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WEATHER: Philadelphia, showers, high of 64; Harrisburg, rain, high of 66; Pittsburgh, rain, high of 58.

 

NEW THIS MORNING:

* The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the city lost over $1 million on a minority contractor venture capital initiative with ties to politically connected individuals. The program loaned out $1.5 million to 14 businesses between 2004 and 2006, but nearly all the businesses failed to pay anything back: http://goo.gl/h0oeQH

* A conservative group filed suit against Philadelphia’s election board for failing to release detailed information on “inactive voters,” often people who have died or moved out of state — but a theoretical source of election fraud. The city has almost as many registered voters as residents, largely due to the failure to purge inactive voters, the Inquirer reports: http://goo.gl/ZhJ6hN  

* The death penalty has continued to lose popularity across the U.S., including states like PA, which currently has a moratorium on capital punishment. However, the Inquirera key report that would gauge its effects is two years overdue, and all the current Attorney General candidates support the use of the practice, writes the Inquirer:http://goo.gl/h7VnMh

 

THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE:

* A new Fox News poll shows Clinton and Trump with double-digit leads ahead of the New York and Pennsylvania primaries: http://goo.gl/rDz9zj

* Trump called a satirical front page printed on Sunday’s Boston Globe “stupid” and “worthless.” The issue skewered the Republican by depicting apocalyptic news stories emerging from a hypothetical Trump presidency: https://goo.gl/7mQs7M

* John Kasich said he wouldn’t have signed a controversial North Carolina “bathroom law” that forces transgender individuals to use bathrooms that match their birth gender, Politico reports: http://goo.gl/qhVXID

 

WEEKEND ROUNDUP:

* The national Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has pledged $2.5 million to help push establishment candidate Katie McGinty over the edge in a contested primary to challenge incumbent Republican Pat Toomey, according to the AP. The seat is one of a handful of competitive Senate races in the nation: http://goo.gl/PUkiIY

* Capital sources and lawmakers told the Inquirer that last week’s push to curtail LGBT protections and limit abortion access is an effort to use social issues to distract from the complex fiscal impasse that tied up last year’s budget — and threatens to do the same in 2016: http://goo.gl/e5Yy7g

* A coalition of Teamsters and sugary drink producers launched advertisements savaging Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s proposed “soda tax,” which he wants to use to fund his signature universal pre-K initiative, the Inquirer reports: http://goo.gl/6sLOv2 

* Bucking national trends, Pittsburgh’s school district is set to unveil a set of policies that would protect the rights of transgender students, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: http://goo.gl/5vXX4o

* The Daily Local takes an in-depth look at the unusually high number of voters who are switching parties this year - according to a report by the Associate Press, there have already been 159,000 voters who have switched party affiliation to date - a figure that represents 2 percent of the state electorate. http://goo.gl/9BO4dC

* A group of top executives at the Philadelphia Gas Works — the target of a scotched 2014 privatization effort — were quietly promised bonuses if the went along with the sale. The bid failed, but the execs still collected handsome bonuses, the Inquirer reports: http://goo.gl/Lz6xN4

 

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We won $15 at UPMC, and we aren’t done!

Hospital workers won a huge victory for Pittsburgh – the largest wage raise from a private employer in the country. UPMC executives said it wasn’t possible, but we proved that by standing together we win.

We can’t stop there. It’s for UPMC to stop its unlawful anti-union campaign and respect our union rights. Stand with us on April 14th for our rights, our families and our city.

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EDITORIAL PAGES:

* The Inquirer editorial board endorses Joe Sestak in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary for U.S. Senate: http://goo.gl/qAuoVY      

* The Inquirer editorial board endorses Josh Shapiro in the Democratic primary for PA Attorney General, and John Rafferty in the Republican primary for the race:http://goo.gl/6HxySd

* A Daily News op-ed by Encarna Rodriguez and Amy Brown argues that the Philadelphia School Reform Commission must be abolished due to its 15 years of ineffectual and sometimes harmful oversight, as exemplified by the recent imbroglio over turning John Wister Elementary School into a charter school: http://goo.gl/X9q3dZ    

* The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board believes that instead of complaining about Gov. Wolf’s special commission to review state judicial nominees being packed with Democrats, the state GOP should accept the governor’s invitation to place one of their own on the commission: http://goo.gl/F1YcTW      

* Republican strategist Charlie Gerow writes an op-ed for PennLive that states the only way to redeem the Attorney General’s office is to elect a Republican in November:http://goo.gl/yfYInl   

* A Pittsburgh Tribune-Review editorial, buttressed by a study from the DKT Liberty Project, argues that the federal government’s welfare system is actually anti-work and keeps people from joining the employment rolls: http://goo.gl/ZvELbU   

 

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Want to be the first to subscribe to City & State PA’s new glossy magazine?  Just send an email to David Alpher at publisher@cityandstatepa.com and get the details!

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Want to wish someone a happy birthday in our newsletter? Email us their name, job title and upcoming birthday at editor@cityandstatepa.com

 

TODAY’S SKED:

10 a.m. - The PA House Judiciary Committee holds an informational meeting on CLEAN, Concerned Law Enforcement Against Narcotics. Room 205, Ryan Office, Harrisburg.

10 a.m. - Philadelphia City Council’s Joint Committees on Children & Youth and Education holds a meeting. Room 400, City Hall, Philadelphia.

10 a.m. - The PA Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and Criminal Justice holds a public hearing to review issues related to the Department of Corrections and the Board of Probation and Parole. Room 8E-B, East Wing, Harrisburg.

10:30 a.m. - The PA Senate Democratic Policy Committee and Majority Policy Committee hold a Joint Policy Hearing on Economic Development and Jobs in Pennsylvania. Hearing Room 1, North Office Building, Harrisburg.

11 a.m. - Mayor Kenney, Council President Clarke, Councilwoman Blackwell, Otis Hackney, the City’s Chief Education Officer, and Christine Knapp, Director of the Office of Sustainability will hear a presentation by ninth-graders on neighborhood-based solutions for energy efficiency at The Workshop School, 221 Hanson St., Philadelphia.

11 a.m. - The PA House Committee on Consumer Affairs holds a voting meeting on HB1417, HB 1769, SB 874, SB 984, and any other business that may come before the Committee. Room 60, East Wing, Harrisburg.

11 a.m. - The PA House Committee on Education holds a voting meeting on HB 1827, HB 1640, and any other business that may come before the Committee. Room G50, Irvis Office, Harrisburg.

11 a.m. - The PA House Committees on Insurance and Transportation hold a joint public hearing on HB 1258, and SB 928, Financial Liability. Room 140, Main Capitol, Harrisburg.

12 p.m. - The PA House Joint Legislative Conservation Committee holds a meeting on environmental issues forum on sustainable manufacturing in the forest products industry. Room 8E-A, East Wing, Harrisburg.

1 p.m. - Philadelphia City Council’s Committee on the Environment holds a meeting. Room 400, City Hall, Philadelphia.

1 p.m. - The PA House and Senate will each reconvene.

 

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City & State’s ELECTION PREVIEW

Coming up in our inaugural issue: We look at the key races impacting Pennsylvania, including the Democratic primary battles for Attorney General, the 2nd Congressional District and the Senate, as well as pivotal state contests. Ad deadline is Monday, April 18. To advertise, contact David Alpher at dalpher@cityandstatepa.com  

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KICKER: “That's why it's capitalism. This was a high-risk portion of that and it's evident by the high rate of failure,” said Philadelphia Councilman Curtis Jones, musing on the nature of the free market — as it relates to a failed, politically-influenced minority business investment scheme he once oversaw, via Inquirer