Pennsylvania Bill Seeks to Compel State to Share Workforce Development Data Faster

Meeting at Work

State agencies across the commonwealth gather data on jobs, employment, and the economy — but they struggle to share it, hamstringing how useful it is.

Legislators have taken notice and are looking to compel some digital cooperation.

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New Plan Offers College Aid in Exchange for Pennsylvania Residency

Scott Martin

As the public awaits more details of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s higher education reform plans, Republican legislators offer some ideas of their own.

During a Wednesday press conference, a gaggle of House and Senate leaders pushed for the creation of a grant program that offers scholarships to students who commit to stay in Pennsylvania. They also want to launch a similar deal for out-of-state students to get in-state tuition if they put down roots in the commonwealth.

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Pennsylvania Road Closure Costing Residents Thousands in Tolls

Road Closed

The reopening of a three-mile section of Route 611 through the Delaware Water Gap – shut down since December 2022 due to rockslides – has been complicated by a combination of nature and red tape.

In the meantime, area residents pay tolls multiple times a day along a detour that crosses into New Jersey and business owners struggle to keep their doors open.

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California Disciplinary Judge Issues 128-page Opinion Disbarring Trump’s Former Attorney John Eastman

California Bar Disciplinary Judge Yvette Roland disbarred Donald Trump’s former attorney and constitutional legal scholar John Eastman.

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Feds Give Pennsylvania $244 Million for Mine Land Problems

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland

Pennsylvania’s orphan oil and gas well problem has gotten much attention in recent months.

So too has the commonwealth’s legacy of hazardous mine lands. Now, the federal government is sending hundreds of millions of dollars to deal with them.

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D.C. Bar Disciplinary Panel Makes Nonbinding Preliminary Determination of Culpability for a ‘Thought Crime’ in Disbarment Trial of Trump’s Former DOJ Official Jeffrey Clark

The disciplinary trial of Donald Trump’s former DOJ official Jeffrey Clark wrapped up on Thursday with the D.C. Bar’s disciplinary panel making a nonbinding preliminary determination that Clark was culpable on at least one of the two counts against him.

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During Jeffrey Clark’s Disbarment Trial, Cyber Security Expert Says Georgia’s 2020 Election Was Not ‘Conducted According to the Law’

The second and final week of the disbarment trial of Donald Trump’s former DOJ official, Jeffrey Clark, began to wind down on Wednesday with more testimony from operations security expert Harry Haury.

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Legal Documents Say Pennsylvania Union Funneled $1.8 Million into Lost Trust Fund

Correctional Officer

New legal documents filed recently in an ongoing union corruption case in Pennsylvania say officials funneled $1.8 million into a trust fund that’s yet to be recovered and then destroyed evidence of its existence.

The lawsuit, filed in 2020 by The Fairness Center on behalf of three workers at a state prison in Huntingdon, accused the treasurer of the local chapter of the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association of misappropriating $20,000 between 2009 and 2018.

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Former Fulton County Elections Official Explains Why He Voted Against Certification Twice During Jeffrey Clark’s Disbarment Trial

The second week of the disbarment trial of Donald Trump’s former DOJ official, Jeffrey Clark, resumed its second week on Monday. Clark, who is also a defendant in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ RICO prosecution, is being disciplined for drafting a letter that was never sent to Georgia officials after the 2020 election advising them of their options for dealing with the election illegalities.

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Forward Party Eyeing Official Recognition in Pennsylvania

Forward Party

A polarized America, increasingly dissatisfied with the current political duopoly and lack of choices, might open doors wide enough for third parties and independents to wield greater influence in elections.

Stepping into that space and gaining momentum is the Forward Party.

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Plan Set to Free Voter ID Bill in Pennsylvania

Voting Booths

A new plan set in motion on Monday could shake loose a constitutional amendment to enact universal photograph identification to vote.

House Republican leadership said letting the bill languish in committee ignores the popularity of the policy among voters, especially those anxious about election security.

