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Legislature

From sales tax relief to grants, Pa. lawmakers propose ideas to help restaurants amid COVID-19 crisis
https://www.pennlive.com/coronavirus/2020/12/from-sales-tax-relief-to-grants-pa-lawmakers-propose-ideas-to-help-restaurants-amid-covid-19-crisis.html

Pennsylvania should let restaurants keep sales tax to help them stay afloat
https://www.mcall.com/opinion/mc-opi-pennsylvania-restaurants-shutdown-sales-tax-muschick-20201222-7uabn52mpnesnez5ntzaof2tc4-story.html

Some restaurant owners, local officials call for keeping dining rooms open
https://www.post-gazette.com/life/dining/2020/12/22/COVID-19-restaurant-dining-rules-Allegheny-County-southwestern-PA-rights-rally/stories/202012210131

Restaurant and bar owners decry Gov. Tom Wolf’s orders, encourage others to open
https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/restaurant-and-bar-owners-decry-gov-tom-wolfs-orders-encourage-others-to-open/

Pa. Senate GOP leader calls for a special committee to review 2020 election
https://www.pennlive.com/elections/2020/12/pa-senate-gop-leader-calls-for-a-special-committee-to-review-2020-election.html

Senate GOP leader proposes special panel to review 2020 election
https://www.penncapital-star.com/election-2020/senate-gop-leader-proposes-special-panel-to-review-2020-election/

Baker to serve on election integrity and reform committee
https://www.timesleader.com/news/813862/baker-to-serve-on-election-integrity-and-reform-committee

Reform of secrecy law for Pa. utilities faces long odds despite agreement that it’s a problem
https://www.inquirer.com/politics/pennsylvania/spl/mariner-east-pipeline-csi-act-pennsylvania-public-information-secret-20201222.html

Shusterman secures $10 million in grants in her first term
https://www.dailylocal.com/news/coronavirus/shusterman-secures-10-million-in-grants-in-her-first-term/article_0f0154ee-43b8-11eb-9b0d-97587e12f99d.html

We should be fired up about Scrooge-like $600 federal stimulus checks and Pa.’s bungling of housing aid | Jenice Armstrong
https://www.inquirer.com/opinion/stimulus-check-600-rent-mortgage-relief-cares-act-jenice-armstrong-20201221.html

Oakmont councilwoman resigns borough post to join state House
https://triblive.com/local/valley-news-dispatch/oakmont-councilwoman-resigns-borough-post-to-join-state-house/

Coronavirus – COVID-19

Pennsylvania to release COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan
https://www.post-gazette.com/business/healthcare-business/2020/12/21/Allegheny-ranks-third-COVID-19-hospitalizations-Rachel-Levine-health-department/stories/202012210086

As vaccines roll out and holidays approach, cases continue surge in NEPA
https://www.thetimes-tribune.com/news/coronavirus/as-vaccines-roll-out-and-holidays-approach-cases-continue-surge-in-nepa/article_cd8aa6a1-583c-54ff-ab35-98d7cad3a5c0.html

Health officials launch online form to speed covid case investigations
https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/health-officials-launch-online-form-to-speed-covid-case-investigations/

Risk of community spread of COVID ‘substantial’ in all Pennsylvania counties
https://www.readingeagle.com/coronavirus/risk-of-community-spread-of-covid-substantial-in-all-pennsylvania-counties/article_b3f0fa16-43a1-11eb-9fe8-0b7e8a778801.html

Some local employers unsure about mandatory vaccinations
https://www.citizensvoice.com/news/coronavirus/some-local-employers-unsure-about-mandatory-vaccinations/article_f679ded1-973b-5a62-a664-5b6ff3bf9fab.html

Reading Hospital health care workers receive first doses of COVID vaccine
https://www.readingeagle.com/coronavirus/reading-hospital-health-care-workers-receive-first-doses-of-covid-vaccine/article_3701d360-43ae-11eb-8e2e-7f7df86c6f50.html

Pennsylvania’s covid-19 cases continue slight downward trend
https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/pennsylvanias-covid-19-cases-continue-slight-downward-trend/

Allegheny County reports Pa.’s highest batch of new covid cases
https://triblive.com/local/allegheny-county-reports-pa-s-highest-batch-of-new-covid-cases/

The number of COVID cases in Beaver County has almost doubled since Thanksgiving
https://www.timesonline.com/story/news/coronavirus/2020/12/21/beaver-county-covid-cases-double-since-thanksgiving/3990024001/

As vaccines roll out and holidays approach, another 513 cases reported in NEPA
https://www.citizensvoice.com/news/coronavirus/as-vaccines-roll-out-and-holidays-approach-another-513-cases-reported-in-nepa/article_ce32c607-6a6a-576d-a9f1-7cbda5f5621e.html

Berks County adds 12 new COVID deaths as the county’s 7-day case average continues to decline
https://www.readingeagle.com/coronavirus/berks-county-adds-12-new-covid-deaths-as-the-countys-7-day-case-average-continues/article_85c60ff0-43ba-11eb-926a-b30bb6a8e3d6.html

