First Read

First Read – Feb. 12, 2024

Philly teachers most at risk across the state … Lee bests Patel in Allegheny Dems endorsement vote … Election integrity officer’s claims gain traction with the right … and more

WEATHER: Philadelphia: partly sunny, then slight chance of rain, high of 50; Harrisburg: partly sunny, then slight chance of rain, high of 50; Pittsburgh: mostly sunny, then chance of rain, high of 50. 


* The carousel of state House member numbers continues to turn – this time with the resignation of Republican state Rep. Joe Adams, who officially resigned from his post representing the 139th legislative district Friday morning.

* During an at-times rambling speech in Harrisburg on Friday that stretched 80 minutes and touched on everything from concealed-carry policies to classified documents, former President Donald Trump framed the 2024 presidential election in terms of firearm access.


* The bipartisan tax package passed by the U.S. House last month is not a done deal, but supporters say it could restore some poverty-reducing benefits that reached millions under the pandemic-era child tax credit expansion, the Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports.

* Philadelphia teachers leave the profession at significant rates – the numbers of educators quitting teaching are larger than the number of graduates of local teacher-prep programs, according to a report from Pennsylvania State University, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

* Police in Montgomery County are investigating state Rep. Kevin Boyle’s recorded outburst at a bar in Rockledge early Thursday morning, including alleged threats to “hit female employees,” the Inquirer reports. 

* U.S. Rep. Summer Lee yesterday won the endorsement of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee, the first time the progressive firebrand has done so. Members of the party backed her over challenger Bhavini Patel by a vote of 440 to 299, WESA reports.

* Tomorrow, voters in Pennsylvania’s 140th state House District will head to the polls for a special election to determine whether Democrat Jim Prokopiak or Republican Candace Cabanas will represent them in Harrisburg, the Capital-Star reports.

* Pennsylvania activist Heather Honey, an "election integrity" investigator whose research has achieved a remarkable level of national salience among the far right, is the source of false and flawed election claims gaining traction across the country, Spotlight PA reports.

* Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker is considering more days in-office for city workers, saying “Philadelphia can only truly say we are ‘open for business’ when all of our workers are back in the office Monday through Friday,” the Inquirer reports.

* Activists with the group Turning Point Action worked to register Republican voters at the Great American Outdoor Show Friday, registering 233 new Pennsylvania voters, and 12 in various other states, all Republican, PennLive reports. 


* The Inquirer has an op-ed by Trudy Rubin, who writes that Israel is poised to inflict the largest humanitarian catastrophe yet on desperate Palestinian civilians, as its planes strike and troops push into Rafah, the last urban refuge for families fleeing the fighting.

* LancasterOnline’s editorial board writes that each year during the budget address, lawmakers in the governor’s party cheer for the prospects of funding their favorite programs, with the opposing party insisting priorities are misplaced. Rinse and repeat.


* The Kansas City Chiefs used the glitzy occasion of the first Super Bowl played in Las Vegas to reemphasize that they have become the NFL’s surest bets while adding to their collection of glittery championship hardware, The Washington Post reports.

* After Trump suggested he had threatened to encourage Russia to attack “delinquent” NATO allies, the response among many Republican officials has included expressions of support, gaze aversion or even cheerful indifference, The New York Times reports.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To Evan Ehlers, founder and executive director, Sharing Excess … to state Rep. Dan Miller … to former state Rep. James Roebuck Jr. … to Jalila Parker, deputy CEO at Delaware River Port Authority … Want to wish someone a happy birthday in our newsletter? Email their name, job title and upcoming birthday to


No scheduled events today. 

KICKER: “The fundamental misconception people have about misinformation is that misinformation is about the facts in front of you.” – Mike Caulfield, a research scientist at the University of Washington, on how misinformation relies on leaving out crucial details, via Spotlight PA

NEXT STORY: First Read – Jan. 29, 2024