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What's the latest on control of the Pa. House?

Plus, the impeachment case against DA Krasner advances.


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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: Colin Deppen
November 16, 2022
In the air, impeachment move, leadership picks, cracking commenced, election shortage, school attorneys, and Ticketmaster fail. It's Wednesday.

Two still-uncalled races will decide control of the Pennsylvania state House, and attorneys for Republicans and Democrats are haggling over provisional ballots with the candidates separated by the narrowest of margins. 

The outcome in the 142nd and 151st state House Districts will either leave Republicans with a slim majority in the chamber or give Democrats control for the first time since 2010. Democrats need just one more seat to win the chamber, while Republicans would need to win both. 

There are a few hundred votes left to count in each, and attorneys on both sides of the aisle are scrutinizing dozens of ballots for defects.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Have Democrats flipped the Pa. House? The latest on the races that will decide control of the chamber.

THE CONTEXT: Adam Bonin, who represents the Democratic candidates in both races, said Republicans are leading the efforts to disqualify ballots but that Democrats are also filing challenges to throw out GOP votes.

He characterized those challenges as an effort to maintain parity. Lawyers representing the GOP candidates didn’t respond to Spotlight PA.

Should Democrats take control of the state House for the first time in more than a decade, their priority list includes marijuana legalization, raising the minimum wage, and LGBTQ discrimination protections.

WITF reports that a GOP-authored bill that could lead to a state constitutional amendment ruling out any guarantee of abortion rights or publicly-funded abortion in Pennsylvania also hangs in the balance.

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» WHAT’S NEXT?  To help make sense of the election and what’s to come, join us Thursday, Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. EST on Zoom for a free panel about who won, what they promised on the campaign trail, and how those plans might get implemented once they are in office. Register for the event here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org

The Tower of Voices monument at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County, via Charlie D. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania
Sunlight shines through the Tower of Voices monument, a large metallic sculpture at the Flight 93 Memorial in Somerset County.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.KRASNER CASE: Two articles of impeachment against Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner headed to the full state House on Tuesday after an affirmative, party-line vote in the GOP-controlled House Judiciary Committee. A spokesperson for House Republicans told The Inquirer (paywall) that the caucus anticipates a vote in the full House today. The state's last succesful impeachment was in 1994.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.LEADERSHIP TEAM: State Sen. Kim Ward (R., Westmoreland) was unanimously elected as the next interim Senate president pro tempore by the GOP-controlled upper chamber on Tuesday. Ward is the first woman appointed to the post, the third-highest in state government. Senate Republicans and Democrats also announced their leadership teams for the 2023-24 session, which Capital-Star details here.

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.FULL POWER: Shell on Tuesday announced that it has commenced operations at its ethane cracker plant in Beaver County. The plant will convert shale gas into plastic pellets called "nurdles," the building blocks for a vast array of consumer products. Inside Climate News reports that environmentalists, worried about pollution, are calling on the state to end related subsidies — but the opposite is happening.

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.PAPER PROBE: Spotlight PA reports Luzerne County's district attorney will investigate a paper shortage that impacted balloting there in last week's election, the development following a request from the county's board of elections and a crowded public meeting convened at the county courthouse on Monday. The paper shortage has drawn national scrutiny. One week later, the cause is still unclear. 

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.NEW HIRES: Central Bucks School District has hired former U.S. Attorney and GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill McSwain to review a discrimination complaint filed by the ACLU of Pennsylvania over school LGBTQ policies deemed dangerous by experts. McSwain and former federal prosecutor Michael Rinaldi are set to perform an internal investigation into the complaint and contested rules.
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HE'S RUNNING: Former President Donald Trump has launched his 2024 bid for the White House. The Inquirer (paywall) reports that "he may be at his weakest point within the Pennsylvania GOP" after this month's midterms, adding, "but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s weak — or beatable."

THE PROBLEM: Another day, another fanbase turning on Ticketmaster. This time, "historic demand" snarled ticket sales for Taylor Swift's next tour, which includes several Pennsylvania dates. Buzzfeed recounts the whole mess.

STORE WARS: A Sheetz? In Center City Philadelphia? After hometown hero Wawa closed two stores in the commercial corridor, Billy Penn reports some people want cross-state rival Sheetz to plant a Philly flag.

RELIEF BLOCK: A federal appeals court has paused President Biden's student debt relief program. Nerd Wallet says applications are on hold and paused payments will resume in January without an extension.

CODEBREAK: WaPo (paywall) profiled of Julia Parsons, who was among the female cryptologists who decoded Nazi messages that helped the Allies win World War II, and who is now a spry 101 and living in Pittsburgh.

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 6 p.m. on issue date will be counted.

Yesterday's answer: Incongruous

Congrats to our daily winners: Elaine C., Don H., Susan D., Marty M., Patricia M., Barbara F., Susan N.-Z., Kimberly D., Kimberly B., John P., George S., David W., Jon W., Chuck D., Dianne K., James B., Jane R., Tish M., Hoss E., Chuck M., Kathy H., Bill S., Joel S., Starr B., Wendy A., Stanley J., Georgann J., and Cynthia R.
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