WEATHER: Philadelphia: partly cloudy, high of 57; Harrisburg: mostly sunny, high of 51; Pittsburgh: cloudy, high of 42.
NEW THIS MORNING:
* U.S. District Judge Matthew W. Brann on Saturday threw out President Donald Trump’s last remaining legal challenge seeking to invalidate Pennsylvania’s election results, all but ensuring the state will finalize its vote tally as planned this week. Brann described the case put forth by the president’s campaign as a tortured “Frankenstein’s Monster” and the remedy it sought – effectively disenfranchising nearly seven million voters in the state – as “unhinged,” the Inquirer reports.
* Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania called on President Trump to accept the outcome of the Nov. 3 election and move forward with the transition process in order to protect his presidential legacy. His Saturday night statement came soon after Brann dismissed the Trump campaign’s lawsuit challenging the results in Pennsylvania by alleging that election officials in Democratic-leaning counties allowed voters to fix errors on their mail-in ballots. The Trump campaign has vowed to appeal the ruling, NPR reports.
* Some of Pennsylvania’s most conservative Republicans have given up a push to review and block the state’s presidential election results, citing legal hangups, a flurry of lawsuits, and little buy-in from their GOP colleagues, the Capital-Star reports.
* Pennsylvania’s new state-run health exchange is among the many pieces of the Affordable Care that would be in peril if the Trump administration’s attack on the Affordable Care Act prevails in the Supreme Court, consumer advocates warn. The state’s insurance enrollment system, called “Pennie,” debuts this season’s open enrollment period, which runs through Dec. 15 for coverage that begins Jan. 1. Officials extended a sign-up option through Jan. 15 for coverage that begins Feb. 1, the Tribune-Review reports.
* At least four counties home to about 800,000 voters will not have election results certified when they’re due Monday to the Pennsylvania Department of State, though three of them expect to wrap up within the next few days, WITF reports.
* Pennsylvania has marked another grim milestone: more than 300,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. The Pennsylvania Department of Health today reported a total of 302,564 cases after weeks of multiple record-setting daily increases. It took more than four months for the state to accumulate its first 100,000 cases of COVID-19, a milestone passed on July 18. Today’s news comes less than a month after Pennsylvania surpassed 200,000 cases, on Oct. 28, WITF reports.
* U.S. District Court Judge Nitza I. Quiñones Alejandro on Friday ruled against immediately lifting the indoor-dining ban imposed this week by Mayor Kenney in response to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalization, denying an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order and injunction filed by Philadelphia Restaurant Owners Against Lockdown, LLC, which claims to represent a group of owners in the city, the Inquirer reports.
* Pennsylvania Democrats had their best chance in years this election to take control of one or both houses of the state legislature. They came up well short of that goal, as Republicans expanded their majority in the House – even defeating the Democratic minority leader in that chamber – and maintained control of the Senate. Despite the setback, Democrats will still play a significant role next year in drawing new congressional and state legislative maps in accordance with decennial redistricting, the Inquirer reports.
* A significant number of Pennsylvania municipalities are considering applying for Act 47, the state program for the severely financially distressed, while those already in the program appear to be weathering the coronavirus pandemic better than expected, Spotlight PA reports.
* A memo made public last week shows that Philadelphia’s Police Advisory Commission warned Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw in late September that the department’s Use of Force Review Board had not convened since Oct.1, 2019. The board has no plans to meet before the end of the year, WHYY reports.
* Motorists who register an electric vehicle in Pennsylvania would have to pay an annual fee, under lame-duck session legislation approved by the state’s Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Thursday. The bill, backed by a 132-70 vote, still requires Senate approval to reach the desk of Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat. Most House Republicans voted for it, while most Democrats opposed it, the AP reports.
* Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, Democrat John Fetterman, may have gotten under somebody’s skin. A provision slipped into lame-duck budget legislation Friday would ban flags not approved by lawmakers from flying at the state Capitol — such as the pro-marijuana legalization and LGBTQ- and transgender-rights flags that Fetterman hangs from his second-floor outdoor balcony that overlooks the building's broad front steps, the AP reports.
* The Inquirer reassesses Philadelphia’s persistent poverty crisis and finds that any attempt to solve it in the age of coronavirus and its aftermath will require radical thinking – and realism.
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9:30 a.m. - the Philadelphia City Council Committee on Public Safety will meet. This meeting will be held remotely using Microsoft® Teams. This remote session may be viewed on Xfinity Channel 64, Fios Channel 40 or http://phlcouncil.com/watch-city-council/
1 p.m. - Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller, Department of Health Deputy Secretary for Health Preparedness and Community Protection Ray Barishansky, and Faith Haeussler, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Council on Aging (PCoA) will share resources for people struggling with anxiety, depression, loneliness, isolation, and other stressors this holiday season. To RSVP, contact Brandon Cwalina at firstname.lastname@example.org
1 p.m. - the Philadelphia City Council Committee on Labor and Civil Service will meet. This meeting will be held remotely using Microsoft® Teams. This remote session may be viewed on Xfinity Channel 64, Fios Channel 40 or http://phlcouncil.com/watch-city-council/
1:30 p.m. - the Pittsburgh City Council Standing Committee will meet. Council Chambers, City-County Building, Pittsburgh.
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KICKER: “One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption,” he wrote in his 37-page opinion. “Instead, this court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations … unsupported by the evidence.” – US District Judge Matthew W. Brann. From the Inquirer.
Kicker, Fetterman edition: “Are they going to send the gay pride police to come and seize them? I didn't know we had that division in the state police.” From the AP.