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Pa. moves to formalize LGBTQ protections

Plus, SCOTUS will consider a case that could dramatically reshape the election landscape.

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Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
December 7, 2022
LGBTQ protections, election case, recount results, broadband map, Penn State protest, labor allegations, and a marathon comeback story. It's Tuesday.

Gov. Tom Wolf is backing a regulatory change that would formalize nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people while circumventing the legislature.

Under guidance released in 2018, a student, tenant, or worker at most businesses can file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission against their school, landlord, or boss if they think they’ve been discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

A little-noted proposal supported by Wolf, which is up for final approval before a state regulatory board Thursday, would formally adopt that guidance.

Read the full report: Wolf backs regulatory change that would formalize discrimination protections for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians.

THE CONTEXT: In 2018, the state’s Human Relations Commission said it would adopt an expanded definition of sex based on federal court rulings to encompass sexual orientation and gender identity.

The new proposal would formally adopt a definition of sex based upon the 2020 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, in which the court found 6-3 that existing federal law protected an employee from being fired just for being gay or transgender.

Even if the regulation is adopted, LGBTQ advocates are still urging state lawmakers to pass a bill to formally provide nondiscrimination protections to people based on sexual orientation and identity. 

Pennsylvania is the only state in the northeast without such protections on the books.

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Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.ELECTION THEORY: Oral argument is set for today in a U.S. Supreme Court case that could dramatically reshape the election landscape in states like Pennsylvania. The case, brought by Republicans upset with state courts weighing in on redistricting, could hand unchecked power over election law and maps to partisan lawmakers. Spotlight PA explains the fringe legal theory central to the case and why it matters.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.RECOUNT RESULTS: A court-ordered recount of in-person and mail ballots from four Westmoreland County precincts was completed on Monday and revealed a three-vote change from unofficial results released last month, TribLIVE reports. The recount comes amid an unprecedented wave of recount petitions that are exploiting an obscure section of state law and bogging down election works.

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.WEB MAP: Pennsylvania's Broadband Authority wants you to look at this map. It shows all broadband-eligible locations across the U.S. where high-speed internet is or could be. Capital-Star reports the authority, which oversees millions of federal dollars for broadband expansion here, makes allotments based on the accuracy of the maps and wants you to quickly vet the info listed for your home address

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.PSU PROTEST: A Penn State senior from Allentown is facing criminal charges and possible expulsion days before graduation in connection with October's protests against a Proud Boys event on campus. Bram Woolley was the only student charged. Protesters gathered outside (and inside) Old Main on Monday to decry the arrest and any potential discipline that might be handed down by the school.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.LABOR ALLEGATIONS: The federal Department of Labor has accused more than a dozen McDonald’s locations in the Pittsburgh area of allowing teens to work illegal hours, The Washington Post reports. Franchisee Santonastasso Enterprises has been fined $57,000.
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COMEBACK STORY: Decades after an assault derailed her New York City Marathon dreams, 68-year-old Passle Helminski of Erie conquered the race in just over eight hours last month. SI has a profile written before the run.

RESORT REDUX: Shuttered since 2014, Potter County's super steep Denton Hill ski spot is eyeing a comeback, per The Inquirer (paywall). The state owns the property and has an "Adventure Center" in mind.

RIVER RUNS: Voting is open for Pennsylvania's 2023 River of the Year. We wrote about the last winner, French Creek, and its starring role in one of the world's great athletic competitions for our PA Local newsletter.

CLICK CLACK: Amtrak says 30th Street Station's iconic flipboard — or clickety-clack display to technical jargonists — will grace the Philadelphia hub once again, but still only as a decoration, Billy Penn reports. 

DUBLY SOUND: In memory of Fleetwood Mac legend Christine McVie, TribLIVE recounts the wild story of a Pittsburgh concert promoter who booked the band in 1974 but got "Fakewood Mac" instead.

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: Colloquial

Congrats to our daily winners: Wendy A., Starr B., Irene R., John P., Hugh M., David S., Vicki U., Becky C., Joel S., btfoos, Mike B., Patricia M., Jon W., Judy M., Mark O., Susan D., Elvino M., Don H., Carolyn R., Michelle T., Ted W., Chuck M., Judith D., Beth T., Jane R., Kimberly D., Bruce H., Jodi R., Stanley J., Ted W., Susan R., Elaine C., Ronnee G., Tracy P., George S., Nancy S., Susan N.-Z., Ginny P., James B., David Woods, Mark C., Sandy S., Dianne K., Bill S., John B., Kevin M., Frederick H., Kim C., Laura H., and Nancy T.
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