WEATHER: Philadelphia, scattered thunderstorms, high of 71; Harrisburg, scattered thunderstorms, high of 69; Pittsburgh, mostly cloudy, high of 69.

 

FROM CITY&STATE:

* Legal scholars weigh in on the likelihood of a conviction in state Sen Larry Farnese’s bribery case, and if the unusual case could lead to the “criminalization of politics” in PA.

 

NEW THIS MORNING:

* Pennsylvania will allow sales of wine in grocery stores and other takeout locations after an abrupt shift in the legislature, the Morning Call reports.

* Stating that Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney had won enough votes to pass his soda tax, Council member Cindy Bass dropped an alternative plan to raise property taxes, the Inquirer reports.

* Frank Fina, a prosecutor whose feud with Attorney General Kathleen Kane is central to the “Porngate” scandal, quietly left the Philly DA office, writes Philadelphia Magazine.

* Shell has committed billions to construct a shale gas “cracking” plant in Western PA, greased by $60 million annually in tax breaks, reports WTAE-TV.

* The state Human Relations Commission is said to be running a “skeleton crew” staff after budget cuts and the removal of its problematic director, the Daily News reports.

* Over 100 students and teachers from Erie’s school district rallied in Harrisburg for more funding. The district faces millions in deficits, according to the Erie Times-News.

* State Rep. Rick Saccone is pushing a bill to dump “ghost teachers” — school employees out on union leave, the Morning Call reports.

* A bill to require medical professionals to take educational courses on the dangers of opioids sailed through Harrisburg, writes the Post-Gazette.

* Chaka Fattah’s former chief of staff, Maisha Leek, took the stand at the Congressman’s corruption trial, but had little to say, according to the Inquirer.

 

THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE:

* After wins in California, New Jersey, and New Mexico, Hillary Clinton effectively claimed the Democratic nomination for president, the New York Times reports.

* Sen. Pat Toomey decried Donald Trump’s “racist” comments about Mexican and Muslim judges, but said he’d likely still support the billionaire, writes the Post-Gazette.

* Bernie Sanders said he would stay in the race despite Clinton’s status as the presumed party candidate, ABC News reports.

 

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Be among the first to explore the all-new cityandstatepa.com, which now features First Read and the latest issue of City & State PA magazine!

 

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EDITORIAL PAGES:

* Democratic State Rep. Dan Frankel has an op-ed in PennLive calling for passage of the Fairness Act, which would protect the rights of LGBT people in the state.

* The Morning Call’s Bill White says that passage of a fair funding bill for schools is a good start, but it’s just the first step toward fixing an inherently flawed state tax system.

* In his Newsworks blog, Dick Polman congratulates Hillary Clinton on becoming the presumptive Democratic nominee, and ruminates on a Sanders exit. 

* An Inquirer editorial wants to know: Whatever happened to Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, who appears to have ethically lost his way.

* In an Inquirer op-ed, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank has trouble understanding how the GOP establishment is just now realizing Trump is a racist.

* The Post-Gazette editorial board applauds President Obama for supporting France’s new leadership role in the Middle East peace process.

* An Intelligencer editorial points out that regardless of who wins in November and what happens with the state budget, PA residents’ taxes will almost certainly be going up.

* WaPo columnist Richard Cohen compares Paul Ryan to Republican Sen. Robert A. Taft, who was legendary for his principles, and finds Ryan … lacking in that category.

* A Daily Times editorial thinks it’s a safe bet that online gambling will be a big part of state budget negotiations, and that the budget will be late once again in passing.

* A Beaver County Times editorial welcomes the news that Shell will bring an ethane cracker plant to the county, and welcomes hoped-for transparency in the process.

* The Evening Sun calls on the PA legislature to repeal its 2003 repeal of a law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets while riding.

* The York Dispatch adds its voice to the ever-growing chorus rising against the criminally light sentence given to Stanford University rapist Brock Turner last week.

 

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Want to subscribe to City & State PA’s monthly magazine? Just send an email to David Alpher at publisher@cityandstatepa.com and get the details!

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Superior Court Justice Kate Ford Elliot … Want to wish someone a happy birthday in our newsletter? Email us their name, job title and upcoming birthday at editor@cityandstatepa.com 

 

TODAY’S SKED: 

9 a.m. - The Joint Capitol Preservation Committee will meet. Room 116, Forum Bldg., Harrisburg.

9:30 a.m. – The PA Senate State Government Committee will meet. Senate Majority Caucus Room, Harrisburg.

9:30 a.m. - The PA House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee will meet. Room B31, Main Capitol, Harrisburg.

9:30 a.m. - The PA House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee will meet. Room 205, Ryan Office, Harrisburg.

9:30 a.m. - The PA House Committees on Game & Fisheries and Recreational Development will meet. Room 60, East Wing, Harrisburg.

10 a.m. - Philadelphia City Council Committee on Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs will meet. Room 400, City Hall, Philadelphia.

11 a.m. - The PA Senate will reconvene.

11 a.m. - The PA House will reconvene.

12 p.m. - Philadelphia City Council Committee on Labor and Public Service will meet. Room 400, City Hall, Philadelphia.

2 p.m. - Philadelphia City Council Committee of the Whole will meet. Room 400, City Hall, Philadelphia.

12:45 p.m. – Gov. Wolf and Villanova Basketball Coach Jay Wright will hold an “It’s On Us PA” press conference to give an update on the campaign. “It’s On Us PA” is a statewide campaign that invites everyone to play a role in ending sexual assault. Governor’s Reception Room, Harrisburg.

4:15 p.m. - Mayor Kenney will participate in the Eastern Lofts Ribbon Cutting. The project will serve as a model for equitable development in the neighborhood. 3002 Cecil B. Moore Ave., Philadelphia.

7 p.m. - Mayor Kenney will help announce the launch of a new mobile dental clinic as part of the Every Tooth Counts Campaign. 1750 North Front St., Philadelphia.

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Want to advertise in First Read? 

Contact City & State PA Publisher David Alpher at dalpher@cityandstatepa.com for details. 

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KICKER: "If the governor is sincere about not signing onetime gimmicks, he won't sign this.” — State liquor store union chief Wendell Young, a staunch opponent of alcohol reforms, on the bill to bring the “gimmick” of wine sales to grocery stores to PA. From the Morning Call.