WEATHER: Philadelphia, rain, high of 42; Harrisburg, a.m. rain, snow showers, high of 43; Pittsburgh, a.m. rain, snow showers, high of 43.
NEW THIS MORNING:
* The Patriot News reports that former Harrisburg Mayor Stephen Reed unexpectedly pleaded guilty to 20 felony counts related to the theft of artifacts from a never-built, taxpayer-funded Wild West museum.
* Philadelphia DA candidate Joe Khan filed a formal complaint intended to strip incumbent Seth Williams of his law license due to Williams’ acceptance of undisclosed political gifts, writes the Inquirer.
* The bribery trial of Philadelphia Sen. Larry Farnese begins today, WHYY reports.
* Protests by prison guards and the launch of a bipartisan investigative panel were the latest moves in an attempt to dissuade Gov. Tom Wolf from shuttering two state prisons, the Morning Call writes.
* James D. Schultz, a Cozen O’Connor partner and former PA general counsel, will serve in the Trump administration in a legal capacity, according to the Inquirer.
* Philly Mayor Jim Kenney officially signed the nation’s first municipal wage equity law – although some fear it could make the gender pay gap even wider, Philadelphia Magazine writes.
* A seventh Allentown mayoral contender – a local bus driver – has jumped into the fray as challengers line up to take on controversial Mayor Ed Pawlowski, according to the Morning Call.
* Closing arguments begin today in the civil trial over a fatal 2013 building collapse on Market Street in Philadelphia, WHYY reports.
* State Sen. Randy Vulakovich and others announced a renewed push to stanch PA’s shrinking number of first-responder personnel, the Patriot News writes.
* Philadelphia’s Human Relations Commission is attempting to use the threat of fines to coerce LGBT bar owners into attending sensitivity training after a racist incident, the Inquirer reports.
* PA officials, including Gov. Wolf, the head of the state DHS and Treasurer Joe Torsella warned the Post-Gazette about the dangerous consequences of an Obamacare repeal.
* Philadelphia reshuffled the heads of several transportation and infrastructure departments, according to PlanPhilly.
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* The Post-Gazette is alarmed by the state’s lack of a plan to replace its drivers licenses to conform to federal regulations, even with a five-month extension granted to do so.
* The Citizens’ Voice is incredulous that despite their constituents being affected by gas companies’ refusal to pay correct royalties, PA GOP lawmakers refuse to do anything about it.
* The Patriot News breaks down what former Harrisburg Mayor Stephen R. Reed’s guilty plea means – and what questions about his tenure remain to be resolved.
* The Observer-Reporter believes that if the PA Department of Corrections can make a valid case for closing two state prisons, then that is cause for celebration.
* The Intelligencer is happy to see property tax reform back on the Harrisburg agenda, but worries about lawmakers’ apparent inability to replace the revenue.
* WHYY’s Dick Polman absorbs the first broadsides from the Trump administration’s war on the truth, and finds the best response is to quote from George Orwell’s “1984.”
* The Inquirer lauds Philadelphia DHS Commissioner Cynthia Figueroa for getting the agency to finally rate the private companies that take care of children under DHS supervision.
* The Dispatch praises Congressman Scott Perry for fighting to make sure all the money from the Crime Victims Fund is used only for victim services.
* The Citizen has a long read on I’m FREE, a re-entry organization for former female inmates.
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8:07 a.m. - Gov. Wolf will be interviewed live on KDKA Morning News with Larry Richert and John Shumway. To listen online, click here.
9:30 a.m. - The PA Senate Transportation Committee will meet. Room 8E-B. East Wing, Harrisburg.
10 a.m. - The PA Senate Judiciary Committee will meet. Room 8E-A. East Wing, Harrisburg.
10 a.m. - Pittsburgh City Council will meet. Council Chambers, City-County Building, Pittsburgh.
10:30 a.m. - The Pa Senate Environmental Resources & Energy Committee will meet. Room 461, Main Capitol, Harrisburg.
11 a.m. - The PA Senate will reconvene. State Capitol, Harrisburg.
11 a.m. - The PA House will reconvene. State Capitol, Harrisburg.
1:30 p.m. - Mayor Kenney will join President Judge Sheila Woods-Skipper, Administrative Judge, Court of Common Pleas – Trial Division, Jacqueline F. Allen, and Chair of the Juror Participation Initiative Committee, Lynn A. Marks, Esq. to formally announce the formation of the Juror Participation Initiative Committee (JPIC), a blue-ribbon panel tasked with advising the Trial Division of the First Judicial District on ways to improve low juror participation in Philadelphia. City Hall, Courtroom 676, Philadelphia.
3 p.m. - Mayor Kenney will join Prisons Commissioner Blanche Carney and Deputy Prisons Commissioner Terrell Bagby as they accept new “book nooks” for the visitor’s lobby of all jails within the Philadelphia Department of Prisons. The “book nooks” were created by volunteers on Greater Philadelphia MLK Day of Service as part of the City’s Read by 4th initiative. Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, 7901 State Road, Philadelphia.
5 p.m. - Mayor Kenney will join Billie Jean King to welcome the Philadelphia Freedoms tennis team back to Philadelphia. Hagan Arena, 2450 N. 54th St., Philadelphia.
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KICKER: “How they got into some box when moving out of office seven years ago, I don't know.” – Former Harrisburg Mayor Stephen Reed, pleading guilty to ‘accidentally’ stealing Wild West artifacts stored for a never-built city museum. From the Patriot News.