The coronavirus pandemic is killing people with diabetes or Alzheimer’s who didn’t even contract the virus
https://www.inquirer.com/health/coronavirus/coronavirus-pandemic-disruption-alzheimers-disease-diabetes-deaths-20201222.html

Evictions, food lines, students living in a car: Pa. still struggling in COVID-19 economy
https://www.ydr.com/story/news/2020/12/22/covid-19-pa-causing-economic-struggle-before-christmas-what-we-found/3987635001/

4 lessons from the HIV pandemic about changing behavior that can help with COVID-19 | Expert Opinion
https://www.inquirer.com/health/expert-opinions/covid-19-pandemic-hiv-aids-lessons-20201222.html

Biden gets covid-19 vaccine, says ‘nothing to worry about’
https://triblive.com/news/politics-election/biden-gets-covid-19-vaccine-says-nothing-to-worry-about/

Congress approves $900B COVID-19 relief bill, government spending package
https://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-nation/2020/12/21/Relief-bill-help-struggling-Americans-Rep-Mike-Doyle-covid-19-economy-congress/stories/202012210071

Congress’ coronavirus relief bill may bring welcome changes to old PPP biz loans and fund new borrowers
https://www.inquirer.com/news/ppp-loan-second-round-stimulus-relief-bill-negotiations-update-covid-20201221.html

Administration

Pennsylvania holds off on joining regional program to cap emissions from cars, trucks by raising fuel costs
https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/12/pennsylvania-holds-off-for-now-on-joining-regional-program-to-cap-emissions-from-cars-trucks-by-raising-fuel-costs.html

Pennsylvania opts out of carbon-cutting pact for cars, for now
https://www.post-gazette.com/business/powersource/2020/12/22/Pennsylvania-TCI-carbon-emissions-car-truck-air-pollution/stories/202012210116

Business

Pa. workers navigate often unreliable jobless benefits
https://www.post-gazette.com/business/career-workplace/2020/12/22/unemployment-compensation-PUA-PEUC-stimulus-package-COVID-19/stories/202012210012

McDonald’s donates to Wilkes-Barre Twp. police and fire department
https://www.timesleader.com/news/813844/mcdonalds-donates-to-wilkes-barre-twp-police-and-fire-department

Gym opens in defiance of state restrictions days after winning partial victory in insurance lawsuit
https://www.thetimes-tribune.com/news/gym-opens-in-defiance-of-state-restrictions-days-after-winning-partial-victory-in-insurance-lawsuit/article_697bbbbf-e348-540f-a234-89ce1c6a68d7.html

Gerrity’s to close New Year’s Day, pay employees
https://www.thetimes-tribune.com/news/business/gerritys-to-close-new-years-day-pay-employees/article_22ee9383-5644-586a-802d-a8b511f0ae9b.html

Pennsylvania’s jobless rate falls again, dips below US rate
https://www.witf.org/2020/12/22/pennsylvanias-jobless-rate-falls-again-dips-below-us-rate/

West Chester restaurant one of a few defying Wolf’s order on indoor dining ban
https://www.dailylocal.com/news/coronavirus/west-chester-restaurant-one-of-a-few-defying-wolfs-order-on-indoor-dining-ban/article_5d6c172a-43d3-11eb-a562-0b87ac51fcf7.html

Crime/Punishment

Police: Suspect in McKeesport officer’s shooting maneuvered in handcuffs and fired with ‘secreted’ weapon
https://www.post-gazette.com/news/crime-courts/2020/12/21/koby-francis-Gerasimos-Athans-McKeesport-police-shooting-handcuffs-secret-weapon-gun-PFA/stories/202012210078

SCI Dallas reports 6 new cases among inmates
https://www.citizensvoice.com/news/coronavirus/sci-dallas-reports-6-new-cases-among-inmates/article_8ab6702c-2a21-5a45-8b19-9ba32ffd1774.html

Education

HS SPORTS: PIAA meets today to address return to play policies
https://www.thetimes-tribune.com/sports/high-school/hs-sports-piaa-meets-today-to-address-return-to-play-policies/article_d84bf353-9ce7-54d3-af71-482a691d4216.html

Telepresent Santa interacts with Schuylkill IU29 students
https://www.standardspeaker.com/news/coronavirus/telepresent-santa-interacts-with-schuylkill-iu29-students/article_49fc49f0-cdeb-537c-9d12-345f09793786.html

Grading for fairness, not speed
https://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/2020/12/22/Grading-for-fairness-not-speed/stories/202011190024

State skirts responsibility on charters
https://www.thetimes-tribune.com/opinion/editorial/state-skirts-responsibility-on-charters/article_fdd3cff0-3a6d-587c-9c5a-accb7da537ba.html

Pa. colleges and universities alter plans for spring semester due to COVID-19
https://www.pennlive.com/coronavirus/2020/12/pa-colleges-and-universities-alter-plans-for-spring-semester-due-to-covid-19.html

Elections/Politics

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly asks Supreme Court to rule against mail-in voting before primary
https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/u-s-rep-mike-kelly-asks-supreme-court-to-rule-against-mail-in-voting-before-primary/

