May 9: Hands-free driving

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👂 What we hear. Trump Media CEO calls for investigation into four companies, including: Jeff Yass Susquehanna International Group, involving their role in investor bets against the novel company.

🎸 Everyday Bruce. “Well, my soul checked if it was missing as I sat and listened, The hours and minutes flew by. Yes, I just sit and wait for my life to start while everything just slips away” – Better days

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The best story

1. PA will become the 27th state to ban the apply of cell phones while driving

“Pennsylvania will soon join 26 other states, including all contiguous states, in making it illegal to use a handheld cell phone while driving.

The bill allows a law enforcement officer to discipline a driver for using a mobile device without committing another traffic offense. Establishes a fine of $50 for violators. The ban would not apply for a year, and for the first 12 months the police could only issue written warnings. (PennLive)


Muhlenberg Poll: Race for White House and US Senate within statistical limits. “Less than six months before the 2024 general election, former President Donald Trump and incumbent Sen. Bob Casey have a percentage point lead over their opponents, according to the latest findings from the Muhlenberg College Public Opinion Institute.” (PoliticsPA)

Scott Perry calls the KKK the “militant wing” of the Democratic Party. “Perry also appeared to defend the so-called great replacement theory – the racist, white nationalist belief that white people are being intentionally replaced by minorities and immigrants in the United States and Europe, CNN reports. Perry added that migrants entering the country “have no interest in being Americans.”Questioner from Philadelphia)

Kamala Harris and Sheryl Lee Ralph of Abbott Elementary talk about reproductive rights during a visit to Philadelphia. “Vice President Kamala Harris entered the law for the first time as a prosecutor handling cases of violence against women and children. As she told an audience Wednesday at Salus University in Elkins Park, this is what drives her to defend reproductive rights and why she fights so hard against abortion bans that make no exceptions for rape and incest. (Philadelphia Tribune)


2. Biden nominates Saporito to serve as judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania

Józef Saparito

President Joe Biden announced the 49th round of federal judge nominations on Wednesday and was bookmarked Józef Saparito Jr. as his election to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Saparito has served as a United States Justice of the Peace on the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania since 2015 and has served as Chief United States Justice of the Peace since February 2024. (PolitykaPA)


PA school voucher program out of Senate committee. “Last year’s budget process was stalled by the inclusion of a school voucher program that many Democrats believed would take money away from public schools. These vouchers are now back on the menu.” (THAT’S IT)

AP House passes social media rules for kids amid free speech concerns. “A bill establishing rules for children’s use of social media passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Wednesday after extensive rewriting that addressed some, but not all, of the issues raised about young people’s privacy rights and potential violations of free speech.” (PennLive)

The House of Representatives has passed a bill covering trauma for first responders. “After several personal and emotional speeches, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed legislation providing traumatic injury coverage for first responders under the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act. ”(Penn Capital Star)

Proposed House AP rule change on incapacitated lawmakers leaves committee amid GOP protest. “A rule change that would create a new process for removing Pennsylvania House legislators who become incapacitated passed the committee along party lines on Wednesday, sparking vocal opposition from GOP leaders.” (Penn Capital Star)

State Rep. Jessica Benham walks through a day in the life of a home health care worker. “Showing every day, braiding her hair for church and maintaining some independence are some of the basic human dignity that Linda Stokes fears she will lose if she has to move to a senior living facility.” (Union Progress in Pittsburgh)

Around the Republic of Poland

3. Fewer absentee ballots are being rejected for technical reasons in Pennsylvania, which is a priority for election officials

Mailing envelopes for Pennsylvania 2024 ballots

“Pennsylvania elections officials said Wednesday that there was a significant decline in the percentage of mailed ballots rejected for technical reasons such as missing dates in last month’s primary election, as state officials again tried to help voters avoid errors that could result in throwing away their ballots.

Pennsylvania’s top election official, Secretary of State Al Schmidt, the counties in question saw a 13.5% decline in the number of mail-in ballots that were rejected for reasons the state attempted to address by sending a redesigned ballot envelope and absentee voting instructions. This decline was calculated relative to the 2023 primaries.” (AP)


A Luzerne County court dismissed Walsh’s appeal of six absentee ballots. “A three-judge panel of the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas rejected an appeal by Republican state representative candidate Jamie Walsh, in which he asked judges to throw out six absentee ballots in his race because voters failed to write the last two digits of the year on the outer envelope, according to with Wednesday’s court ruling.” (Leader of the Times)

York County Elections Director: It’s a hard job if you can stay at it. “This week, the revolving door that is the York County Elections Office turned again, with Julie Haertsch becoming the third director to resign since 2020.” (Shipment from York)

Penn State is offering to pay Commonwealth campus employees to quit their jobs amid budget cuts. “Temporary faculty, tenure-track staff, academic administrators, and full-time, non-tenure-track faculty who were hired before April 1, 2023 are eligible.” (PA reflector)

A candidate for the Dauphin County House of Representatives took advantage of a write-in slot on the fall ballot and won. “A Hershey ophthalmologist, despite her own party’s efforts to keep her out of the race, is the Democratic nominee for the state’s 106th House District seat in the Nov. 5 general election.” (PennLive)

Family conflict: lawsuit says Post-Gazette publisher wants to sell newspaper over brothers’ feud. “The publisher and editor-in-chief of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, John Block, wants to sell the newspaper as well as its parent company, Block Communications Inc., according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in an Ohio court.” (Grandstand overview)


4. What do you mean

  • Are you ready for another round of AP budget drama? (John Baer)
  • PA lawmakers must join other states in fighting the rise of exorbitant “hospital facility fees.” (Questioner from Philadelphia)
  • To save local pharmacies, the state must stop the middlemen. (Pittsburgh Postal Newspaper)
  • Governor Shapiro’s budget would aid families caring for people with disabilities. (Dr. Val Arkosh)
  • In Lawrence County, every vote really does count. (Pete Sirianni)
  • The culture of Republicans in the House of Representatives is skewed. (Brendan Buck)
  • Blocking voters you don’t like is a shameful American tradition (Mary C. Curtis)
  • Parents and children against politicians and teachers’ unions. (Guy Ciarrocchi)
1 item

5. The gift of time

Mother's Day: When is it celebrated and where does Mother's Sunday come from?  – BBC News

Because it’s Mother’s Day on Sunday, we have a free and procrastinator-friendly gift we can give to our mothers and caregivers: TIME.

Why it matters: The gift of time may look different for different moms. Erica Pandey of Axios I’m writing.

A mother of adolescent children may be looking for some free time – a day of relaxation away from constant parenting responsibilities. A mother of adult children may want to spend some quality time — a phone-free brunch or a long phone call, notes the NY Times.

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