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Feds Send $90 Million for Largest Pennsylvania Solar Project Yet

Solar Panels

The federal government is goosing Pennsylvania’s solar energy footprint, sending $90 million to create the largest solar project in the state on reclaimed mine land.

The project, in Clearfield County, will be almost twice as big as the large solar project in operation, estimated to produce more than 400 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 70,000 homes.

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Federal Solar Subsidies Race on in Pennsylvania

Solar Panel Installation

As Republicans and Democrats stay split over Pennsylvania’s energy future, solar advocates want to pocket federal subsidies before they’re gone.

At a House Environmental Resources and Energy hearing on Monday, some legislators worried about the loss of farmland, as well as solar energy growth happening only due to hefty government incentives.

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Conservative Publication Launches $1 Million Lawsuit Against Celebrity Pennsylvania Climate Scientist

Michael Mann

The National Review is suing Penn State climate celebrity scientist Michael Mann for $1 million. “We cannot recover the time and effort that Mann has wasted, but we can recover more than a million of the dollars that we have lost defending our unalienable right to free speech,” the Review’s editors wrote Wednesday.

Mann won a defamation suit against two conservative writers who had criticized his “hockey stick” graph, which other climate scientists have questioned. Mann and his colleagues say the research demonstrates a sharp rise in unprecedented temperatures in the past few decades.

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Pennsylvania’s Health Care Access ‘Still in the Dark Ages’

Doctor Patient

For an aging state that’s seen depopulation in the majority of its counties, Pennsylvania’s health care system struggles to meet the needs of its residents.

“Access to care is a crisis here in the commonwealth,” said Rep. Bridget Kosierowski, D-Scranton during a joint meeting of the Health and Professional Licensure Committees on Thursday. “We have lots of need and not enough providers.”

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Senator JD Vance Slams President Biden’s Order for the Military to Conduct an ‘Emergency Mission’ in Gaza

U.S. Senator JD Vance (R-OH) slammed the White House’s announcement that President Joe Biden will order the U.S. military to conduct an “emergency mission” to establish a port on the Gaza coast that can receive large ships carrying food, water, medicine, and temporary shelters.

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PennDOT Supports Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

Mike Carroll

The Shapiro administration said Monday it supports giving non-citizens driver’s licenses, following a trend across the Mid-Atlantic that posits the policy change as a safety measure.

“There are reports of over a dozen states that already allow non-citizens, including illegal immigrants, to obtain driver’s licenses,” Rep. Mike Cabell, R-Dallas, said. “Meanwhile, federal DHS policy stipulates that states could offer those with TPS (Temporary Protected Status) a Real ID.”

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DHS Secretary Mayorkas Denies Illegal Immigration Led to Murder of Laken Riley: ‘One Individual Is Responsible’

Alejandro Mayorkas With Immigrants

In a Sunday interview, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Alejandro Mayorkas denied a link between the murder of nursing student Laken Riley on the University of Georgia (UGA) campus and illegal immigration despite police charging a man who immigrated illegally from Venezuela with the killing.

Asked if there was a breakdown in the federal immigration system that allowed Venezuelan illegal immigrant Jose Ibarra to allegedly murder Riley, Mayorkas on Face the Nation cited his experience as a prosecutor and declared, “one individual is responsible for the murder and that is the murderer.”

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Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Hiring Dozens of Workers for Orphan Well Plugging Project

Jessica Shirley

Pennsylvania will receive hundreds of millions of dollars to plug defunct oil and gas wells that may pose health and environmental threats.

And now, the state’s existing program is getting more scrutiny for how it prioritizes projects and uses that money.

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Hunters Up, Harvest Down for Pennsylvania Black Bears

Black Bears

The black bear harvest declined to a 10-year low, according to state data, despite a dramatic spike in interest among hunters during that same time.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission announced that 2,920 bears were killed in the 2023 seasons, an 8% drop from the 3,171 bears taken in 2022. The recent high came in 2019 when 4,650 bears were killed by hunters, but most of the last decade has seen 3,100-3,700 bears taken every year.

