WEATHER: Philadelphia, p.m. thunderstorms, high of 89; Harrisburg, thunderstorms, high of 85; Pittsburgh, a.m. thunderstorms, high of 85.



* The state’s 2018-19 budget contains millions in economic development grants – including ones that neither the Department of Community and Economic Development nor beneficiaries can fully explain.



* Republicans and Democrats from around the region condemned remarks made by President Donald Trump during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in which he cast doubt on the findings of US intelligence agencies about tampering in the 2016 Election, the Inquirer reports.

* Many of the anti-immigration policies that rocketed GOP Senate candidate Lou Barletta to political stardom while mayor of Hazleton came at a great financial cost for his hometown, according to the Inquirer.

* Gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner slammed Gov. Tom Wolf for effectively dropping plans for property tax reform, the Patriot-News writes.

* State Rep. Brian Sims said in an interview with The Advocate that he serves with “over a dozen” closeted legislators in Harrisburg who have sometimes backed anti-LGBTQ legislation.

* Applications began to roll in for state-issued online gambling permits, according to the Sentinel.

* A US Circuit Court Judge questioned the Delaware River Basin Commission’s ability to effectively protect the watershed from contamination by hydraulic fracking, the Morning Call reports.

* Pennsylvania will spend $2 million in federal funds in an effort to stanch a teacher shortage through enhanced residency programs, WHYY writes.


Correction: an item in First Read yesterday incorrectly referred to equity partner Nicholas Ranjan as a private equity manager.



* The Inquirer has an op-ed by Rob Wonderling, president/CEO of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, who writes about how President Trump can save 1,100 refining Philadelphia jobs with the stroke of a pen.

* The Patriot-News calls on the legislature to come up with a compromise Act 47 exit strategy for Harrisburg that will allow the city to keep its forward economic momentum, including the recent building boom.


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9:30 a.m. - The PA Senate Transportation Committee will meet. Monroeville Municipal Building, 2700 Monroeville Boulevard  Monroeville.

10 a.m. - the Pittsburgh City Council will meet. Council Chambers, City-County Building, Pittsburgh.

1 p.m. - the PA Senate Democratic Policy Committee will meet. Hosanna House, Wallace Event Center, 807 Wallace Ave., Wilkinsburg.

1:30 p.m. - The PA House Transportation and Urban Affairs Committees will meet. Philadelphia Parking Authority, 701 Market Street, Suite 5400, Philadelphia.

2 p.m. - the Pittsburgh City Council Standing Committee will meet. Council Chambers, City-County Building, Pittsburgh.

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KICKER: “I serve with over a dozen closeted members, whom I would never identify to anybody else, and when I joined the legislature, many of them were co-sponsors of anti-LGBT bills.” - State Rep. Brian Sims on LGBTQ politics and Harrisburg. From the Advocate.