WEATHER: Philadelphia: p.m. thunderstorms, high of 90; Harrisburg: p.m. thunderstorms, high of 88; Pittsburgh: thunderstorms, high of 80.
NEW THIS MORNING:
* As anticipation continued to build for a planned partial reopening Friday, Mayor Jim Kenney on Wednesday cast some uncertainty about whether the city would delay its move to the yellow phase, the Inquirer reports.
* The Inquirer has a tick-tock on the years-long and then lightning-fast removal of the Frank Rizzo statue in Philadelphia.
* Kenney is proposing to decimate the city’s main civilian police oversight board and a string of anti-violence programs while funneling nearly $23 million in new funds to law enforcement. The cuts predate recent unrest spurred by the killing of George Floyd, but critics say boosting police funding at a time of widespread outrage over police brutality is nevertheless a step in the wrong direction, WHYY reports.
* Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday joined hundreds of demonstrators as they marched through Harrisburg to protest the police killing of George Floyd, a black man from Minnesota. Wolf spoke briefly to the crowd, saying, “We have got to stop the divide in this country that separates white and black” and “We need to stop racism now,” the Inquirer reports.
* Numerous Philadelphia Democratic incumbents either lost or are in serious danger of doing so, including PA Sen. Larry Farnese, and PA Reps. Maria Donatucci and Brian Sims, the Public Record reports.
* Pennsylvania teachers and students will be permitted to return to schools next month, the state Education Department announced Wednesday, though districts will make their own decisions on whether to reopen, the Inquirer reports.
* In an exclusive interview with the Tribune, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden called for criminal justice reforms, including changes to qualified immunity.
* Philadelphia Magazine interviews the four first-term Philadelphia City Councilmembers on the removal of the Rizzo statue, police brutality, and the root causes of outrage.
* Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto on Wednesday ordered an investigation into police tactics used to disperse protesters from the streets of East Liberty on Monday night, the Tribune-Review reports.
* The effect of the coronavirus on the hotel industry could be nine times worse than the losses incurred in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, just under half of county fairs have already been canceled for 2020, and up to 30% of restaurants may never reopen, according to industry representatives at a hearing of the Pennsylvania House Committee on Tourism and Recreational Development held Wednesday morning, WITF reports.
* The Inquirer has an op-ed by former Philadelphia Eagle Malcolm Jenkins, who explains why he doesn’t want police violence by his tax dollars.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: … PA Rep. Greg Vitali … Want to wish someone a happy birthday in our newsletter? Email us their name, job title and upcoming birthday to email@example.com
10 a.m. - the Philadelphia City Council will meet remotely. This remote session may be viewed on Xfinity Channel 64, Fios Channel 40 or http://phlcouncil.com/watch-city-council/
11 a.m. - the PA House Aging & Older Adult Committee will meet. Room G50, Irvis Office Building, Harrisburg.
1 p.m. - the PA House Transportation Committee will meet. Room G50, Irvis Office Building, Harrisburg.
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KICKER: “Without question, there is a difference of opinion about what happened that day and the appropriateness of the actions of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.” – Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. From the Tribune-Review.