WEATHER: Philadelphia, mostly sunny, high of 41; Harrisburg, partly cloudy, high of 41; Pittsburgh, partly cloudy, high of 39.
NEW THIS MORNING:
* The strange, convoluted tale of a tax collector elected with just one write-in vote – his own – and the legal and political shambles that followed is a cautionary tale of obscure offices and the power of the vote, the Inquirer writes.
* PA Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, facing mounting criticism over her conviction on bribery and other charges, finally agreed to step down, the Inquirer writes.
* One of the biggest question marks heading into the 2019 Philadelphia municipal elections is just how big a role “Big Soda” will play, according to WHYY.
* Philadelphia City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart has released a searchable database that details all revenue and expenditures for the city’s sugary drinks tax since its enactment in 2017, the Voice writes.
* PA Budget Secretary Randy Albright cited a number of factors, including improved gambling revenues, closing sales tax loopholes and an improving economy, in his report stating that the state budget should stay in the black for 2018-2019, the Patriot-News writes.
* Albright announced he will leave his post at the end of the year; he will be replaced as budget secretary by Jen Swails, currently the fiscal management director of the newly created Shared Services Budget Office, the Patriot-News reports.
* PA Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is looking to save the state money by increasing oversight of the middlemen known as pharmacy benefit managers in its Medicaid program, the Inquirer reports.
* Luzerne County will hire an outside law firm to investigate county election director Marisa Crispell’s ties to the company that supplied its electronic voting machines and paid for trips she took to company-sponsored meetings, the Citizens’ Voice writes.
* In a break from tradition, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney will begin paying his interns beginning next summer, Billy Penn writes.
* A judge rejected an emergency petition for an immediate shutdown of the controversial Mariner East 2 pipeline, WITF reports.
* The Inquirer cites the fiscal debacle of the city’s $42 million loss on the sale of the former Provident Mutual Life campus as just the latest example of why the public needs better access to and understanding of the city’s financial dealings.
* Billy Penn has an op-ed by Reuben Jones, who argues that the state’s new sentencing algorithm should be seen as a weapon of mass incarceration.
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8:07 a.m. - Gov. Tom Wolf will be interviewed on KDKA-AM. To listen online, click here.
9:30 a.m. - the PA House Public Pension Management And Asset Investment Review Commission will meet. Room G-50, Irvis Office Building, Harrisburg.
10 a.m. - the Pittsburgh City Council Standing Committee will meet. Council Chambers, City-County Building, Pittsburgh.
10 a.m. - the Philadelphia City Council Committee on Public Health and Human Services will meet. Room 400, City Hall, Philadelphia.
11 a.m. - the PA Senate Democratic Policy Committee will meet. Hilton Philadelphia, Versailles Ballroom, 4200 City Avenue, Philadelphia.
11:30 a.m. - the Pittsburgh City Council Committee on Hearings will meet. Council Chambers, City-County Building, Pittsburgh.
12 p.m. - Governor Tom Wolf will speak at the York Rotary Club luncheon. Country Club of York, 1400 Country Club Road, York.
4:50 p.m. - Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney will dress as Buddy the Elf and join Councilman Mark Squilla for the Franklin Square Electrical Spectacle Light Show before heading to Burke Playground to greet children. Franklin Square, 200 N. 6th St, Philadelphia. 2nd Location - Burke Playground, 200 Snyder Ave., Philadelphia.
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KICKER: “The court’s finding that the investigation and prosecution carried overtones of racism and political animus is only the first step in the ultimate vindication of my God-given and constitutional right to be treated fairly under the law. Emboldened by the civil rights giants that have gone before me, and with the love and support of my family and friends, I live to fight another day against injustice and racism.” – an excerpt from PA Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown’s letter of resignation to Speaker Mike Turzai. From WHYY.