLIVE reports. The health giant cites post-pandemic challenges.

HALL OF FAMERS: Meet some Pennsylvania voters who haven't missed a November election in at least 50 years, via the New York Times (paywall).

NEEDLE TOWER: The Inquirer (paywall) reports a slender residential tower could soon loom over Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square.

CYBER STUNT: Those viral images of a Tesla Cybertruck towing an Amish buggy may have been part of a promotional stunt.
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