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Guv guide, election-power lawsuit, nursing home strikes, and Boy Scouts bankruptcy

Plus, why Philly mail-ballot deliveries will be delayed.


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA

Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
September 12, 2022
Marquee race, amicus brief, tentative deals, ballot delay, Scouts sales, meth homes, and beer sales eyed for Beaver Stadium. It's Monday.
AN URGENT CALL TO ACTION: Today, we're kicking off our 2022 election coverage and with it, a very important fundraising drive. We need to reach 500 gifts by Sept. 24 to power our vital public-service election reporting that's focused on empowering voters.

As a special incentive, the Lenfest Institute for Journalism has offered to match every single dollar you contribute as part of this campaign.

Will you join the effort now?

The stakes this election are so high. As part of our new series — called “One Vote, Two Pennsylvanias” — we'll clearly articulate through policy proposals and issue-based reporting the vastly different visions the candidates for governor have for the future of our state.

For the first time, all of our election guides will be translated into Spanish and distributed through our Spanish-language partners. And all of our work — as always — will be free and available to all.

We know you care about the future of our state, and we know you're invested in this election. Put your money to work to help fellow Pennsylvanians make an informed vote this November by supporting Spotlight PA now. We can't do this work without you.

Thank you!

— Colin D., PA Post editor

Five gubernatorial candidates will be on the Nov. 8 ballot in a contest that could dramatically alter the course of the state.

To ensure you're prepared to cast your ballot, Spotlight PA compiled brief biographies, donor information, and policy positions for each.

Meet them here with our complete guide to the governor's race.

THE CONTEXT: The governor wields a vast amount of power. They propose a yearly spending plan that sets the course for months of policy debates with the General Assembly on issues including education funding and taxes.

The governor also has the ability to sign into law or veto bills impacting abortion, guns, the minimum wage, health care, and more. 

Vast executive powers allow office holders to advance their agenda and appoint cabinet secretaries including the state's top election official. Governors are also the boss of tens of thousands of state employees from police troopers to environmental inspectors.

All registered voters in Pennsylvania can vote for candidates in November's general election. If you're not yet registered, get started here


"So as we stand on this sacred and scarred earth ... this is the legacy we must carry forward: hope that defies hate. Love that defies loss. And the ties that hold us together through it all."

—First Lady Jill Biden speaking at the Flight 93 Memorial in Somerset County on Sunday, the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 attacks 
The upcoming fall election will be pivotal to the future of Pennsylvania, and Spotlight PA is delivering trusted, nonpartisan reporting, guides, events, and more to empower voters to make an informed choice at the polls. But this vital public-service journalism depends on your support.

We need to reach 500 gifts by Sept. 24, and as a special bonus, all donations will be DOUBLED. Help us reach this goal by making a contribution now.

Thank you to the 32 people who have given so far, including Jerry K., who said, "Love your non-partisan factual reporting." Join Jerry and give now »
» THE STATE OF PA ELECTIONS: Join us Thursday, Sept. 29 at 6 p.m. ET via Zoom for a free Q&A with Acting Secretary of State Leigh M. Chapman, who oversees elections in Pennsylvania. Chapman will discuss how her agency secures and runs elections, explain the state's voting policies, and answer all of your pressing questions ahead of Nov. 8. Register for the event here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org
» SPOTLIGHT PA: A complete guide to the 2022 Pa. governor's race
» INQUIRER: Oz rallies in Bucks Co. amid shift to suburbs (paywall)
» LNP: 'Election integrity' event preceded dropbox vote (paywall)
» NCPA: Important 2022 election dates, deadlines to remember
» ROLLING STONE: Mastriano prayed for power grab pre-Jan. 6
» WESA: Experts say Fetterman stroke impact remains unclear

Support Spotlight PA's vital election coverage by making a gift now.
Amish buggies at Weavertown Coach Shop in Bird-in-Hand, via Kim S. Send us your photos, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag @spotlightpennsylvania.
SCOTUS BRIEF: State Senate Republicans led by Majority Leader Kim Ward (R., Westmoreland) have filed a brief in support of a lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court that could sideline state judiciaries in election matters and concentrate power over elections in the hands of partisan lawmakers, per WITF. Spotlight PA explains the contested legal theory involved and what a favorable ruling could mean here.

STRIKE UPDATE: Hundreds of striking nursing home workers are set to return to the job with tentative deals reached between their union and employers, the AP reports. That includes 13 homes operated by Comprehensive Healthcare and Priority Healthcare and a 14th independently owned facility, Shenandoah Heights, in Schuylkill County. Spotlight PA has the backstory on the labor action

SNAIL MAIL: Special elections to fill two Philadelphia City Council seats left open by 2023 mayoral runs will coincide with the Nov. 8 general election and delay the delivery of mail ballots there by weeks, The Inquirer (paywall) reports. It will take at least a week to finalize candidate names and the special contests could not be called any sooner under state law. Mail ballots likely won't go out until October.

CHAPTER 11: A $2.46 billion reorganization plan will allow The Boy Scouts of America to exit Chapter 11 and settle decades of abuse claims by more than 80,000 people. Local councils will pay into the settlement with cash and property, including the sales of Elk Lick Scout Reserve in Smethport and the 900-acre Trexler Scout Reservation in Monroe County, The Buffalo News and WLVR report.

TOXIC HOMES: Lebanon City Police say a suspected meth lab explosion in an apartment injured at least two people there earlier this month, per ABC27. Spotlight PA reported in May that Pennsylvania does not require sellers or landlords to disclose a former drug lab or dump site to future buyers or tenants, and the only online federal database with such info significantly undercounts the number of sites.

FRACK STUDY: Thousands of families in southwestern Pennsylvania are being asked to participate in a University of Pittsburgh study examining a possible link between fracking and childhood cancer, per TribLIVE. The study is one of two happening under a $2.5 million state contract.

BEER MONEY: Alcohol sales could be coming to Beaver Stadium, the nation's second-largest college football arena. The Centre Daily Times (paywall) said a committee's recommendation could come today.

MAKING WAVES: About those record-high Jersey Shore water temps recorded last month: The Inquirer (paywall) says they weren't accurate after all. A government sensor suffered an "electronic failure."

DOG DAYS: The water was fine for the dogs of Allegheny County when they swarmed a public pool on Labor Day weekend, an end-of-season tradition that's as chaotic-looking as you'd imagine.

POST GRAD: Where are Pennsylvania college students going after graduation? This WaPo graphic says New York, D.C., and California.

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.

*Bonus: Guess this week's theme on Friday for an extra chance at winning a shipment of Spotlight PA swag.

Friday's answer: Profound

Congrats to our weekly winner: Mary Jo J.

Congrats to our daily winners: Michelle T., Craig W., Barbara F., John A., Susan D., Patricia M., Don H., Elaine C., Mike B., Bette G., Al M., Anna B., Wendy A., Jim A., Laura H., Marty M., Kim C., Judith D., Susan N.-Z., Warren D., Deb N., Beth T., George S., John W., Tish M., Daniel M., Keith F., Bernadette B., James B., Stanley J., fitch387, David W., Bruce B., Starr B., Ted W., John B., John H., Mark C., Dianne K., John P., Nancy S., Bill S., Eugene M., Kathy F., Sandy B., Doris T., Jody A., Irene R., David M., and John H.
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