Supporting Pa.’s most vulnerable — or not

Domestic violence, lead testing, ICE detention, food stamps

  • Emily Previti/PA Post
We’ll find out later today what went wrong with Northampton County’s voting machines on Election Day. Representatives from ExpressVote XL manufacturer ES&S say they’ll explain it all at a press conference scheduled to start at 1 p.m. I’ll be there, so follow me for updates. And check back for stories not only on Northampton’s machines – but also about the state’s response to allegations that its certification of the XL violated the settlement agreement that triggered the replacement of voting machines statewide. -Emily Previti, PA Post Reporter

Ed Mahon / PA Post

A quilt hangs in the office of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, outside Harrisburg, on Nov. 20, 2019. (Ed Mahon / PA Post)

  • Nearly every police department in Chester County now uses an 11-prompt questionnaire to guide interviews with suspected domestic violence victims. The Lethality Assessment, as it’s known, takes 5-10 minutes for an officer to complete, and there’s evidence that it’s effective in helping victims stay safe. Despite that evidence, the tool isn’t being used by the Pa. State Police, and for reasons DV advocates say often amount to excuses. Ed Mahon pushed for more answers in this story for PA Post.

  • More than two-thirds of Philadelphia’s charter schools ignored requirements to test their drinking water for lead, according to a new investigation by WHYY’s Ryan Briggs and Avi Wolfman-Arent. The main reason seems to be that city officials hadn’t been enforcing their own ordinances — nor did they have plans to do so — before Avi and Ryan called them. Full story, including graphics, is here.

  • Pa. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale says ICE has twice refused his requests to tour the Berks County Residential Center. “No one being held at the Berks facility is facing any criminal charges, but the center still essentially functions as a jail where adults and children, sometimes mere babies, are detained,” DePasquale told reporters Wednesday, when his office released a report on the immigration detention facility. Brett Sholtis has the details in this WITF story. The Berks County Commissioners chairman isn’t taking DePasquale’s side on this issue. The Reading Eagle has that story.

  • Hundreds of thousands of Pensylvanians — maybe more — who currently rely on food stamps (aka SNAP benefits) could lose the benefit under pending federal rules and proposals. How many, exactly, are at risk depends on which standard ends up taking effect. The Associated Press’s Marc Levy breaks each one down here.

Best of the rest

Joanne Cassaro / WITF

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, right, speaks with Scott LaMar, host of WITF’s Smart Talk, during a live broadcast at the Governor’s Residence in Harrisburg on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. (Joanne Cassaro/WITF)

  • Gov. Tom Wolf says he wouldn’t accept an offer to be the Democratic presidential nominee’s running mate next year, telling SmartTalk host Scott LaMar yesterday that he “doubt[s] anyone would ask.” But as WITF’s Lisa Wardle writes: “Wolf won re-election in 2018 with a 17-percentage point lead over Republican Scott Wagner, a former state senator from York County. Because of that popularity and the fact Pennsylvania is considered a crucial battleground state, Wolf’s name has surfaced a few times in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election.” Read Lisa’s story here, or listen to the governor’s chat with Scott in its entirety.

  • Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman declared Pennsylvania “the single most important swing state” and downplayed the notion that Democrats’ big wins in the 2018 midterms guarantee that Pa.’s “blue wave” will continue into 2020. He made those remarks during a Tuesday interview on Katy Tur’s MSNBC show, which PennLive’s Ron Southwick summarizes in this post. The network news interview was another high-profile appearance for the former mayor of Braddock, pop. 2,200, as rumors of another Senate bid keep swirling (which Fetterman has continued to fuel himself, like in this 2017 interview with City & State PA).

  • Fetterman’s national TV cameo happened in Hershey ahead of President Trump’s campaign rally, which happened just hours after House Democrats announced two articles of impeachment against him. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s editorial board says the House should vote to approve those two articles. And the editorial board says it’s paying attention to what Philly-area lawmakers do when the vote comes: “All eyes should be on two local lawmakers, Jeff Van Drew, a Democrat from New Jersey who voted against an impeachment inquiry, and Brian Fitzpatrick, a Republican who has shown a propensity for challenging the party line. Both need to step up on the impeachment vote – if not to punish abuse of power, then to affirm Congress’ standing as a coequal branch of government.”

  • In his Tuesday night speech, President Trump took shots at Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner. Yesterday, Krasner fired back: “He is rallying rural sections of the state to despise everything that Philadelphia is — a city of immigrants, a city that is very diverse, and a city that rejected him by 85% of the vote last time he ran. He’s doing so because he is afraid. He’s doing so because he is politically weak.” Read more from The Philadelphia Inquirer.


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