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Pennsylvania Opioid Crisis ‘Not a Situation That Can Be Solved by the Police’

Joshua Lamancusa

Treating drug addiction is two-fold: one part is law enforcement reducing the supply and another is getting addicts the help they need to recover.

Such is what legislators heard during a House Republican Policy Committee on Thursday as Pennsylvania continues to deal with an opioid crisis that outpaces the rest of the country.

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Trump Campaign Has Outraised Biden Campaign in Pennsylvania

Donald Trump Joe Biden Pennsylvania Fundraising

Donald Trump (R) has raised the most money from Pennsylvania state of all presidential candidates, with $2.14 million raised since the start of the campaign cycle. Trump raised $502,595 in the fourth quarter of 2023. Joe Biden (D) has raised the next most from Pennsylvania, with $1.5 million since the start of the campaign and $943,704 in the fourth quarter.

Twenty-three notable presidential candidates, including those who have dropped out of the race, raised a total of $6 million from Pennsylvania donors between Jan. 1, 2023, and Dec. 31, 2023. Thirty-five notable candidates raised $47.6 million in Pennsylvania during the 2020 election cycle, while 25 raised $25 million during the 2016 election cycle.

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Pennsylvania Sends $6 Million for Homeless Services, Emergency Housing

Homeless Person

About two dozen grants totaling $6.3 million will go to 25 counties in Pennsylvania to combat homelessness.

The Emergency Solutions Grants, issued by the Department of Community and Economic Development, can be used for prevention, emergency rehousing, street outreach, emergency shelter, and related uses.

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Fani Willis Claims She Repaid Nathan Wade for Luxurious Vacations in Undocumented Cash Transactions

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade both testified Thursday in the first day of proceedings to determine if she should be removed from the prosecution due to their previously undisclosed romantic relationship.

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Pennsylvania Tax Credits Worth $400 Million Projected for Next Fiscal Year

PA Capitol

The use of tax credits and state subsidies has grown significantly in recent years, and the trend is expected to intensify in the near future.

A report from the Independent Fiscal Office noted that Pennsylvania awarded $857 million in tax credits in fiscal year 2022-23, and the IFO projects that $1.23 billion will be given away in 2023-24.

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Judge Warns Fani Willis Could Face ‘Disqualification’ in Trump Case Due to Nathan Wade Relationship

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee warned on Monday that District Attorney Fani Willis could face “disqualification” from prosecuting her case against former President Donald Trump as a result of her admitted relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade, who she appointed to oversee the case.

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Senator JD Vance Explains How Ukraine Aid Package is a ‘Future Impeachment Trap’ for Trump

Ohio U.S. Senator JD Vance (R-OH) joined Monday’s edition of Steve Bannon’s War Room to discuss the supplemental funding package currently being debated in the Senate and how it could be used as a tool to impeach former President Donald Trump if he were to be elected in November.

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Pennsylvania Democrat Warns of Losing Latino Voters to GOP

Nicarol Soto

A Democrat in the battleground state of Pennsylvania voiced concerns over her party increasingly losing Latino voters to the GOP ahead of the November election, Politico reported Friday.

Democrat Nicarol Soto of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, who ran an unsuccessful city council campaign in 2023, told the outlet that she’s seen signs of the voting bloc moving toward the Republican Party within her own family. Soto, who immigrated to Pennsylvania from the Dominican Republic, believes the shift is largely due to the community’s views on the economy and abortion, according to Politico.

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Pennsylvania Energy Policies Exacerbating Reliability, Blackout Concerns

Gene Yaw

Pennsylvania’s energy future isn’t only a question of renewables versus fossil fuels — it’s a question of whether the state can reliably provide enough energy to meet growing demand.

One problem is that power plants retiring is happening quicker than new, cleaner ones get built. The shuttering has been driven by state and federal rules to mitigate pollution, but getting projects approved and built takes years and years.

