Did you know Spotlight PA is a nonprofit? Learn more about our nonpartisan journalism »
Skip to main content
Main content

PA's struggle to regulate social media giants

Plus, the dark money going to police.

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

Wednesday, April 3, 2024
Today: Tech divide, police donors, mail voting 101, fatal trips, methadone moats, private equity, and a good eclipse forecast.
Pennsylvania lawmakers have recently debated bills that would mandate disclosure of artificial intelligence-generated images, ban TikTok from state-owned phones, and require monitoring of minors' social media.

Consensus continues to elude them, and related debates — particularly around social media regulations — demonstrate the balancing act and free speech sensitivities they would need to navigate in doing so. 

Spotlight PA breaks down the issues, from parents versus privacy to the TikTok split, and how legislators have tried to thread the needle.

Read the full report: Why Pennsylvania’s efforts to regulate social media companies have failed so far.

'Now Brewing the Truth' mugs!

Make a bold statement with refined style with our 12 oz. matte black coffee/latte mug. SHOP THE SALE NOW >

"As millions of domestic and international travelers fly through the airport, there is no better symbol of freedom, prosperity and strength than hearing ‘Welcome to Trump International Airport’ as they land on American soil."

—U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R., Pa.) on his push to name Dulles airport in metro Washington, D.C., after Donald Trump; Dems say it'll never happen

ROW RACES: Join us Thursday, April 11 from 6-7 p.m. ET on Zoom for a live guide to Pa.’s candidates for attorney general, auditor general, and treasurer and how their terms would impact you. Register here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org.
Butterfly effect, via @yatsko. Have a photo of your own to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on IG, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania
A butterfly in a field of sunflowers.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.DARK MONEY: Corporations are pouring money into police departments nationwide, often via opaque donations to police foundations, The Lever reports. A 2020 article in The Inquirer (paywall) noted Philly's police foundation, which counts Comcast, Independence Blue Cross, and Wawa as donors, contributed $500,000 to the department in 2019, money spent on SWAT guns, drones, anti-bias training, and more.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.VOTING BY MAIL: April 23 is primary day in Pennsylvania, and while many voters will head to the polls, others will opt to vote by mail instead. If you fall into that latter category, let this Spotlight PA guide help you navigate the process — a sometimes confusing one made more so by legal disputes, disinformation, and patchwork rules.

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.DRIVING DANGER: Traffic deaths fell 3.6% nationwide last year but rose by 4.2% in Pennsylvania, one of a handful of states to buck the trend. According to federal data, there were 1,229 traffic deaths here in 2023, up from 1,179 in 2022. Pennsylvania's fatality rate — based on the total number of miles traveled — dropped ever so slightly.

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.RX BLOCKS: Federal rules easing restrictions on methadone and barriers to access are now in effect, but state-level restrictions remain. Pew says Pennsylvania has no regulations that support access and one that limits it. Additionally, there are six regulations here — on urine tests, counseling, and more — that can lower retention rates.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.PRIVATE EYES: The perils of private equity hospital ownership are well-documented in Pennsylvania, but the acquisitions don't end there. The Inquirer (paywall) reports more physician practices (40% of the urology market in Philly, for example) are backed by the firms amid calls for more scrutiny of their influence on health care prices and quality.
GEISINGER DEAL: Kaiser Permanente's Risant Health has completed its acquisition of Danville-based Geisinger health system. Industry news outlet Fierce Healthcare outlines the strategy and expected impacts.

RAIL RULE: A federal mandate finalized Tuesday requires two-person train crews on most U.S. routes, the update following opposition from the industry, support from organized labor, and inaction by Congress.

SUN POWER: A $90 million federal grant is poised to turn a former Clearfield County coal mine into Pennsylvania's largest solar farm with the goal of powering some 70,000 homes, Allegheny Front reports.

CLEAR SKIES: Speaking of sun ... forecasters say clouds are unlikely to mar northwestern Pennsylvania's view of next week's solar eclipse. Talking to TribLIVE, one expert predicted "near-optimal viewing conditions."

TAKE 5: Want to see historical figures like Thomas Paine and Ida B. Wells opine on modern issues? Want to see them do it on a Philly public access show cohosted by a former state lawmaker? We've got you covered.
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: Tribalism

Congrats to our daily winners: Vicki U., Bob C., Elaine C., Don H., Jon W., Stacy S., Richard A., Susan N.-Z., Kimberly D., Beth H., Gabrielle G., Barbara F., Lynne E., David W., Marie B., Alan B., Jane R., Steve H., Malachy M., Tom M., Wendy A., Jeffrey F., David M., William Z., Daniel M., Ada M., Janet S., and Stanley J.
Like PA Post? Share it with a friend.

Love PA Post? Support it with a tax-deductible gift.

Forwarded this newsletter? Subscribe here.
Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan & nonprofit newsroom producing investigative and public-service journalism that holds the powerful to account and drives positive change in Pennsylvania.

For sponsorship inquiries, email membership@spotlightpa.org.

Copyright © Spotlight PA, All rights reserved.

Spotlight PA
PO Box 11728
Harrisburg, PA 17108-1728


You're receiving this email because you subscribed to PA Post, a daily newsletter by Spotlight PA.

This email was sent to: <<Email Address>>

Receiving too many emails from Spotlight PA?

To change your newsletter subscriptions and frequency, you can update your preferences.

To stop receiving fundraising messages, you can update your preferences and select "Opt out of Fundraising."

To stop receiving ALL EMAILS from Spotlight PA, including all of our investigations and newsletters, you can completely unsubscribe here.