WEATHER: Philadelphia: cloudy, high of 79; Harrisburg: cloudy, high of 79; Pittsburgh: partly cloudy, high of 85.
NEW THIS MORNING:
* With the true financial fallout from the coronavirus still unknown, and the prospects for recovery uncertain, the Pennsylvania legislature is on track this week to approve a temporary, five-month spending plan that does not raise taxes and keeps funding level for all state departments. The move comes as a new independent analysis predicts the state will lose nearly $5 billion in revenue through June of next year, setting the stage for a larger fight in the fall over how to finish the budget, Spotlight PA reports.
* For the second week in a row, the numbers of new unemployment compensation claims in Pennsylvania continued to level off after surging amid the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday state Labor & Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak noted that claims stand at 2.3 million cases since March 15 - slightly higher than last week’s total tally of 2.1 million. Meanwhile, L&I has launched investigations into possible identity fraud involving even state residents who have not applied for unemployment compensation, PennLive reports.
* Pennsylvania’s top health official said Tuesday that cases of COVID-19 continue to “trend downward” and, highlighting a new statistic being released by the state, estimated that more than three-fifths of the people sickened by the virus have recovered, the Tribune-Review reports.
* Montgomery County elections officials are asking a Pennsylvania court to extend the state’s deadline for mail ballots by one week, which would allow voters to have their ballots counted if they arrive within a week after next month’s primary election, the Inquirer reports.
* Last week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court live-streamed oral arguments for the first time in history, to limit the spread of COVID-19. Videos of the court sessions now reside on YouTube – but the media is prohibited from using any of the footage in news broadcasts, WESA reports.
* A state lawmaker is making a renewed push for privatizing Pennsylvania’s state-controlled liquor system amid findings from the state of Washington that its voters now regret making that move in 2011, PennLive reports.
* PennLive profiles the six candidates vying for the Democratic nomination to become the state’s next auditor general.
* Over the last six weeks, Pennsylvania state prisons have temporarily released 153 people under an emergency program designed to limit the spread of COVID-19 behind bars — a total even prison officials say is lower than expected, WHYY reports.
* The inquirer urges Philadelphia voters to vote yes on the two proposed ballot questions – one on whether to create a Department of Labor, the other to amend the City Charter to allow appointed city officers and employees to volunteer for political campaigns.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: … State Superior Court Judge Maria McLaughlin … U.S. Rep. Scott Perry … Want to wish someone a happy birthday in our newsletter? Email us their name, job title and upcoming birthday to email@example.com
9 a.m. - the PA House Children & Youth Committee will meet. Room 60, East Wing, Harrisburg.
9:30 a.m. - the PA House Finance Committee will meet. Room 205, Ryan Office Building, Harrisburg.
9:30 a.m. - the Philadelphia City Council Committee of the Whole will meet. This remote hearing may be viewed on Xfinity Channel 64, Fios Channel 40 or http://phlcouncil.com/watch-city-council/
10 a.m. - the PA Senate Democratic Policy Committee will meet. To attend remotely, click here.
10 a.m. - the Pittsburgh City Council Standing Committee will meet. Council Chambers, City-County Building, Pittsburgh.
10 a.m. - the PA House Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee will meet. Room G50, Irvis Office Building, Harrisburg.
1 p.m. - Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney will join Health Commissioner Dr. Farley, Managing Director Brian Abernathy, and other officials to provide an update on the City’s response to the COVID-19 coronavirus in Philadelphia. Updates will be provided virtually. The 1:00 p.m. press briefings will be offered on the virtual platform Zoom on weekdays, Monday through Friday. Virtual press conferences allow safe social distancing as advised by the CDC and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Members of the media will be able to ask questions through Zoom during the Q&A portion of the briefing.
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KICKER: “All of us are struggling to know exactly what the financial situation is going to look like over the course of the whole next fiscal year. So we are going to do some unusual things.” – Gov. Tom Wolf. From Spotlight PA.