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Utilities oppose expanded shut-off protections

Plus, gun bills advanced by Pa. House panel.

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A daily newsletter by The logo of Spotlight PA, an independent, nonpartisan newsroom producing investigative journalism for Pennsylvania.
Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen

Thursday, January 18, 2024
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Join the PA Chamber's legislator's forum on Jan. 24.
Today: On notice, tax credits, another budget, missed payments, Senate scrutiny, McCormick challenger, and a commemorative Clemente coin.

Pennsylvania lawmakers have until the end of the year to reauthorize a law that shields people from winter utility shut-offs.

Consumer advocates are using the opportunity to make a case that the law favors companies over households, and they’re pitching changes that would extend shut-off moratoriums into the summer months as well.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Utility shut-off protections in Pa. would be expanded to summer months under proposed legislation.


"It doesn’t make a lot of sense to be conditioning a military campaign engaged in by an ally."

—U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) on a resolution placing new conditions on U.S. military aid to Israel; the resolution was tabled in a 72-11 vote

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GRADING SHAPIRO: Join us at 6 p.m. today to grade Gov. Josh Shapiro’s first year in office with our expert reporters and one of the state’s top pollsters. This is an exclusive event for Spotlight PA members, but you can join by making a tax-deductible gift of any amount now. We’ll send you a special RSVP link once we receive your gift.

RICHEST LITTLE CITY: Join us Thursday, Jan. 25 from 6-7:15 p.m. on Zoom for a free panel on the corruption case rocking this small Pennsylvania city and how local government can protect against wrongdoing. Register for the event here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org

A snow day with dark blue skies in Chester County, via Sue B. Have a Pennsylvania photo to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

dark blue skies with slight pink over a backyard covered in snow
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.TAX SEASON: Congress is eyeing changes to the federal child tax credit aimed at growing how much low-income families can receive. In December, Pennsylvania dramatically expanded its child and dependent care tax credit. Here's what that means for filers.
  • RELATED: Applications now open for Pennsylvania's expanded Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program, via WPVI.
Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.BUDGET #2: Fresh off the finalization of Pennsylvania's delayed 2023-2024 state budget, Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro is previewing his priorities for the next one ahead of a February budget address, PennLive reports. Among them: more money for police and schools.
  • RELATED: Shapiro wants new 'assault weapon' limits; a bill banning future sales is on the move in the state House, via the AP
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.'DEVASTATING' DELAYS: Some Philadelphia homeless shelters have gone months or years without being paid by the city, even as the city's Office of Homeless Services reported spending millions more than it was budgeted, The Inquirer (paywall) reports.
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.WALKAWAY DEATHS: U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) is pressing the nation’s three largest assisted-living chains for information after WaPo (paywall) reported nearly 100 older adults have died over the past five years after leaving facilities unnoticed or being left outside.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.GOP CHALLENGE: Conestoga official Brandi Tomasetti plans to challenge the heavily endorsed Dave McCormick for the GOP's U.S. Senate nod. McCormick is raising big and spending big on his campaign. A pro-McCormick PAC is raising millions more.
TREE OF LIFE: Demolition work has begun on Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue, the site of 2018's massacre, to make way for a new museum.

GET SERIOUS: PennDOT won't be allowed to make its highway notices funny come 2026 under a new federal law, TribLIVE reports.

BEER BUMP: The first full year of beer sales at Beaver Stadium coincided with a related revenue jump of $1.78 million, per StateCollege.com.

45 YEARS: Eighty-four-year-old Dot Sharp retired after 45 years with a McDonald's in Gibsonia. Big Macs were 90 cents when she started.

CLEMENTE COIN: A New York congressman wants a new coin honoring Pittsburgh baseball legend Roberto Clemente, via NYT (paywall). 
Are you a Berks County resident? We're seeking community input! Join one of our upcoming Spotlight PA - Berks County listening sessions:

Jan. 23: 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Fleetwood Public Library | Register Here

Feb. 21: 5:30-7:30 p.m. at West Lawn-Wyomissing Hills Library | Register Here

A listening session is an informal, small-group discussion in which we are seeking your thoughts, opinions, and concerns on local news coverage, information access, community information needs, and news consumption habits. Visit spotlightpa.org/berks for more information.
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: Icebreaker

Congrats to our daily winners: Ted W., Jane R., Bob C., Kevin M., Barbara F., Daniel S., Julie K., Jessica K., Lynne E., Susan N., Kimberly D., Don H., Craig E., Starr B., Beth H., Eric F., Stacy S., Jody A., Richard A., Stanley J., Alan B., Kim C., Emilee S., Elaine C., Daniel M., Sherri A., Tish M., Wendy A., Tom M., Jeffrey F., David W., and William Z.
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