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High Court Brushes Up Against Constitutional Abortion Access

PA Supreme Court Justices

A recent state Supreme Court ruling side-stepped the question of constitutional abortion access in Pennsylvania, reviving discussion over a would-be ballot referendum mired in legislative gridlock.

Five justices said Monday the Commonwealth Court erred when it dismissed a 2019 case brought by seven abortion providers challenging Medicaid coverage restrictions first established in 1982 and upheld in 1985.

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Pennsylvania Wants to Bet Big on Outdoor Recreation

Nathan Reigner

Pennsylvania’s economic future, state officials think, means growing the outdoor recreation economy.

Such was the discussion during the Department of Conservation and Natural Resource’s advisory council meeting on Wednesday. The newly launched Office of Outdoor Recreation touted the industry’s impact, calling it responsible for $17 billion annually and 164,000 jobs.

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* Kari Lake Holds Press Conference Discussing Newly Resigned AZGOP Chair’s Financial Offer to Get Her Out of Politics

Kari Lake held a press conference on Rumble Wednesday evening to discuss revelations from a newly released recording of a conversation last March between herself and former Arizona Republican Party Chair Jeff DeWit, who was forced to resign after it came out. In the recording, DeWit is heard attempting to convince Lake to drop out of politics for a couple of years in exchange for a well-paying job, prompting an outcry that forced his resignation on Tuesday. Lake fielded questions from both reporters and other viewers during her talk, which lasted around half an hour.

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Almost 40 Percent of New Hampshire Voters are Unaffiliated, Can Vote in GOP Primary and Possibly Skew Results

With efforts to close New Hampshire’s presidential primary likely failing, the state’s primary could be determined by the state’s independent voters, who make up nearly 40 percent of the state’s electorate.

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Forward Party in Pennsylvania Targets More Local Victories

Andrew Yang

A growing dissatisfaction with America’s two-party system might make voters more open to supporting an alternative candidate this year – something the Forward Party is banking on. 

Forward’s current goals are to get candidates on the ballot in swing states like Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, and achieve official party status – both statewide and nationally.

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Fulton County DA Fani Willis Under Fire for Paying Alleged Married Lover to Prosecute Trump, Bar Complaint Filed

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is prosecuting former President Donald Trump and others connected to him, is facing accusations she violated ethics rules by appointing her married lover as chief prosecutor on the case.

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Pennsylvania Funds $40 Million to Replace Diesel Trucks with EVs

The diesel-to-electric vehicle conversion continues as Pennsylvania coughs up the funds for localities and trucking companies to make an upgrade.

The Department of Environmental Protection announced on Wednesday $40 million in grants to 16 applicants to replace aging diesel vehicles with EVs.

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National Park Service Backtracks on Removing Beloved Pennsylvania Statue After Widespread Ridicule

William Penn

The National Park Service reversed its decision to remove a famous statue from Welcome Park in Philadelphia, according to a Monday statement from the agency.

A statue of William Penn, who founded the then-colony of Pennsylvania in 1681 and played a significant role in American politics, will not be removed from Welcome Park after deliberation from the National Park Service, accordingto The Associated Press. The agency first planned to remove the statue as part of “rehabilitation” efforts for the park, but backpedaled on that commitment after public backlash.

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Family of Ashli Babbitt Files $30 Million Lawsuit Against the Government over Her Death on Jan. 6

The family of Jan. 6 protester Ashli Babbitt has filed a $30 million wrongful death lawsuit against the government, saying she posed no threat to anyone when she was killed. 

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‘I Actually Feel Quite Valued’: Mentorship Program Works to Retain New Teachers

Teacher and Students

Jack Fredericks is investing in new teachers because he wants to help them stay in the classroom for the long haul.

He serves as the program coordinator for the new teacher mentorship program in the West Tallahatchie School District, something he worked with his superintendent to create after researching mentorship as a Teach Plus Mississippi policy fellow. 

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Pennsylvania Representative’s Candidacy Subject of 14th Amendment Lawsuit

Scott Perry

A new lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania asks the state court to scrub Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Perry from the upcoming primary ballot.

