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Legislature

Pa. push for higher minimum wage getting maximum attention, little movement
https://www.pennlive.com/news/2019/12/pa-push-for-higher-minimum-wage-getting-maximum-attention-little-movement.html

House approves bill to keep violent offenders from early release
https://www.timesonline.com/news/20191219/house-approves-bill-to-keep-violent-offenders-from-early-release/1

Commutations can relieve costs of sick and aging prison population — and reverse decades of bad policy | Editorial
https://www.inquirer.com/opinion/editorials/life-without-parole-board-pardons-commutations-lifers-pennsylvania-john-fetterman-20191219.html

Killion’s criminal justice reform signed by governor
https://www.delcotimes.com/news/local/killion-s-criminal-justice-reform-signed-by-governor/article_d684a85f-ddae-5ce1-ae1b-bdc136f51128.html

Pa. reps hold late-night, impromptu Christmas piano concert at state Capitol
https://www.pennlive.com/life/2019/12/pa-reps-hold-late-night-impromptu-christmas-piano-concert-at-state-capitol.html

Lehigh Valley House Repubs Hahn, Simmons announce they’re retiring in 2020
https://www.penncapital-star.com/blog/lehigh-valley-house-repubs-hahn-simmons-announce-theyre-retiring-in-2020/

Lehigh Valley state Rep. Justin Simmons won’t seek re-election
https://www.lehighvalleylive.com/news/2019/12/pa-state-rep-justin-simmons-wont-seek-re-election.html

Candidates already circling two Lehigh Valley seats opening in state Legislature
https://www.mcall.com/news/pennsylvania/mc-nws-pennsylvania-house-openings-2020-election-20191220-u3gpfv7llvgbfa2uutqep3qxca-story.html

Business

Wawa hit with massive payment data breach at ‘all’ stores, CEO says
https://www.post-gazette.com/business/money/2019/12/19/wawa-security-breach-data-breach-sheetz-payment-data/stories/201912190207

Limo business run by Erie native sued by Pa. AG’s office for cheating customers
https://www.post-gazette.com/business/money/2019/12/19/Limo-business-Erie-Matt-Barnes-sued-pennsylvania-attorney-general/stories/201912190172

‘No turning back’ as Erie Coke ends operations
https://www.dailylocal.com/news/local/thousands-of-gifts-distributed-to-veterans-at-coatesville-va/article_60b0e4f0-2283-11ea-8920-c3f298652193.html

Crime/Punishment

Pennsylvania takes more steps to reduce prison population
https://www.post-gazette.com/news/state/2019/12/19/Pennsylvania-takes-more-steps-to-reduce-prison-population/stories/201912200047

Education

Pennsylvania is a national leader in wrestling, so why is it falling behind with girls’ teams?
https://www.pennlive.com/highschoolsports/wrestling/2019/12/pennsylvania-is-a-national-leader-in-wrestling-so-why-is-it-falling-behind-with-girls.html

Scranton High students frustrated with impeachment, political divide
https://www.thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-high-students-frustrated-with-impeachment-political-divide-1.2573532

Don’t rush appointment
https://www.thetimes-tribune.com/opinion/don-t-rush-appointment-1.2573400

Anonymous letter makes accusations about five Pleasant Valley basketball players
https://www.mcall.com/sports/varsity/basketball/mc-spt-pleasant-valley-commentary-20191219-c3kqljp5fvfahcg76olalzfhlm-story.html

Students warm up to winter with new coats and smiles
https://www.timesleader.com/news/766517/students-warm-up-to-winter-with-new-coats-and-smiles

Legacy of ‘The Defender’: Coats/shoes giveaway benefits third graders
https://www.timesleader.com/news/766523/legacy-of-the-defender-coats-shoes-giveaway-benefits-third-graders

Driver fired after leaving 7-year-old Leechburg student on bus
https://triblive.com/local/valley-news-dispatch/driver-fired-after-leaving-7-year-old-leechburg-student-on-bus/

Elections/Politics

The campaign-trail clash between Buttigieg and Warren spills into the 6th Democratic debate
https://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-nation/2019/12/19/Democratic-debate-tonight-December-2020-presidential-candidates/stories/201912190219

