WEATHER: Philadelphia, sunny, high of 76; Harrisburg, sunny, high of 76; Pittsburgh, sunny, high of 76.
* Philadelphia’s City Council gave preliminary approval to a modified version of Mayor Jim Kenney’s soda tax, but anti-tax lobbyists are ready to take the fight to court.
NEW THIS MORNING:
* Clergy are taking to mass and church bulletins to shame legislators that support a sex abuse bill that would allow victims to sue institutions like churches, the Inquirer reports.
* In the race for PA’s 8th Congressional District, Democrat Steve Santarsiero slammed opponent Brian Fitzpatrick’s weak rejection of Trump’s “bigotry,” writes The Intelligencer.
* The defense in the Fattah corruption trial rested its case shortly after former Gov. Ed Rendell took the stand. He later decried the case as “cynical,” the Inquirer reports.
* Gov. Tom Wolf said he will hold “RACP” economic development grants hostage until he gets the budget deal he wants, writes the Tribune-Review.
* Pittsburgh’s new schools chief Anthony Hamlet was caught plagiarizing his resume just a week after he admitted to fudging his work history, the Tribune Review reports.
* Allentown is using a neighborhood improvement zone to subsidize more than half the cost of a privately built multimillion-dollar downtown tower, writes the Morning Call.
* Scranton officials legally steered the sale of a publicly owned parking garage to a downtown mall owner, due to a lack of “no-bid” regulations, the Times Tribune writes.
* In budget negotiations, legislators in Harrisburg are moving on to pension reform, starting with a bill to introduce “hybrid” retirement plans, writes the Patriot News.
* Wolf teamed up with Villanova basketball coach Jay Wright to oppose the issue of college sexual assault, the Patriot News reports.
* A federal plan to clamp down on payday lenders could hurt PA, which already has stronger state regulations, according to the Morning Call.
* Tiny Monroe County is spending big on security upgrades to a township building attacked by a lone gunman in 2013, writes the Pocono Record.
THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE:
* A new national poll showed Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump by 10 points, the Associated Press reports.
* DNC Delegates have turned to the internet to raise the thousands of dollars needed to attend their party’s big soiree in Philadelphia, according to the Inquirer.
* Prepping for possible rioting, the city purchased protest insurance ahead of the DNC, Newsworks writes.
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* John Fetterman, Braddock mayor and erstwhile Democratic US Senate candidate, and his wife, nutritionist Giselle Fetterman, have a Phillymag op-ed in favor of the soda tax.
* PennLive op-ed columnist Dennis Roddy writes that on the school funding bill, Gov. Wolf can’t have it both ways after capitulating on his own “restoration formula.”
* In his Newsworks blog, Dick Polman stops to recognize Hillary Clinton’s monumental achievement before returning to the Trumpster fire.
* The Trib-Review editorial board hopes the Shell cracker plant turns out to be all it’s cracked up to be.
* The Morning Call’s Bill White is pleasantly surprised by how often he has agreed with PA lawmakers this session, most recently on the loosening up of alcohol sales.
* A Daily Times editorial calls for the Public Utility Commission to abide by its responsibility to be as transparent as possible, as required by law.
* Richard C. Dreyfuss, a Commonwealth Foundation senior fellow, has a truly sobering Intelligencer op-ed on the plight of PA pension funds and the bitter pills to come.
* Daily News columnist Dom Giordano hopes that Katie McGinty’s misrepresentation about being first in her family to go to college will open up a debate between her and opponent Pat Toomey about the staggering cost to attend college today.
* Pittsburgh City Controller Michael E. Lamb has an op-ed in the Post-Gazette tackling the reasons for – and potential ways to end – the city’s continuing population loss.
* An Erie Times-News editorial urges Gov. Wolf and state legislators to provide more budget relief for Erie schools than just the recently passed fair funding law calls for.
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8:30 a.m. - Gov. Wolf will be interviewed on KQV with PJ Maloney. To listen live, click here.
9 a.m. - The PA House Human Services Committee will meet. Room 60, East Wing, Harrisburg.
9 a.m. - Philadelphia City Council Licenses and Inspections Committee will meet. Room 400, City Hall, Philadelphia.
10 a.m. – The PA Senate Independent Regulatory Review Commission will meet. 14th Floor Conference Room, 333 Market St., Harrisburg.
10 a.m. - Philadelphia City Council will meet. Room 400, City Hall, Philadelphia.
11 a.m. – Gov. Wolf will be interviewed on WHYY’s Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane. To listen live, click here.
11 a.m. - The PA House will reconvene.
11:30 a.m. - Mayor Kenney, Councilman Bobby Henon and Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell will announce the groundbreaking of the Kensington & Tacony Trail, a 1.5-mile trail occupying the former right of way for the Kensington & Tacony Railroad. Lardner’s Point Park, 19135 Levick Street, Philadelphia.
1 p.m. – The PA Senate Democratic Policy Committee will meet. Muhlenberg Township Bldg., Commissioners’ Meeting Room, 210 George St., Reading.
1 p.m. - The PA Senate will reconvene.
1:30 p.m. - Mayor Kenney will unveil the Park Towne Place Apartments designation on the National Historic Register. Park Towne Place is the first multi-family apartment community in the Commonwealth to earn this prestigious designation. 2200 S. Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia.
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KICKER: "Federal prosecutors don't understand the political process. They think everything is done for ulterior motives. They're very cynical. We're not all bad. We're not all evil.” — Former Gov. Ed Rendell gives himself, and PA’s political class, a pat on the back. From the Inquirer.