Gene Stilp, a Harrisburg-based activist, filed the legal challenge in Commonwealth Court on Tuesday, claiming Perry – who represents the 10th Congressional District in south-central Pennsylvania – violated the Constitution’s 14th Amendment for his support of 2020 election fraud “conspiracy theories.”

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Unmasking DeWine: Ohio Journalist Jack Windsor Dissects Shocking Veto and Its Potential Ripple Effect on 2024 Senate Race

Ohio journalist and entrepreneur Jack Windsor joined host Michael Patrick Leahy on Monday’s episode of The Tennessee Star Report to discuss the connections and divides behind the shocking decision by Governor Mike DeWine to veto measure that would prohibit genital mutilation of children and transgender males competing in girls’ sports.

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Former Ohio Gubernatorial Candidate Renacci Says Governor DeWine is ‘Not a Republican’ Following Veto of House Bill 68

Former Ohio gubernatorial candidate and U.S. Representative Jim Renacci has denounced Governor Mike DeWine’s decision to veto House Bill 68, saying such legislation is “the easiest bill for a Republican Governor to sign.”

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Pennsylvania Rural EMS Agencies Fight the Drug Scourge as They Lose Workers

EMT

Rural EMS agencies respond to, and train for, more drug-related calls. But they can’t always get people the help they need.

In northwest Pennsylvania, Elk County EMS has had training sessions to learn more about drug use as a disease and how to use overdose-reversal drug naloxone (also known as Narcan).

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Year in Review: Pennsylvania Energy Policy

Fracking Drilling

Pennsylvania has had a significant year for energy development, with hundreds of millions of federal dollars coming into the commonwealth.

Though the status of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the first mandatory market-based program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the United States, remains mired in a legal fight, hydrogen hubs and natural gas have kept legislators and the public busy.

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Worker Discrimination Lawsuit Against Union Argued in Pennsylvania Court

AFSCME Members

The Commonwealth Court recently heard arguments in a case regarding a state worker and the public sector union she says discriminated against her during an employer dispute.

The lawsuit, filed in May 2021 by the Fairness Center, alleges Council 13 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, violated its duty of fair representation when it negotiated an unfavorable settlement without the consent of the worker it involved, Penny Gustafson.

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Pennsylvania Senators Earmark $1 Million for LGBT Center Hosting ‘Anti-Capitalist’ Financial Planner

PA Senators

Pennsylvania Democratic Sens. John Fetterman and Bob Casey sponsored an earmark in the next year’s fiscal budget for a community center that plans to host an “anti-capitalist” financial planning class.

The senators sponsored the inclusion of $1,00,000 in funding for the William Way LGBT Community Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for the purpose of renovations and expansions into the Senate Appropriations Committee fiscal budget for 2024, according to a report from the committee. The center provides a number of services to the community, like peer counseling and resources for transgender individuals, and will host a series of anti-capitalist financial workshops starting on Feb. 22, according to the center’s website.

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Inside the Federal Probe of Pitt’s Fetal Organ Harvesting Program

University of Pittsburgh

A federal probe may reveal violations of law in the University of Pittsburgh’s testing of body parts from aborted babies, according to a pro-life organization monitoring the school’s program.

The U.S. government began investigating the University of Pittsburgh’s protocols in its program to harvest fetal organs, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal. 

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Republican State Lawmakers Block University of Pennsylvania Funding over Antisemitism Response

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted down legislation Wednesday providing over $33 million in state funding for the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) veterinary school due to concerns about antisemitism on campus, according to The Associated Press.

Former UPenn President Liz Magill stepped down alongside Scott Bok, the chairman of UPenn’s Board of Trustees, on Dec. 9 after the university faced heavy criticism for UPenn’s handling of antisemitism on campus and Magill’s testimony to Congress earlier this month. The state’s House of Representatives passed the funding measure in the first two votes but failed to clear the necessary two-thirds majority required by the state’s Constitution, according to the AP.

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