WEATHER: Philadelphia: partly cloudy, high of 69; Harrisburg: mostly sunny, high of 72; Pittsburgh: mostly sunny, high of 72.
NEW THIS MORNING:
* The Inquirer investigates how state judges are sentencing people on probation to jail time for debts they are unable to repay, creating modern-day debtor’s jails.
* The aptly named Amish PAC is making a concerted effort to turn out Pennsylvania’s Amish voters to support President Donald Trump in his 2020 reelection bid, the Washington Post reports.
* Enrollment at Pennsylvania’s state universities took a downward tumble for the ninth consecutive year, dropping by 2.6% from last year. With 95,802 students enrolled, the State System of Higher Education now has about the same enrollment as it had 20 years ago, according to the official fall semester student count released on Tuesday, the Patriot-News reports.
* In her bid to win a Philadelphia City Council seat that has been held by Republicans for decades, Working Families Party candidate Kendra Brooks has drawn endorsements from high-profile elected officials and some unions, anger from the city’s Democratic establishment, and the backing of Philly’s progressive movement. She’s also raised a record amount of money for a third-party candidate, the Inquirer writes.
* Two-thirds (67%) of the registered voters contacted in a recent survey said they want an independent commission to be in charge of the redistricting process, which typically occurs every ten years after the completion of the national census, the PA Post reports.
* A Billy Penn analysis of timestamps on more than 350 Philadelphia City Council meeting records over the last decade found that lawmakers start their weekly session less punctually than they used to: City Council sessions are supposed to start at 10 a.m., but according to meeting minutes, the Thursday meetings have an average start time of 11 a.m. this year; a decade ago, that average was 10:18 a.m.
* A bill that aims to let more disabled people access a program that gives them medical services appears primed to move quickly through the state Senate, WITF reports.
* A former chairman of Pennsylvania’s Board of Education, Larry Wittig, has been permanently banned from US Olympic sports for sexual misconduct involving a minor. Wittig resigned from the board in 2017 after the Philadelphia Inquirer first published the allegations, but he remains school board president of the Tamaqua Area School District in Schuylkill County, WHYY reports.
* U.S. Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer and President Donald Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro will travel to Harrisburg on Thursday to announce the assignment of a new naval ship with a name of “significant importance to the region,” according to White House officials, the Patriot-News writes.
* The Citizens’ Voice makes the case for the state to stay out of the business of recreational marijuana sales if and when that becomes a reality.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: … PA Rep. Andrew Dinniman … Philadelphia City Councilmember Mark Squilla … Want to wish someone a happy birthday in our newsletter? Email us their name, job title and upcoming birthday to email@example.com
10 a.m. - the Philadelphia City Council will meet. Room 400, City Hall, Philadelphia.
10 a.m. - the PA House Democratic Policy Committee will meet. Homewood Library, 7101 Hamilton Avenue, Pittsburgh.
10:30 a.m. - Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Leslie S. Richards, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Director Randy Padfield, and Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission CEO Mark Compton will discuss agency preparations and offer public tips for the upcoming winter season. PEMA Media Briefing Room, 1310 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg.
11 a.m. - DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn will dedicate an electric car charging station at Greenwood Furnace State Park in one several stops emphasizing energy conservation in state parks and forests. Greenwood Furnace State Park, 15795 Greenwood Road, Huntingdon.
2 p.m. - Governor Tom Wolf will visit elementary school students learning about science and technology through a program funded by the governor’s PAsmart program. Brookwood Elementary School, 2200 Haines Road, Levittown.
3 p.m. - the Philadelphia City Council Special Committee on Poverty Reduction and Prevention will meet. Room 400, City Hall, Philadelphia.
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KICKER: “We get criticized unfairly…on a lot of stuff. Why give ’em one by starting Council an hour and 15 minutes late? I’m not talking behind anybody’s back. I’ve said this to the Council President. To everybody.” – Philadelphia City Councilman Bill Greenlee. From Billy Penn.