Delaware County man charged with registering dead relatives to vote in presidential election
https://www.inquirer.com/news/bruce-bartman-election-fraud-delaware-county-20201221.html

Local News

Reading City Council votes down reauthorizing Downtown Improvement District
https://www.readingeagle.com/news/local/reading-city-council-votes-down-reauthorizing-downtown-improvement-district/article_642a6bea-43db-11eb-b8c0-9b971e44ccfe.html

Pilot project in Reading provides rental assistance and legal help during COVID pandemic
https://www.readingeagle.com/coronavirus/pilot-project-in-reading-provides-rental-assistance-and-legal-help-during-covid-pandemic/article_35d8e79e-4147-11eb-a824-1f73a5da0cd3.html

A week without mail in one Lehigh Valley neighborhood: post office delays amid holidays, coronavirus upset residents
https://www.mcall.com/business/mc-nws-postal-service-no-mail-delivery-20201223-rvulj65kk5atzkiyualdu5zi7a-story.html

Lower Merion keeps property tax rates unchanged for 10th straight year
https://www.mainlinemedianews.com/mainlinesuburbanlife/news/lower-merion-keeps-property-tax-rates-unchanged-for-10th-straight-year/article_44179352-437f-11eb-b486-bfb528f6d4a4.html

No raises in new year for Westmoreland elected officials
https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/no-raises-in-new-year-for-westmoreland-elected-officials/

Luzerne County Manager C. David Pedri chats virtually with citizens during annual forum
https://www.timesleader.com/news/813860/luzerne-county-manager-c-david-pedri-chats-virtually-with-citizens-during-annual-forum

Pedri: County coped with challenges in “a difficult year”
https://www.citizensvoice.com/news/coronavirus/pedri-county-coped-with-challenges-in-a-difficult-year/article_b857eb4b-c64b-5b56-bb53-10a04fef649d.html

Ohiopyle construction project is wrapping up
https://triblive.com/local/regional/ohiopyle-construction-project-is-wrapping-up/

National News

Study finds age, religion, politics impact LGBTQ acceptance
https://www.penncapital-star.com/civil-rights-social-justice/study-finds-age-religion-politics-impact-lgbtq-acceptance/

New Jersey

N.J. lawmakers say yes to billions in corporate tax breaks, in less than a week
https://www.inquirer.com/business/new-jersey-legislature-passes-corporate-tax-break-bill-governor-phil-murphy-20201221.html

Philly

Philly will test all inmates and staff as coronavirus surges in prisons
https://www.inquirer.com/news/philly-prisons-covid-testing-jail-staff-20201221.html

Undocumented Jamaican couple celebrate freedom after more than two years in Philly church sanctuary
https://www.inquirer.com/news/immigration-immigrant-sanctuary-jamaica-trump-20201221.html

One-size-fits-all approach to rent relief leaves tenants and landlords without assistance
https://www.inquirer.com/real-estate/housing/landlords-philadelphia-rental-assistance-reinvestment-fund-penn-housing-20201221.html

Former Philly controller’s employee gets prison for bribes
https://www.inquirer.com/news/philadelphia/philadelphia-controller-jeffrey-blackwell-bribes-prison-20201221.html

Coard: City Council pursuing diversity and inclusion to end Philly’s Jim Crow
https://www.phillytrib.com/commentary/michaelcoard/coard-city-council-pursuing-diversity-and-inclusion-to-end-phillys-jim-crow/article_426ad5f8-964d-5651-bd19-565acee3900f.html

SEPTA union considering legal action over COVID-19 quarantine policy
https://www.inquirer.com/transportation/septa-workers-quarantine-covid-19-twu-20201222.html

There’s 1 requirement to sit on the Philly school board nominating panel. Not everyone met it.
https://www.inquirer.com/education/school-board-nominating-panel-residency-maura-mccarthy-20201221.html

Pitt

Port Authority unions approve two-year contract with 5.5% wage increase
https://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2020/12/21/Port-Authority-new-contract-Amalgamated-Transit-Union-bus-operators-maintenance-workers-office-staff/stories/202012210074

City adopts budget, but with no federal relief in sight, hundreds of jobs in limbo
https://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2020/12/21/City-adopts-budget-but-hundreds-of-jobs-in-limbo-with-no-federal-COVID-19-relief-in-sight-for-local-governments/stories/202012210087

Pittsburgh council adopts 2021 budget, could be revised depending on federal covid relief
https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-council-adopts-2021-budget-could-be-revised-depending-on-federal-covid-relief/

Pittsburgh to pursue cultural competency training for public safety
https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-to-pursue-cultural-competency-training-for-public-safety/

Allegheny Valley toy distribution takes on different look this year, but still makes kids smile
https://triblive.com/local/valley-news-dispatch/allegheny-valley-toy-distribution-takes-on-different-look-this-year-but-still-makes-kids-smile/

State News

Retired UPMC executive will lead the board at the United Way of Southwestern PA
https://triblive.com/local/valley-news-dispatch/retired-upmc-executive-will-lead-the-board-at-the-united-way-of-southwestern-pa/