WEATHER: Philadelphia, partly cloudy, high of 47; Harrisburg, mostly cloudy, high of 43; Pittsburgh, cloudy, high of 49.
NEW THIS MORNING:
* Republicans who control the PA Senate have for months been quietly paying the legal bills of Justin Ferrante, the chamber’s former security chief, who resigned in late 2017 amid allegations that he had sexually harassed two female subordinates, including texting them photos of genitals and feces, the Inquirer reports.
* State House Speaker Mike Turzai plans to reintroduce a controversial bill that would ban abortions based on a diagnosis of Down syndrome, even though critics say the legislation is practically unenforceable and most likely unconstitutional, the Capital-Star writes.
* U.S. Environmental Protection Agency head Andrew Wheeler will be in Philadelphia tomorrow to a plan to deal with the PFAS contamination that has tainted drinking water and groundwater in communities nationwide, including Bucks County, the Inquirer writes.
* Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto remained defiant in his support of the city’s proposed gun restrictions a day after they were pilloried at a special fact-finding meeting, saying that he’s willing to fight any lawsuit against the city as high as the U.S. Supreme Court, the Post-Gazette reports.
* PA Rep. Barry Jozwiak, a retired state trooper and former county sheriff, is seeking support for a bill that would eliminate elected constables in the state through attrition and transfer their district court duties to sheriff departments, the Morning Call reports.
* America First Policies, a pro-border wall PAC, is dropping $130,000 to pressure US Rep. Matt Cartwright to support funding the US-Mexico barrier, Politics PA reports.
* Pennsylvania’s Job Creation Tax Credit, begun in 1996 to incentivize employers in the state, not only doesn’t offer enough of a credit to spur job creation, but 95 percent of the positions the program helped create would have happened anyway, WHYY reports.
* The Capital-Star has a rundown on the six special elections occurring in the commonwealth over the next four months.
* PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro told the House Appropriations Committee that Pennsylvania would benefit from universal background checks for firearms, the Capital-Star reports.
* The Inquirer uses the latest Philadelphia Parking Scandal – board chairman Joseph Ashdale allegedly bribed City Councilman Bobby Henon to quash an audit of the agency – to call for a clean sweep of PPA leadership.
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10 a.m. - the PA House Appropriations Committee will meet. Room 140, Main Capitol, Harrisburg.
10 a.m. - the PA Senate Democratic Policy Committee will meet. LaSalle Union Building, LaSalle University, 1900 W. Olney Ave., Philadelphia.
10 a.m. - the Philadelphia City Council will meet. Room 400, City Hall, Philadelphia.
10 a.m. - Governor Tom Wolf will join Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding to announce the components of a bipartisan funding plan to support Pennsylvania farmers. Restful Acres, 4871 Colebrook Road, Hershey.
10 a.m. - Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney will deliver remarks as Police Athletic League students shadow City of Philadelphia staff for the day and participate in a speed networking round as well as a mock “swearing-in.” Mayor’s Reception Room, Room 202, City Hall, Philadelphia.
12 p.m. - Gov. Wolf will attend an interagency Black History Month event. Forum Auditorium 500 Walnut St., Harrisburg.
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KICKER: “It is time to recognize that the office of the elected constable is a vestige that is no longer needed in the 21st Century.” – Part of a memo from PA Rep. Barry Jozwiak explaining his push to eliminate elected constables in the commonwealth. From the Morning Call.