WEATHER: Philadelphia: partly cloudy, high of 70; Harrisburg: partly cloudy, high of 73; Pittsburgh: partly cloudy, high of 80.

 

NEW THIS MORNING:

* Hundreds of people protesting the police treatment of black people spilled onto an interstate highway in the heart of Philadelphia on Monday afternoon just before a curfew took effect, leading law enforcement to fire nonlethal bullets and tear gas and halting traffic during the evening rush hour, the AP reports.

* Gov. Tom Wolf spent the day in Philadelphia seeing the damage from the weekend’s George Floyd protests. Wolf toured some battered areas Monday, seeing first-hand the havoc that spilled out of the protests Saturday and Sunday, PennLive reports.

* Pittsburgh police and city officials on Monday rejected claims they left officers vulnerable during weekend protests and that they trampled protesters’ rights. The peaceful protest, hijacked by a smaller group of instigators, could have been worse, officials said. Mayor Bill Peduto, in a passionate monologue outside police headquarters, said officers allowed protesters to carry on until they were no longer peaceful, the Tribune-Review reports.

* Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration can’t say exactly how much taxpayer money has been spent to clean and guard a statue of former Mayor Frank Rizzo after it became a focal point during protests of police brutality and the asphyxiation death of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement. But an accounting of past costs related to protecting the monument shows that the expenses add up and could be significant at a time when the city is facing an unprecedented budget crisis, WHYY reports.

* A primary election like none other in state history awaits Pennsylvania voters Tuesday. Twenty-two counties, or about one-third, will use new voting systems for the first time, while this election marks the debut of no-excuse mail-in ballots. More than 1.8 million voters applied for a mail-in or absentee ballot, smashing expectations by state officials. But some officials have said they worried that voters wouldn't receive their ballot in time to return it by the 8 p.m. election day deadline, the AP reports.

* Voters in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and certain other parts of Pennsylvania will have an additional week for elections officials to receive their primary mail ballots if they are sent on Tuesday, officials said Monday, the Inquirer reports.

* Pennsylvania Republicans are challenging Wolf’s authority to use executive powers to extend by a week the deadline for receiving mailed ballots in six counties due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the civil unrest gripping this nation, PennLive reports.

* Philadelphia elections officials scrambled Monday to figure out how to conduct an already difficult election during widespread civil unrest, the Inquirer reports.

* Pennsylvania fans of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and the Democratic establishment are taking a quiet primary victory lap, the Inquirer reports.

* As hundreds gather each day across Philadelphia to protest the death of George Floyd, at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, the city and surrounding counties are poised to move from the state-designated “red” phase of coronavirus shutdown to the less restrictive “yellow” phase. Despite the rules against large gatherings in both phases, city and state officials have signaled that, as of now, Philadelphia will stay the course, WHYY reports.

* Changes are coming to the regulations governing Pennsylvania’s long-term care facilities following criticism of the state’s efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania’s roughly 2,000 personal care homes. State Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said her agency has implemented recommendations from the Auditor General’s office and is “in the process of rewriting regulation based on a report from the Nursing Home Task Force, the Capital-Star reports.

* Pennsylvania’s revenue shortfall grew in May to $2.6 billion, as the effects of the state’s coronavirus-related shutdowns and delayed tax-filing deadlines hammered tax collections for a third straight month. The state collected $2.1 billion in May, which was $440 million, or 17%, less than projected at the beginning of the fiscal year, the state Department of Revenue said Monday, the AP reports.

* After several years of failed attempts to pass free-standing legislation blocking municipal plastic bag bans, Pennsylvania lawmakers used a budget-related bill to extend a current moratorium on such bans for at least a year, with little debate and no public hearings, WHYY reports.

* Delaware County’s independent public wastewater authority on Monday moved to block the county’s attempt to take over its operations, calling the move an “illegal money grab” of proceeds from the authority’s pending $276.5 million sale to private operator Aqua Pennsylvania, the Inquirer reports.

 

EDITORIAL PAGES:

* The Inquirer has an op-ed by PA Sen. Christine Tartaglione, who uses last week’s revelations of House GOP leadership conspiring to keep their Democratic colleagues from finding out about a GOP member who had COVID-19 as Exhibit A in her argument for why workplace protections need to be enshrined into law for all Pennsylvanians.

 

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KICKER: “We are concerned about the civil unrest activity as it continues to occur, but we hope that tomorrow the voters will be able to get to the polls and exercise their right to vote.” – Philadelphia City Commission Chair Lisa Deeley. From the Inquirer.