Statehouse swarming with activists

  • Emily Previti

From The Context, PA Post’s weekday email newsletter:

When State Attorney General Josh Shapiro pledged during his campaign to prosecute oil and natural gas companies accused of “poisoning our air and drinking water,” some Pennsylvanians (myself included) were skeptical. But Shapiro is, in fact, doing what he promised. Reid Frazier’s deep dive for StateImpact Pennsylvaniaexamines Shapiro’s progress and a similar push by Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan. -Emily Previti, Newsletter Producer/Reporter

Gun rights supporters, anti-corruption demonstrators converge

State Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill, R-York, speaks during a Second Amendment rally on May 6, 2019, in the state Capitol.

Ed Mahon / PA Post

State Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill, R-York, speaks during a Second Amendment rally on May 6, 2019, in the state Capitol.

  • Capitol police had an extra room ready to store guns – which you can’t carry in the statehouse – in anticipation of a big crowd at a Second Amendment rally there yesterday. At the event, State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler, called to impeach Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto for signing firearms restrictions into effect in response to the mass shooting at the city’s Tree of Life synagogue last fall. Ed Mahonand Katie Meyer have full coverage for PA Post.

  • Meanwhile, anti-corruption demonstrators reached Harrisburg after a pilgrimage on foot that lasted as long as nine days for those who started out in Philly. March on Harrisburg formed during 2016 and is especially focused on banning gifts to state lawmakers (as provided in this bill introduced a few weeks ago), Katie reported in this advancerfor PA Post.

  • Big changes to Pennsylvania’s state and public school worker pensions are effective this year, in an effort to mitigate the commonwealth’s ballooning pension obligations. New hires have their pick of three retirement plans, all of which are partly or entirely structured like a 401(k)-style pension typical of the private sector, instead of the guaranteed benefit-type they got before. Legislators had to choose by the end of March — and just 20 opted for the 401(k) or hybrid plans, according to this PennLive analysis by Jan Murphy.

Best of the rest

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  • Pennsylvania lawmakers are considering criminalizing sexual extortion, or “sextortion,” which is coercing someone into having sex or producing sexual images or videos, by threatening harm or to withhold something of value. Basically, extortion. Except the perpetrator demands sex instead of money. Details here.

  • As state environmental regulators gear up to start methodically testing water for PFAS contamination, Jon Hurdle took a closer look at nationwide data on known contamination for StateImpact Pennsylvania. The 17 sites in Pa. are mapped here. An interactive national map is here.

  • WPSU’s Min Xian reports that the state Department of Education has announced how it’s divvying up nearly $40 million in school safety grants. This list breaks down how much is going to each recipient district, plus nearly $8 million more for community-based programs.


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