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Only 12 lawmakers gave up pay during budget delay

… a bill would force all 253 to do so next time.

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Tuesday, January 9, 2024
Today: voluntary pay gaps, Google police, claim denied, the uninsured, Senate spending, Williamsport air, and to the moon. This is PA Post.

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Twelve state House lawmakers delayed cashing at least one of their paychecks during last year's six-month state budget impasse. A bill would ensure all 253 General Assembly members similarly abstain in the future.

But even among the dozen lawmakers who deferred at least one check during this stalemate, there is disagreement on whether forgoing pay during an impasse should be an official policy or a personal choice. 

“My inclination is financial pressure that may force a member to vote one way or another is probably not a good thing,” state Rep. Perry Warren (D., Bucks) — who cashed one check during this budget delay — explained.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: A group of Pa. lawmakers didn’t take pay during the budget impasse. A bill would force all to abstain.

“To remove Penn’s statue to create a more inclusive environment takes [an] absurd and revisionist view of our state’s history and further seems to serve no purpose other than to check a box for an increasingly dangerous radicalism infiltrating today’s left wing political agenda.”

—State House Minority Leader Bryan Cutler (R., Lancaster) on Biden administration plans to remove a William Penn statue from Philadelphia's Welcome Park in an overhaul focused on Native American history

Two mallards in the snow near Bushkill Creek in Palmer Township, Northampton County, via Jan S. Send us your Pennsylvania photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

A closeup of two ducks waddling over snowy ground.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.EXHIBIT G: A Pennsylvania rape case is at the center of a new challenge to police uses of Google search data in solving criminal cases, Bloomberg News reports, via TribLIVE. Police found their suspect by obtaining Google data on users who made a specific query. 

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.INSURANCE CHECKS: Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro says Pennsylvanians can now request an official review by health care professionals of any wrongfully denied insurance claim under a law put in place by his predecessor. Requests can be made here.

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
NO COVERAGE: The number of Pennsylvania kids without health insurance (145,000) could fill every seat in Beaver Stadium, plus 39,000 children in the parking lot, according to an advocacy group's warning-filled new report, via Erie Times-News (paywall). 
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.BIG MONEY: Money is pouring into Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate race, with Republican David McCormick raising $5.4 million in his first quarter as a 2024 candidate. Incumbent Democrat Bob Casey is also raking it in, including $3.2 million in the third quarter of 2023.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.RETURN FLIGHT: Commuter air service is returning to Williamsport for the first time since American Airlines left in 2021 amid a pandemic-era regional airport exodus. NorthCentralPA.com reports flights are set to resume May 23 with two a day at nine passengers each. 
Support vital journalism for Pennsylvania by donating to Spotlight PA today. The future of local news is in your hands.

REPTILE REP.: First-term state Rep. Tom Jones (R., Lancaster) is also an alligator rescuer. That hasn't changed, but in his eyes the luster of Harrisburg has, losing its shine after a "chaotic" first year, LNP (paywall) reports. 

RIGHT TURN: A new book examines how the pro-Democratic world of Pennsylvania steelworkers went Republican, via The American Prospect. Part of the research: counting bumper stickers in a mill's parking lot.

'SIMPLY FUNNY': WHYY has been ordered to reinstate a reporter it fired over his standup comedy set. A third-party arbitrator ruled WHYY treated Jad Sleiman “shabbily” and shouldn't have summarily dismissed him. 

MISSION MARRED: Trouble followed Monday's launch of the first U.S. lunar landing mission since 1972 when the Pittsburgh-made spacecraft suffered propulsion problems that made reaching the moon impossible.

GOOD DOG: A Philly husky is credited with alerting its owners to a natural gas leak the humans say could have leveled their entire block.

Are you a Berks County resident? We're seeking community input! Join one of our upcoming Spotlight PA - Berks County listening sessions:

Jan 13: 10 a.m.-noon at Exeter Public Library | Register Here
Jan 23: 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Fleetwood Public 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: Premeditated

Congrats to our daily winners: Stacy S., Lynne E., Keith F., Barbara F., Sandi H., Richard A., Ted W., Bob C., Jon W., Elaine C., Don H., Daniel S., Dan A., Dennis M., James B., Marty M., Susan N.-Z., David W., Craig E., Vicki U., Rick W., Alan B., John P., William Z., and Karyl S.
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