As coronavirus hits home, Pa. GOP shifts messaging but still rejects mandates

By: Spotlight PA

HARRISBURG — Rep. Jim Rigby and his wife Kathleen considered themselves lucky when they said final goodbyes to her 89-year-old mother through a six-inch crack in a nursing home window.

Laura Oherrick was diagnosed with COVID-19 at the end of November at an assisted living facility in Bedford County. She died Dec. 5.

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Lawsuits contend Gov. Wolf has no authority to issue new restrictions

By: Paula Reed Ward

A Butler County attorney who previously won a federal lawsuit against the Wolf administration over the spring covid-19 shutdown orders filed two new suits over the governor’s most recent orders.

The lawsuits — one filed by the Butler Area School District and the other by two indoor water parks — allege that Gov. Tom Wolf took action prohibited under state law when, on Dec. 12, he issued orders closing entertainment venues, limiting indoor capacity to 10 people and prohibiting school students from participating in extracurricular activities and athletics.

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Mailed ballots, tight deadlines caused a crunch for Pa. elections officials. Now, comes the reckoning.

By: Spotlight PA

HARRISBURG — Just a week out from Nov. 3, Sara May-Silfee had hundreds of mail ballots from last-minute applications that she knew had to get to voters as soon as possible.

Instead of sending the ballots to a printing and mailing company to handle, the Monroe County elections director immediately mailed them from her office, and even drove some straight to voters’ homes.

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Gov. Tom Wolf halts indoor dining, suspends school sports as part of new restrictions

By: Megan Guza and Teghan Simonton

After weeks spent imploring Pennsylvanians to stay home as much as possible, limit their in-person interactions and wear a mask, Gov. Tom Wolf and the state secretary of Health issued new orders shutting down indoor dining, gyms, school sports and more as cases and deaths across the commonwealth continue to swell.

The order goes into effect Saturday and will last through 8 a.m. Monday, Jan. 4.

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U.S. Supreme Court denies Republican injunction request in Pa. mail-in ballot challenge

By: Paula Reed Ward

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday afternoon denied an attempt by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly and other Republicans to challenge Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting system.

The denial likely puts an end to the Trump campaign’s efforts to throw out the state’s election results that declared President-elect Joe Biden the winner.

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800 taxpayers affected by glitch in Pa’s collection of back state taxes

By: Jan Murphy

Roughly 800 taxpayers who are on payment plans to pay back personal income taxes owed to the commonwealth saw double payments withdrawn from their bank accounts last week due to a glitch in a Pennsylvania Department of Revenue system.

Revenue spokesman Jeff Johnson said instead of initiating one electronic transfer of funds from those taxpayers’ accounts, the department’s tax system double dipped.

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Remaining $1.3 billion in coronavirus cash to prop up Pa. state budget rather than help ailing industries

By: Ed Mahon

HARRISBURG — Against the pleas of restaurant owners, service providers, and other industries, Republican leaders in the legislature are moving forward with a plan to use all $1.3 billion in remaining coronavirus relief aid to pay for the state budget.

In order to avoid raising taxes or borrowing, the legislature intends to use the federal stimulus money to pay the salaries of state-employed public health and safety frontline workers, according to summary materials provided to House Republican members.

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