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How an update to Pa. law could help fire companies

Plus: Join us tonight for a free virtual panel on the corruption case rocking a small Pennsylvania city

This is Talk of the Town, a free weekly newsletter delivering top news from State College and the surrounding region.

January 25, 2024
Inside this edition: How an update to state law could help volunteer fire companies, charter school changes on the table in Pa., and a free panel on the corruption case rocking DuBois.

Real quick: Pennsylvania lawmakers have proposed letting nonprofits accept credit and debit card payments for small games of chance, which is currently illegal, Spotlight PA’s Marley Parish reports.

A little more: Pennsylvania’s volunteer fire companies rely on raffles and bingo to stay open, but state law prohibits them from accepting cashless payments for these small games of chance, a condition that limits their fundraising abilities and has some of them considering breaking the rules.

Several lawmakers have proposed legislation to fix the issue, saying the provision is outdated and prevents these groups from bringing in more money to keep the lights on.

When the COVID-19 pandemic halted in-person events, many fire companies shifted their fundraisers online and accepted cashless payments. Their efforts were successful, but some companies were told by their county treasurer that they could be violating their small games of chance license, and could face fines, or lose their permit altogether.

Part of the decision to go online might’ve stemmed from confusion over action in Harrisburg.

Lawmakers in the state House passed temporary allowances so these groups could accept payments via Venmo, PayPal, and Cash App during the health emergency. The proposal, however, was never approved by the state Senate.

Despite the law prohibiting credit and debit card payments for small games of chance, some nonprofits — including fire companies — still do it.

The full story: Read more here.


“Property taxes make up the majority of districts’ budgets, and many administrators testified [during education hearings] that charter payments are a big reason why property taxes must be so high.”

—State Rep. Pete Schweyer (D., Lehigh) on lawmakers considering significant changes to how charter schools are funded
» Justice Department expands claims against Pa. courts in opioid addiction treatment case

» Long-sought charter school changes on the table as Pa. lawmakers plot education funding overhaul

» Some deleted Pa. crime lab records ‘no longer accessible,’ State Police say

» Pa.’s broadband authority reverses position on key state law before new federal funding arrives

» What’s next for the Jan. 6th ethics complaint against Doug Mastriano

» Pa.’s outdoor recreation office identifies early priorities, but some specifics remain unclear

» RICHEST LITTLE CITY: Join us TONIGHT 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
🤔 Can’t attend your local town meetings but want to keep tabs on what’s happening? Sign up for the new Centre Documenters newsletter. 

Centre Documenters pays local documenters to attend and document government meetings in six undercovered townships across Centre County — Benner, College, Gregg, Halfmoon, Snow Shoe, and Spring.

You can find meeting notes at centredocumenters.org. Centre Documenters is also launching a texting service, allowing you to receive key takeaways and a link to meeting notes for a particular municipality or type of meeting. 

Read more about Centre Documenters here, and read the latest newsletter here.
The famous Wellsboro Diner covered with snow, captured by Matthew Stevens of High on the Mountain Photography.

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» CDT: Penn State planning $94M in cuts
» TribLIVE: PETA wants to replace Punxsutawney Phil with coin toss
» PennLive: Penn State’s Greek system 7 years after hazing death
» CDT: Pa. lawmakers hear concerns about highway connector project

» Sun-Gazette: Wage, business taxes helped Williamsport avoid shortfall
» Mirror: Altoona high school teachers accused of racism
Want us to list your event? Send it to us.

» Jan. 25: Centred Outdoors hosts the first of three full moon hikes at Rhoneymeade Arboretum in Centre County.

» Jan. 27: The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum in Potter County hosts Winter in the Lumber Camp, featuring sledding, snowman building, cross-country skiing, and more.

» Jan. 27: Take a guided walk by the lake at Canoe Creek State Park in Blair County.

» Jan. 27: Fun in the Snow at Black Mo celebrates winter activities — on the ice if weather permits — at Black Moshannon State Park in Centre County.

» Jan. 27: Bellwood-Antis Public Library in Blair County hosts its annual Sips & Snacks in the Stacks fundraiser.
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An anagram is a word, phrase, or name formed by rearranging the letters of another. For example, “spotlight” also forms “stoplight.”

Decode the anagram and send your answer to talkofthetown@spotlightpa.org. We’ll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA State College swag.

Good luck!

Last week’s answer: Teaching

Congrats to Barbie C., who will receive Spotlight PA State College swag. Others who answered correctly: Rena Z., Linda A., Kevin M., Hadley, Don H., Linda M., Leslie B., Jay H., Rick W., John L., and Leann T.
Do you have events, community shoutouts, questions about our region, or tips on stories that we should pursue? Email our team.
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