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Taylor Swift-inspired ticketing reform has critics

Plus, Pa. lawmaker says Sen. Menendez 'must resign.'

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Tuesday, September 26, 2023
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In today's edition: Hot tickets, resignation calls, taxpayer-funded, States Project, emission checks, and a sad flamingo story. Help us continue this vital work by supporting Spotlight PA & your gift will be DOUBLED.
Pennsylvania lawmakers are weighing legislation that would restrict deceptive ticket sales practices on the heels of a summer of extreme sticker shock for concertgoers seeing the likes of Beyoncé and Taylor Swift.

But advocates warn the bills may have unintended consequences and actually reinforce Ticketmaster's industry monopoly. 

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Pa. bills to respond to Swiftie ticket woes could have unintended consequences, advocates warn.

THE CONTEXT: One bill would ban the use of bots to purchase tickets or other products, while another would restrict speculative ticketing, which is when a reseller markets tickets they do not own at the time of sale.

Critics argue that the bills may hurt concertgoers' ability to buy and sell tickets to their favorite shows on the secondary market. Supporters, Ticketmaster among them, say it's a leveling of the playing field for fans.

Resale platforms like Vivid Seats and StubHub, and trade groups that represent the tech industry strongly oppose the bills.

"A background check is a net. It’s not a bucket."

—Matthew Rodgers, founder of a California-based background screening company, on Penn Medicine's hiring of convicted con artist Larry Butler
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» Complete guide to the candidates for Pennsylvania Supreme Court

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» STORY FEST: Spotlight PA is participating in Philly Story Fest, a first-of-its-kind festival that brings together storytellers from across the city on one stage. Join us Thursday, Oct. 5 from 7-10 p.m. at the Bok building in South Philadelphia (1901 South 9th St.). Tickets are $25 and available here.

» PATH TO EQUITY: Join Spotlight PA for its first in-person summit on Wednesday, Oct. 11, from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Whitaker Center in Harrisburg. Spotlight PA is co-presenting this event with Color & Culture, a Pennsylvania marketing firm. Tickets are on sale at this link until sold out.

» ELECTION 101: Join Spotlight PA’s government reporters Kate Huangpu and Stephen Caruso on Thursday, Oct. 12 from 6-7 p.m. ET on Zoom for a free panel on Pa.’s 2023 judicial candidates. Register for the event here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org
An old lock on the Mifflin Trail at Swatara State Park, courtesy of Don H. Have a Pennsylvania photo to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
The stone walls of an old lock being taken over by plant life.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.'MUST RESIGN': Another Pennsylvania lawmaker is calling on U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D., NJ) to step down following his federal indictment on bribery and fraud charges. Capital-Star reports U.S. Rep. Summer Lee (D., Pa.) joined U.S. Sen. John Fetterman (D., Pa.) Monday in calling for Menendez to resign. U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle (D., Pa.) told CNN Sunday that Menendez deserves a chance to defend himself first.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.BIG BILLS: Fulton County taxpayers could be on the hook for nearly $500,000 in legal bills after local leaders were found to have violated a court order in a case involving 2020 voting machines and unfounded claims of fraud. The Public Opinion newspaper reports the new ruling came in "a three-day proceeding punctuated by opiate use, a pregnancy emergency and a smattering of antisemitic dog whistles."

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.POWER PLAYER: The States Project has spent $60 million electing Democratic state legislative majorities in battlegrounds like Pennsylvania, all in an effort to reverse decades of GOP dominance and steer key policy decisions on everything from voting rights to abortion, The New York Times (paywall) reports. In Pennsylvania, the group also shared policy goals with Democrats now in control of the state House.

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.
CAR TALK: Some Pennsylvania auto shops have used the same emissions testing tools for decades, as required under a 1997 state law meant to clean up the commonwealth's air. But many shops are now finding those tools — tailored for larger SUVs, vans, and trucks — difficult to come by. The Inquirer (paywall) reports that's set up a dilemma: scramble to find the right gear or put polluters back on the road.
Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.WATER WATCH: Pennsylvania will increase sampling for the toxic "forever chemicals" known as PFAS in hotspots identified by a recent federal study. The study found 76% of sampled rivers and streams in the commonwealth contain one or more classes of the chemicals. Wastewater treatment plants and electronics manufacturers are a primary source of that pollution here, per WHYY.
Join Spotlight PA for an exclusive event on equity and voting. Get your tickets now.

TWO A DAY: Amtrak will add a second daily round trip between New York City and Pittsburgh, via Harrisburg, by 2026 thanks to a deal between PennDOT and Norfolk Southern (which owns the tracks) and $200 million in federal grants, the Pittsburgh Union Progress reports.

WHILE IT'S HOT: Federal law says food stamps, or SNAP benefits, can't be used for hot food. The Inquirer (paywall) reports two U Penn grads found a workaround that they'll use in their new West Philly corner store. 

IN MEMORIAM: Tom Conway, president of United Steelworkers, has died at the age of 71, the union announced Monday. Conway was appointed to a White House trade committee in March.

CRASH DATA: State Farm Insurance ranks Pennsylvania number one in the U.S. for animal-vehicle collision claims, most involving deer, via Lehigh Valley News. One lawmaker thinks these wildlife crossings will help.

LOST BIRDS: Chambersburg's Public Opinion newspaper (paywall) has the story of two flamingos — mates blown off course and into Pennsylvania by Hurricane Idalia, then separated by a snapping turtle attack.

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: Abstention
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