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Mastriano bills advance just in time for election

Plus, Spotlight PA’s comprehensive Election Center website.


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA

Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
September 26, 2022
Fall flurry, spending scrutiny, forensics test, subpoena statement, Krasner and King, Kennywood shooting, and UFO ID. It's Monday and Rosh Hashanah.
Bills covering Sept. 11 observances in schools, data-sharing about overdoses, and public access to financial records from state-related universities were all advanced last week in a flurry of well-timed legislative activity.

Spotlight PA reports each of the bills received bipartisan support, but they also all have the same name at the top: state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R., Franklin), the Republican gubernatorial nominee who will face Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro this November in a tightening race.

It's an open secret in Harrisburg that come fall in critical election years, bills backed by lawmakers in competitive races may take precedence — forcing minority party members to decide whether to support a bill that might align with their policy goals but would boost their political opponent.

Read the full report: Looming election jolts Harrisburg into action as Pa. lawmakers pass a flurry of bills, cash in on fundraisers

ELECTION CENTER: To help voters prepare for the Nov. 8 midterms, Spotlight PA has created a comprehensive toolbox. 

The free website includes key election dates, an interactive sample ballot, a campaign finance tracker, and a form for contacting our reporters.

Find the comprehensive 2022 Election Center website here.

Keep scrolling for more Spotlight PA election coverage.  

"District Attorney Larry Krasner has formally requested that 'hearings' scheduled by a Pennsylvania House Republican-controlled select committee be accessible to Philadelphia residents and that he, the political target of the committee, be permitted to attend and testify."

—Philly DA Larry Krasner's office on hearings set for this week in Philadelphia's Navy Yard, part of an ongoing impeachment probe
» 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
A quick guide to all of Spotlight PA's 2022 election coverage:

»  Spotlight PA launches 2022 Election Center website
»  Your complete guide to the candidates for governor
»  Where Mastriano, Shapiro stand on LGBTQ rights
»  How to vet the candidates on your midterm ballot
»  How Spotlight PA will cover Pennsylvania's 2022 election
»  Tell us what election coverage matters to you
»  How to serve as a poll worker on Nov. 8

En Español:

»  Su guía completa de los candidatos a gobernador

Support Spotlight PA's vital election coverage by making a gift now.
» AP: House GOP’s midterm agenda revealed in southwestern Pa.
» AXIOS: Oz releases health records, keeps focus on Fetterman's stroke
» DAILY BEAST: Inside the Fetterman campaign's 'bizarre bromance'
» FIVETHIRTYEIGHT: PA-7 race could decide control of U.S. House
» POST-GAZETTE: Guv race could foreshadow 2024 in Pa. (paywall)
Carnivorous Tarnok, a white-topped pitcher plant, at Stoneleigh in Villanova, via Don N. Have a cool image of your own to share? Send us your photos, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
BOARD BILLS: Penn State's Board of Trustees spent nearly $318,000 on travel, lodging, food, and other expenses related to its last six meetings, Spotlight PA's State College Bureau reports, the expenditures coming on the heels of last year's $127 million university deficit and amid related calls for belt-tightening. While it's common for boards to cover the cost of doing business, the revelation comes months after the board voted to raise tuition by 5%-6% to help increase revenue.

2020 REVIEW: A Michigan forensics company reviewed 2020 election materials in Fulton and Allegheny Counties and reported anomalies but did not claim evidence of fraud, WITF reports. The company, Speckin Forensics, which has ties to a widely discredited 2020 election review in Arizona, noted the limits of its investigation in Allegheny County, which was based on copies of documents obtained via a Right-to-Know request. Fulton County requested the review conducted there.

PUBLIC STATEMENT: State Rep. Dave Zimmerman (R., Lancaster) told a rally crowd that he turned off location services on his phone in an apparent effort to dodge federal authorities investigating attempts to overturn the 2020 election. LNP (paywall) reports the comment came during a rally for GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano in Harrisburg on Saturday. Zimmerman said he was among the lawmakers who received related subpoenas in Harrisburg last month.

'CLOSE TIES': Activist Shaun King, who spent years drawing the public's gaze to police shootings in Pennsylvania and beyond, is facing questions about how his nonprofit spent millions of dollars donated after the police killing of George Floyd. The Daily Beast outlines those concerns and the "exceedingly close political ties" between King, one of his PACs, and Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner.

PARK SHOOTING: Two teens and an adult were hit by gunfire at Kennywood on Saturday, raising questions about how a weapon made it past the Pittsburgh-area amusement park's metal detectors and security. Police say the shooting occurred during an altercation between two groups of juveniles, per TribLIVE. The victims are expected to recover. No arrests had been made as of Sunday evening.

TIL: Several of you reached out to take issue with my caption on this PA Gem photo in Thursday's edition, which implied goldenrod, an important fall pollinator, was the culprit behind my seasonal allergies. That would be ragweed, a close cousin with a highly potent allergy punch.

JOB POST: In July, Rutgers student Alex Davis posted a funny-but-searing YouTube takedown of NJ Transit's brain-breaking fare schedule and "worst in the nation" transit app. Apparently, they noticed. Davis is now a technical specialist intern for the transit system, according to his LinkedIn.

TOUR GUY: Next time you're in Pittsburgh, take a tour with "George" — a septuagenarian with a Soulja Boy ringtone, an encyclopedic knowledge of the city, a binder full of visual aids, and now a viral TikTok to his credit.

BEER BUYS: Penn State trustees have officially approved expanding the sale of alcohol at Beaver Stadium to all event attendees of legal age, not just those in luxury suites, per WJAC. It's unclear when sales will begin.

SKY LIGHT: The "UFO" spotted over NorristownLancaster, Berks, and King of Prussia over the weekend was actually a satellite-toting Space X rocket leaving Florida's Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. 

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.

Friday's answer: Bracketing

Congrats to our weekly winner: Cynthia R.

Congrats to our daily winners: Craig W., Kimberly B., Don H., Irene R., Becky C., Starr B., Judith D., Tom O., Samantha S., Elaine C., Al M., George S., Kimberly D., James B., Susan N.-Z., Jude M., Daniel M., fitch387, Dianne K., John A., Susan D., Judy M., Bill S., David W., Warren D., Stanley J., Jane R., Catherine J., Kathy W., and Theresa T.

Last week's theme: Photography

Congrats to Ed M. for getting it right and winning Spotlight PA swag. *There is no theme this week.*
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