Key takeaways from Democratic presidential debate
https://www.inquirer.com/news/nation-world/democratic-presidential-debate-trump-los-angeles-trump-20191220.html

CNN’s feed of Democratic debate goes dark in China when candidates mention human rights
https://triblive.com/news/politics-election/cnns-feed-of-democratic-debate-goes-dark-in-china-when-candidates-mention-human-rights/

Michael Bloomberg just landed his first Pa. endorsement: former Philly Mayor Michael Nutter
https://www.inquirer.com/news/mayor-michael-nutter-endorses-michael-bloomberg-campaign-chair-2020-democrats-20191220.html

Health Care

What’s next: Patients insured through Obamacare worry after court ruling
https://www.post-gazette.com/business/healthcare-business/2019/12/19/obamacare-affordable-care-act-unconstitutional-appellate-court-ruling/stories/201912190184

Troubling health care trend: They have medical insurance but can’t use it because of high deductibles
https://www.mcall.com/health/mc-hea-high-deductible-plans-20191220-lbdncb5w6bdf3lpsg3klv6ftni-story.html

Local News

Scranton property taxes to rise 2.4% after mayor declines budget veto
https://www.thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-property-taxes-to-rise-2-4-after-mayor-declines-budget-veto-1.2573335

Scranton Sewer Authority close (or not) to resolving lawsuit over missing easements
https://www.thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-sewer-authority-close-or-not-to-resolving-lawsuit-over-missing-easements-1.2573537

Controversial drug treatment center to open pending court ruling
https://www.thetimes-tribune.com/news/controversial-drug-treatment-center-to-open-pending-court-ruling-1.2573397

Humane Pennsylvania gives away more than 1,000 pet beds in Reading and Berks
https://www.readingeagle.com/living/berks-pets/humane-pennsylvania-gives-away-more-than-pet-beds-in-reading/article_eaa85028-22ae-11ea-b09c-1786eb095818.html

Cups of Compassion offers help to those in need
https://www.readingeagle.com/news/cups-of-compassion-offers-help-to-those-in-need/article_42487024-2278-11ea-a994-6754fd369cf1.html

Berks County commissioners bid farewell to outgoing colleague at final meeting of 2019
https://www.readingeagle.com/news/local/berks-county-commissioners-bid-farewell-to-outgoing-colleague-at-final/article_69259eb4-2283-11ea-a738-03c828473686.html

Officer’s bullet went ‘through and through’ and Robeson man ‘extremely lucky’ in confrontation, top Berks County detective says
https://www.readingeagle.com/news/officer-s-bullet-went-through-and-through-and-robeson-man/article_6b4e7bcc-2295-11ea-b799-93dd23c86565.html

Arnold high-rise residents like police foot patrols through buildings
https://triblive.com/local/valley-news-dispatch/many-arnold-high-rise-residents-like-police-foot-patrols-through-the-buildings/

Westmoreland County’s 2020 budget brings 1st tax increase in 15 years
https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/westmoreland-countys-2020-budget-brings-first-tax-increase-in-15-years/

Westmoreland prosecutors, defense attorneys will get raises
https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/westmoreland-prosecutors-defense-attorneys-will-get-raises/

Substantial increase for Head Start in the works
https://www.timesleader.com/news/766510/substantial-increase-for-head-start-in-the-works

Wilkes-Barre city council approves grant applications, says goodbye to one of its own
https://www.timesleader.com/news/766525/wilkes-barre-city-council-approves-grant-applications-says-goodbye-to-one-of-its-own

CASA welcomes largest graduating class of advocates
https://www.timesleader.com/news/766467/casa-welcomes-largest-graduating-class-of-advocates

No confidence: Northampton County election board ‘extremely disappointed’ in machines it selected
https://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-nws–20191220-xrkqrrokfrgzlc3lglpn5nf5fe-story.html

Milton Hershey, Joe Paterno inspired ex-NFL player’s quest for ‘eco-village’ at old Bishop McDevitt school
https://www.pennlive.com/news/2019/12/milton-hershey-joe-paterno-inspired-former-nflers-quest-for-eco-village-in-harrisburg.html

