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PA abuse survivor amendment in jeopardy again

Plus, Dave McCormick's voting record.

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Thursday, July 4, 2024
Today: Low on time, with (tax) credit, McCormick's voting record, primary election continued, 'justified' shooting, and hot dog heavyweights.

🇺🇸 Programming note: We're off for the Fourth. No newsletter tomorrow. 

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Members of the divided legislature have a month left to act and get a constitutional amendment in front of voters this November that would give survivors of childhood sexual abuse a chance to sue their abusers.

But Spotlight PA reports lawmakers remain deadlocked, marking the latest potential setback for survivors in their long-running push. 

Capitol Reporter Stephen Caruso writes: 

Democrats who control the state House want to send to voters a single question about opening the lawsuit window, while Republican leaders say the abuse amendment should be advanced alongside other GOP priorities, including an expanded voter ID requirement.

The issue has been before the body for nearly two decades and came tantalizingly close to reaching voters several years ago only to be derailed by a Wolf administration error. 

Read the full report: Time is running out to get a long-awaited sexual abuse amendment on Pennsylvania's November ballot.


"If you still want to fight a cultural war, if you’re still mad about my marriage, that is for you, for your God, for your diary, for your whatever."

—State Rep. and auditor general candidate Malcolm Kenyatta (D., Philadelphia) on his bill to repeal an invalid section of state law that defines marriage as being between one man and one woman; the bill passed the lower chamber Tuesday with the support of 32 GOP lawmakers
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A woman in Berks County shares what local news coverage she wants to read as part of a Spotlight PA study
Berks County residents are extremely frustrated with the diminished capacity of the local newspaper and they are concerned about a lack of access to trustworthy information in their community, according to a groundbreaking study released last week by Spotlight PA.

In response to the findings, Spotlight PA is planning to launch a new regional reporting bureau in Berks County to be supported primarily by people living and working in the region. Read the full story, and then support the effort »

SPECIAL EVENT: Join us Tuesday, July 9 from 6-7 p.m. ET on Zoom for a one-on-one interview with author Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, whose new book explores how the urban-rural divide in Pennsylvania and across the U.S. is vastly overstated. Become a member to join this exclusive event.

ROCKY WATERS: Join us Thursday, July 18 from 6-7 p.m. ET on Zoom for a live panel on Pennsylvania’s private water industry, how it is regulated, and how communities are affected when service is subpar. Register for the event here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org.

Your moment of pre-fireworks zen, via @john_mccullough_photography. Send us photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania. And have a safe and happy Fourth.
Birds flying into a bird feeder.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.SCHOOL SUBSIDY: State budget talks are headed into the holiday weekend with Senate Republicans eyeing an $8,000 tax credit for families who homeschool their children or send them to private schools, The Inquirer (paywall) reports. Gov. Shapiro opposes the idea. So does the commonwealth's largest teachers union

• Penn State pay raises on hold until budget passes, via WPSU.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.
'OBVIOUS CHOICE': Democratic U.S. Rep. Summer Lee, a Pittsburgh-area progressive, says Vice President Kamala Harris is the "obvious choice" if President Joe Biden abandons his reelection bid. Lee says Harris has name recognition and experience, adding, "the optics of pushing aside a Black woman ... it’s not good.”

• Biden: "No one’s pushing me out," via @ec_schneider.
• Newsom to stump for Biden in Pa., via The Capital-Star.
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
FACT-CHECKED: The campaign of U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D., Pa.) says GOP opponent Dave McCormick did not vote in Allegheny County, despite being registered there, from 2007 to 2022. WPMT vetted the claim and rated it true, confirming the 15-year gap. McCormick's camp did not respond to WPMT's request for comment. 
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.
RACE RULING: Challenger Jamie Walsh is one step closer to winning the GOP primary for state Rep. Mike Cabell's Luzerne County seat, WVIA reports. A Monday Commonwealth Court decision on two ballots went Cabell's way, but Cabell's push to count 22 write-in votes in a race hinging on Walsh's three-vote lead was rejected by the court.
Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.
UNARMED MAN: Dauphin County's district attorney has ruled justified a nonfatal Harrisburg police shooting touched off by officers mistaking a phone for a gun. Per PennLive (paywall), the DA says the phone was brandished aggressively, calling it a suicide-by-cop attempt. Dashcam video he says supports his determination has not been released.
🧠 Know your news? See if you can ace this week's Great PA News Quiz: SCOTUS rulings, summer Olympics, and budget work.

NEW PRESIDENT: Drexel University President John Fry is moving over to Temple. Fry was unanimously chosen as Temple University's 15th president by the school's board of trustees Wednesday. Fry won't start immediately. The Inquirer (paywall) reports he supports a UArts merger.

BROADCASTER BANNED: Broadcaster Howard Eskin has been barred from Citizens Bank Park for the remainder of the Phillies season after an investigation found he made "an unwelcome kiss toward an Aramark employee" in May, NBC 10 reports. Eskin has yet to comment.

THREE MILE: A Baltimore-based energy company is in talks to partially restart operations at Three Mile Island, the site of 1979's infamous partial meltdown. Sources tell Reuters that talks between Constellation Energy, the governor's office, and state lawmakers are past the preliminary phase.

HOLIDAY HOTS: Two Pennsylvania contestants — George Chiger, of Pocono Pines, and Sean Yeager, of Phoenixville — will chow down at tomorrow's Joey Chestnut-less Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest in NYC, per FOX43.

FOURTH FORECAST: If you're headed to a cookout today, here's what AccuWeather says: Prepare to be warm and maybe get wet, with fair fireworks viewing conditions across much of the commonwealth.

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 countedPlease include your first name and last initial.

Yesterday's answer: Trenchant
Congrats to our daily winners: Beth H., Stacy S., Barbara F., Eric F., Bob C., Lynne E., Jane R., Jon W., Elaine C., Kimberly D., Charles T., Timothy A., Don H., Daniel S., Ada M., Kim C., Judith D., David T., Perry H., Annette I., William Z., David W., Wendy A., Stanley J., Richard  A., Tom M., and Jeffrey F.
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