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Super Bowl tix, luxury stay among lawmaker perks

Plus, rare support for a compassionate release.

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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: Tanisha Thomas

Monday, May 13, 2024
Today: Gift policy, compassionate release, distracted driving, Penn protest, ex-trooper, and unemployment assistance. Thanks for checking in.
Newly filed ethics reports show top Pennsylvania state lawmakers accepted nearly $30,000 in travel expenses in 2023, often from groups that have interests before the state.

According to Spotlight PA's reporting, the trips included political conferences and other events bankrolled by campaign groups, organizations pushing alternatives to public education, and more.

Several lawmakers went to Arizona on a trip funded by a mental health provider that has a state contract worth millions. Two state senators attended the Super Bowl on the dime of a millionaire insurance executive.
Pennsylvania’s legislative gift law is one of the laxest in the country. While public officials must report any gift over $250 in value, or hospitality over $650, on annual filings, there is a loophole in which lobbyists spread costs out among clients, keeping lawmakers below the reporting threshold.
Read the full report: Pa. lawmakers accepted trips from lobbying groups, others seeking to influence the state in 2023.

“It’s despicable that any law enforcement official would spread a rumor about me being 'investigated' or about to be 'arrested' to advance a political goal.”

—State Rep. Kevin Boyle (D., Philadelphia) in his first public remarks since his primary loss and the dismissal of a warrant for his arrest
Support Spotlight PA's vital journalism and for a limited time, your gift will be DOUBLED.
Our Spring Member Drive kicks off today with a huge challenge: If we raise $35,000 by June 1, the Lenfest Institute for Journalism will match every single dollar. That's right — if you give now, your contribution will be DOUBLED.

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"Waiting," a sculpture by artist Seward Johnson, in Harrisburg's Riverfront Park, via Diana P. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania
A statute of a man reading a newspaper on a bench in Harrisburg, PA
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.
RELEASE PETITION: Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro is lending his support to an incarcerated man’s bid for compassionate release, Spotlight PA reports. Shapiro’s office said the governor has considered “the unique facts of this case, including Mr. Ezra Bozeman’s rare medical status and length of time incarcerated.” As of November, only around 48 such petitions had been successful over 14 years.
Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.
RACE DATA: A soon-to-be-adopted ban on using cellphones for any purpose while driving in Pennsylvania also includes a provision to collect and publicly report traffic stop data on a driver’s race to protect against racial profiling, the AP reports. Gov. Shapiro said he'll sign the bill, which would take effect one year after he does.
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
PRIOR NOTICE: Gov. Shapiro was aware of plans to remove the pro-Palestinian encampment at the University of Pennsylvania when he called for it to be disbanded on Thursday, The Inquirer (paywall) reports. Up until then, Shapiro had said students and faculty had the right to protest as long they did not break any laws. His call gave Penn and Philadelphia cover to move forward with Friday's crackdown
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.
VIDEO ARREST: A trooper seen in viral video arresting a Black Philadelphia LGBTQ+ official in March is no longer employed by the Pennsylvania State Police, NBC10 reports. The trooper was initially placed on restricted duty. Officials have not released his identity. The Pennsylvania State Troopers Association criticized the agency for not standing behind him saying the trooper "deserved better."

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.
EXTRA HELP: Pennsylvania officials say dozens of new identity verification kiosks will help people filing for unemployment compensation statewide, WESA reports. The state contracted with a company to verify unemployment claims amid a wave of pandemic-era fraud, but the process received criticism for shutting out people with legitimate claims who struggled with technology or camera access. 
🤔 NEXT QUESTION: Are you on top of the news? Prove it with the latest edition of the Great PA News Quiz: High-flying governors, commencement plans, and fizzy water goes to court.
GROWING INDUSTRY: Central Penn College in Cumberland County is launching an 18-credit online Cannabis Business Certificate program that begins Oct. 7, PennLive reports.

WAITING GAME: Philly will have to continue to wait for its dream of having a WNBA team after Toronto was announced as the league's new expansion market last week, NBC10 reports. Philly was on the short list.
WUNDERKIND: The Philadelphia Union pro soccer club has signed a 14-year-old city native to its roster. If he plays before July 29, Cavan Sullivan will be the youngest player ever to appear in a match, per the AP. 

LIGHT SHOW: If you missed the northern lights or could not see them over Pennsylvania this past weekend, there are lots of photos, including those sent in by TV news viewers from NEPA to Western Pennsylvania.

LONG HAUL: U.S. Rep. Chris Deluzio (D., Pa.) took to Twitter to show why the Pittsburgh to D.C trip is a little over seven hours by train
Spotlight PA's exclusive "All Sun, No Shade" beach towel, on sale now

Our exclusive 'All Sun, No Shade' beach towels are HOT!

Bold and thick, get ready for Memorial Day with this exclusive Spotlight PA swag. But hurry! Once they're gone, they're gone for the year. SHOP NOW >
Support Spotlight PA's vital journalism and for a limited time, your gift will be DOUBLED.
Unscramble and send your answer to 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.

Friday's answer: Beatniks or Snakebit

Congrats to our weekly winner: Pat E.

Congrats to our daily winners: Stacy S., Marc G., Barbara F., Don H., Eric F., Lynne E., Elaine C., Kimberly D., Wendy A., Alan B., Richard A., Jon W., Bob C., Tracy S., Perry H., Jeffrey F., Tom M., Jane R., William Z., Susan N., Karen W., and Amelia M.
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