WEATHER: Philadelphia: mostly sunny, high of 88; Harrisburg: mostly sunny, high of 87; Pittsburgh: partly cloudy, high of 86.
NEW THIS MORNING:
* Both Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw apologized for the tear-gassing of peaceful protesters by the police on I-676, and Outlaw declared an immediate moratorium on the use of tear gas and pepper spray on any civilians – unless they are “armed and dangerous.” A Philadelphia SWAT officer caught on video using pepper spray on a group of protesters at close range will be fired, and the police commander who greenlit the use of these less-than-lethal munitions will accept a voluntary demotion, WHYY reports.
* Philadelphia City Council adopted its budget Thursday for the next fiscal year, ending a negotiation season full of uncertainty over the financial impact of COVID-19 and debate over police spending amid protests following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The $4.8 billion spending plan includes layoffs for 450 employees, tax hikes, and cuts to several city departments, and goes to Mayor Jim Kenney for his signature before the fiscal year begins Wednesday, the Inquirer reports.
* After two years of investigation, Attorney General Josh Shapiro released a grand jury report Thursday taking aim at the state’s natural gas industry. The report calls out what he says is the corporate negligence that contaminated Pennsylvanians’ water and air, as well as a state regulatory bureaucracy that is, at best, unprepared to watchdog the industry, the Capital-Star reports.
* Philadelphia City Council passed legislation Thursday aimed at strengthening oversight of the Philadelphia Police Department, diversifying its ranks, and curtailing the unlawful use of stop-and-frisk policing, the Inquirer reports.
* Philadelphia City Council unanimously approved a bill Thursday morning that will make it illegal for employers to fire, discipline, or otherwise retaliate against workers who speak up about unsafe coronavirus conditions, the Inquirer reports.
* Pennsylvania is seeing an uptick in the number of confirmed new cases of COVID-19, more than three months after the pandemic first began to spread in the state. The Health Department said Thursday there were 579 new positive cases and 39 deaths. The state’s caseload had been steadily falling, but more recently it has plateaued and now appears to be inching upward, the AP reports.
* The Philadelphia Police Department is under fire for “coddling” violent groups of white people in Fishtown and South Philadelphia during recent protests, the Inquirer reports.
* A New York Times/Siena College poll shows Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden increasing his lead in Pennsylvania – as well as across the country – over President Donald Trump, the Inquirer reports.
* Critics of a proposal to ban “less-lethal” weapons throughout Allegheny County outlined legal and practical concerns about the measure Wednesday. The bill, pending before the county’s 15-member council, would prohibit munitions such as those police in Pittsburgh used to disperse crowds at recent protests over police brutality and systemic racism, WESA reports.
* The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced Thursday that expiration dates for driver licenses, photo identification cards and learner’s permits will be extended in response to statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts, according to a press release, PennLive reports.
* The Inquirer goes all-in on why there should be no quarter given to unconstitutional policing – including stop-and-frisk – in Philadelphia.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: … Claudia Phillips, Chair, Board of Directors, Phillips Associates … Sheriff for the City and County of Philadelphia Rochelle Bilal (6/28) … George Matysik, executive director of the Philadelphia Parks Alliance (6/28) … Harriet Lessy, founder/principal of Buzz Communications (6/28) … Montgomery County Sheriff Sean Kilkenny (6/28) … Want to wish someone a happy birthday in our newsletter? Email us their name, job title and upcoming birthday to firstname.lastname@example.org
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KICKER: “Giant fracking companies were given a free pass by unprepared agencies, and the public was harmed, plain and simple.” – PA AG Josh Shapiro. From the Capital-Star.