NOTE: There will be no First Read on Monday, Jan. 20. It will return Tuesday, Jan. 21.

WEATHER: Philadelphia: sunny, high of 34; Harrisburg: partly cloudy, high of 33; Pittsburgh: partly cloudy, high of 31.

NEW THIS MORNING:

* While the unofficial and more immediately available results have accounted for the vast majority of votes cast in years past, a new law means a significant share of ballots might not be tallied until after Election Day, according to county elections officials. Races with razor-thin margins may be too close to call for days, the Inquirer reports.

* Pennsylvania's legislature has been controlled by Republicans for nearly a decade, but progressive organizers hope to shift the balance of power in this year’s election. Democrats need to pick up four seats in the Senate and nine in the House to break Republican control. On Thursday, national grassroots organization Swing Left said it will help with volunteer and fundraising efforts in more than 20 districts statewide, WESA reports.

* Despite an admission that it’s caused them to take a hit to their reputation, officials at Pennsylvania’s state-run student loan agency have nonetheless extended a contract to administer a beleaguered loan forgiveness program for the federal Department of Education, the Capital-Star reports.

* A Philadelphia Democrat turned a memorial service into a snap election for ward leader, the Inquirer reports.

* Businessman and Republican politician Scott Wagner has sold his York County-based trash collection and recycling business to a Canadian firm, the Patriot-News writes.

* Youth groups are skirting the background check law intended to protect children from abuse in the commonwealth, the PA Post reports.

* Some $500 million in funding is needed for fixes to Pennsylvania’s state parks. But there’s no agreement on where to get that money, the PA Post reports.

* Pennsylvania officials announced Thursday that nearly $1 million in grants were awarded to prevent and respond to sexual assault at 36 colleges and universities, the AP reports.

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Join keynote speaker J. Phillip Thompson, NYC Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiative, along with industry executives and public sector leaders to discuss the future of MWBE and SDVOB programs, and how government and business can fully embrace diversity in the procurement market and beyond. Find out what it takes to thrive in New York’s competitive procurement arena by connecting with key government agencies, prime contractors and state & local representatives at the City & State Diversity Summit.

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EDITORIAL PAGES:

* The Inquirer urges a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to solving Philadelphia’s homelessness crisis, holding out the Convention Center’s $500,000 commitment to the issue as an exemplar of how to proceed.

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New York’s rapidly evolving transit policies and infrastructure initiatives affect us all, whether you’re behind the scenes or a daily commuter. City & State will be hosting the New York in Transit Summit on January 30th at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Join keynote speaker Polly Trottenberg, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Transportation, along with agency leaders, elected officials, and advocates to assess the current state of New York’s transportation systems, and discuss the future. Use discount code FIRSTREAD for 10% off your ticket today! Click here to register.

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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 to editor@cityandstatepa.com

TODAY’S SKED:

10:30 a.m. - Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller and Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) Major General Anthony Carrelli will join Sen. Mike Regan to lead a roundtable discussion on the topic of veterans’ mental health and suicide prevention efforts. Camp Hill Borough Hall, 2145 Walnut St, Camp Hill.

1 p.m. - Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney will deliver remarks at this annual networking event for CAEP members, contractors, and trades representatives. Philadelphia Marriott Old City, One Dock St., Philadelphia.

To have your events included in Today’s Sked, please email the information to editor@cityandstatepa.com.

KICKER: “People start to make decisions. ‘Gee, maybe I won’t go to that park anymore because the quality of the facilities isn’t there.’ ” – PA Rep. Mark Longietti. From the PA Post.