Historic Lower Merion mill building soon to be demolished for senior housing
http://www.mainlinemedianews.com/mainlinetimes/historic-lower-merion-mill-building-soon-to-be-demolished-for/article_0aa17820-2262-11ea-88ab-c344c75964f5.html

DEP orders Aliquippa to better monitor drinking water contaminants
https://www.timesonline.com/news/20191219/dep-orders-aliquippa-to-better-monitor-drinking-water-contaminants

Thousands of gifts distributed to veterans at Coatesville VA
https://www.dailylocal.com/news/local/thousands-of-gifts-distributed-to-veterans-at-coatesville-va/article_60b0e4f0-2283-11ea-8920-c3f298652193.html

Agency gets big grant for shelter
https://www.altoonamirror.com/news/local-news/2019/12/agency-gets-big-grant-for-shelter/

National News

A shooting in Westerly, R.I., leaves 2 dead and 2 injured
https://www.post-gazette.com/news/crime-courts/2019/12/19/Westerly-shooting-2-shot-dead-2-injured-Rhode-Island-housing-complex-police/stories/201912190238

Attacking the poor: Thousands will lose food stamp benefits
https://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/editorials/2019/12/20/Attacking-the-poor-Thousands-will-lose-food-stamp-benefits/stories/201912130058

Natural Gas

U.S. Chamber of Commerce warns of ‘catastrophic’ consequences of a potential fracking ban in Pa.
https://www.penncapital-star.com/energy-environment/us-chamber-of-commerce-warns-of-catastrophic-consequences-of-a-potential-fracking-ban-in-pa/

New Jersey

Gov. Murphy signs hair discrimination bill inspired by South Jersey wrestler who had his dreadlocks cut
https://www.inquirer.com/news/nj-dreadlocks-wrestler-buena-hair-discrimination-bill-20191219.html

New Jersey enacts law allowing undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses
https://www.inquirer.com/news/new-jersey/new-jersey-immigrants-drivers-license-phil-murphy-20191219.html

Philly

Asbestos closes two more Philly schools, the 5th and 6th so far this year
https://www.inquirer.com/news/asbestos-philadelphia-schools-environmental-crisis-carnell-mcclure-20191220.html

Philly athletes Dajah Horsey and Malika Douglas show how athletics help girls fight back against food insecurity.
https://www.inquirer.com/high-school-sports/pennsylvania/a/food-insecurity-girls-hunger-sports-philadelphia-high-school-nutrition-20191220.html

Philadelphia Police Department needs democratic accountability, not secret arbitration | Editorial
https://www.inquirer.com/opinion/editorials/philadelphia-police-contract-fop-commissioner-arbitration-20191220.html

Philadelphia hepatitis data exposure posed ‘no risk to confidentiality’ because of Inquirer notification, city says
https://www.inquirer.com/news/health-hepatitis-opioid-data-breach-20191220.html

Two presumed dead after explosion in South Philly rowhouses
https://www.inquirer.com/news/south-philly-fire-explosion-building-collapse-passyunk-20191219.html

SEPTA aims to make passenger information at Regional Rail stations more consistent
https://www.inquirer.com/transportation/septa-regional-rail-king-of-prussia-extension-multilevel-cars-20191219.html

Justice uth Bader Ginsburg says her Philadelphia honor is ‘pure joy’
https://www.inquirer.com/news/rbg-ruth-bader-ginsburg-philly-supreme-court-justice-jewish-history-museum-award-20191220.html

Philadelphia property assessments won’t change much in 2021 after city scraps revaluation plans
https://www.inquirer.com/news/opa-property-assessment-value-2021-tax-rate-philadelphia-20191219.html

Philly cop recalls being shot in head; accused Tioga gunman Maurice Hill is held for trial
https://www.inquirer.com/news/maurice-hill-philadelphia-police-shootout-tioga-nicetown-preliminary-hearing-20191219.html

A Philly woman killed the boyfriend who’d threatened to put her ‘in the grave.’ A jury found her not guilty.
https://www.inquirer.com/news/philadelphia-letoya-ramseure-castle-doctrine-women-incarceration-20191219.html

