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Fire depts. need money. State law is in their way.

Plus, Trump is coming to Harrisburg.

The logo of PA Post, a free daily newsletter delivering the top news from across Pennsylvania every day.

A daily newsletter by The logo of Spotlight PA, an independent, nonpartisan newsroom producing investigative journalism for Pennsylvania.
Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen

Tuesday, January 23, 2024
Today: Emergency relief, J6 appeal, opioid money oversight, abortion amendment, energy pledge, voucher redux, and unexplained notes.
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Raffles and bingo are lifelines for Pennsylvania's cash-strapped volunteer fire companies, but state law prohibits them from accepting cashless payments for the small games of chance, a condition that forces them to leave money on the table and has some considering breaking the rules.

State Sen. Devlin Robinson (R., Allegheny) and state Rep. Ryan Warner (R., Fayette) have reintroduced legislation that would update state law to allow companies to accept cashless payments for raffle tickets and even conduct the games online through Facebook Live or another platform.

Companies could face fines or the loss of their small-games-of-chance license for doing so now. While a rule change is welcome, not everyone is convinced it will solve the structural financial problems facing many departments.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Proposed update to state gaming rules could offer relief to Pa.’s fire companies, nonprofits.


"It’s weird because they always look so real, I almost fall for them every time."

—Student Kayla Onyango on phishing attacks raiding Pitt email accounts
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RICHEST LITTLE CITY: Join us Thursday from 6-7:15 p.m. on Zoom for a free panel on the corruption case rocking this small Pennsylvania city and how local government can protect against wrongdoing. Register for the event here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org

Busy week at the feeders in York County, via Ed G. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

An up-close image of a red and yellow bird landing at a bird feeder.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.J6 APPEAL: The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take up the case of former Lebanon County police officer and convicted January 6 rioter Joseph Fischer. CNN reports the case is being noticed by other Jan. 6 defendants and former President Donald Trump.
  • RELATED: Trump to address NRA in Harrisburg, via WHTM
Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.FEDERAL OVERSIGHT: Some federal officials want oversight of billions in opioid settlement dollars amid questions about how the money is being spent by localities. One Pennsylvania harm reductionist told KFF Health News a related oversight bill lacks necessary teeth.
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.'FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT': State Reps. Liz Hanbidge (D., Montgomery) and Danielle Friel Otten (D., Chester) have proposed a constitutional amendment that would establish a “fundamental right to reproductive liberty" in Pennsylvania if approved by voters, via Capital-Star.
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.'30 BY 30' PROMISE: Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro promised 30% of the energy sold in Pennsylvania would come from renewable sources by 2030. Capital & Main reports there have been few updates on progress a year into his tenure and trade groups are pushing back. 

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.TAKE TWO: Gov. Shapiro will give his second budget address next month and is expected to again work to pass a private school voucher program, a GOP priority he shares and one that put him at odds with his own party last time, The Inquirer (paywall) reports.
RTK CASE: Spotlight PA's Angela Couloumbis is challenging the state Senate’s refusal to turn over communications between lawmakers and certain registered lobbyists. Here's the background.​

ON NOTICE: Two critical voices at Upper Pottsgrove Township meetings in Montgomery County have been warned against making waves by the police chief, The Mercury (paywall) reports. Others were cautioned before.

I-95, BUT BIGGER: Architecture critic Inga Saffron writes in The Inquirer (paywall) that though the Biden administration promised to make urban highways less intrusive, I-95 is about to expand in South Philly.

HOTEL BOOM: At least six hotels are in various stages of planning or development in Centre County, Onward State reports. Here's a look at a "condo hotel" that's nine stories and planned for State College.

POKER FACE: The second-largest jackpot at Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh was claimed Sunday. The amount? $1.4 million, per TribLIVE.

Correction: Yesterday's edition incorrectly identified the school climate scientist Michael Mann is currently affiliated with. It's the University of Pennsylvania.
Are you a Berks County resident? We're seeking community input! Join one of our upcoming Spotlight PA - Berks County listening sessions:

Today: 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Fleetwood Public Library | Register Here

Feb. 21: 5:30-7:30 p.m. at West Lawn-Wyomissing Hills Library | Register Here

A listening session is an informal, small-group discussion in which we are seeking your thoughts, opinions, and concerns on local news coverage, information access, community information needs, and news consumption habits. Visit spotlightpa.org/berks for more information.
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. Answers submitted by 5:30 p.m. on issue date will be counted.

Yesterday's answer: Blizzard

Congrats to our daily winners: Eric F., Beth H., Janet P., Becky C., Stacy S., Richard A., Bob C., Daniel M., Jane R., Kimberly D., Jody A., Jessica K., Barbara F., Marty M., Beth T., Chris M., Ted W., Jon W., Lynne E., Adrien M., Connie K., Don H., Thomas D., Alan B., David B., Debbie M., Carol S., Benjamin M., Kim C., Karen W., Judith D., Craig E., Mike B., Eddy Z., Fred O., John P., Rick W., Wendy A., Amelia M., Charles S., Christina M., Mary S., David W., Starr B., Janet S., Steve H., Susan N.,  Ronnee G., Stanley J., David T., Tish M., Jeffrey F., Keith L., Nancy S., Sharon B., William Z., Elaine C., and Ada M.
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