Child grabs gun, shoots self in hand in Northeast Philly home, police say
https://www.inquirer.com/news/child-shot-handgun-tacony-northeast-philadelphia-20191219.html

Philly high school is fighting against new charter school that would be ‘in direct competition with us’
https://www.inquirer.com/education/kensington-health-sciences-public-school-charter-philadelphia-school-partnership-20191220.html

Giant Philly steam plant that heats City Hall, Museum of Art, and UPenn has a new owner
https://www.inquirer.com/business/pennsylvania-puc-approves-sale-veolia-philadelphia-steam-system-antin-20191219.html

Philly won’t complete 2019 assessment appeals by year’s end
https://www.penncapital-star.com/government-politics/philly-wont-complete-2019-assessment-appeals-by-years-end/

Pitt

Aviary announces $4 million events space and entryway
https://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2019/12/19/National-Aviary-announces-4-million-addition-pittsburgh-garden-room-eagle-hall/stories/201912190174

Pittsburgh, Allegheny County could make historic turn in next census
https://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2019/12/20/City-county-could-make-historic-turn-in-next-Census/stories/201912190198

Charges upheld against prominent protest organizer for Pizza Milano, Cafe Milano fires
https://www.post-gazette.com/news/crime-courts/2019/12/19/Charges-upheld-against-prominent-protest-organizers-for-Pizza-Milano-Cafe-Milano-fires/stories/201912190203

Hunt Armory, Lexington Technology Park projects advance
https://www.post-gazette.com/business/development/2019/12/19/Hunt-Armory-Shadyside-Lexington-Technology-Park-North-Point-Breeze-URA/stories/201912190206

Chief secretary sues city schools, says she’s been denied raises because she’s white
https://www.post-gazette.com/news/crime-courts/2019/12/19/Kristen-Frankovich-secretary-Pittsburgh-public-schools-lawsuit-discrimination-raises-promotions/stories/201912190155

White secretary at Pittsburgh Public Schools sues district, alleging racial discrimination
https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/white-secretary-at-pittsburgh-public-schools-sues-district-alleging-racial-discrimination/

Penn Hills police, firefighters free deer stuck in railing
https://pennhills.triblive.com/penn-hills-police-firefighters-free-deer-stuck-in-a-railing/

State News

Newtown native wins Miss America
https://www.buckscountycouriertimes.com/news/20191219/newtown-native-wins-miss-america

Transportation

3 exiting members make airport board meeting ‘bittersweet’
https://www.timesleader.com/news/766506/3-exiting-members-make-airport-board-meeting-bittersweet

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport hires new security
https://www.thetimes-tribune.com/news/business/wilkes-barre-scranton-international-airport-hires-new-security-1.2573398

Washington

Delco pols plot next steps in impeachment drama
https://www.delcotimes.com/news/local/delco-pols-plot-next-steps-in-impeachment-drama/article_234bf2ee-22a1-11ea-9a90-2b4e4cf9084c.html

Congress approves raising the age to 21 for e-cigarette and tobacco sales
https://www.post-gazette.com/news/health/2019/12/19/tobacco-age-21-Congress-raises/stories/201912190237

Is Judaism an ethnicity? A race? A nationality? With new order, Trump provokes an identity crisis
https://www.post-gazette.com/news/faith-religion/2019/12/19/Judaism-Jewish-ethnicity-race-nationality-dilemma-Trump-executive-order-identity-crisis/stories/201912190158

House votes to eliminate SALT deduction cap, offering relief to New Jersey and other high-tax states
https://www.inquirer.com/news/salt-trump-tax-federal-state-local-income-deduction-cap-20191219.html

House passes reworked North American trade deal in victory for Trump, Democrats
https://www.inquirer.com/politics/nation/house-passes-north-american-trade-deal-20191220.html

Former White House officials say they feared Putin influenced the president’s views on Ukraine, 2016 campaign
https://www.inquirer.com/news/nation-world/trump-putin-ukraine-influenced-elections-20191220.html

Bill to address surprise medical bills appears closer to being finished
https://www.pennlive.com/nation-world/2019/12/bill-to-address-surprise-medical-bills-appears-closer-to-being-finished.html