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‘Momnibus’ bills would expand access to doulas, provide essentials to new parents

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‘Momnibus’ bills would expand access to doulas, provide essentials to new parents


The department says Pennsylvania averaged just under 133,000 births a year from 2018 to 2022. Providing one of each kit per baby at the estimated prices would cost the state just under $36 million annually.

“We will be paying for some of these items twice,” state Rep. Kate Klunk (R., York) argued on the House floor, adding, “This bill does not target the moms who need it the most.”

The state House also took recent action on a priority for Shapiro: putting free period products in public schools. “Girls deserve to have peace of mind so they can focus on learning,” the governor said in his February budget address.

Karla Coffman, a certified school nurse at York Suburban High School, told Spotlight PA that every day she sees students who lack period products or attempt to use something else in their place.

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While toilet paper or paper towels may be more accessible, they are unhygienic, Coffman said, and can lead to embarrassment at best or infection at worst.

“You need to calm them down and get them back to learning,” she added.

That’s why she buys a couple of boxes of period products each year to keep on hand. However, the school district considers the expense nonessential, and some community partners — such as a church next door that runs a food pantry for the school’s low-income students — won’t pay for tampons.

The state House voted 117-85 in favor of a bill that would appropriate $3 million for a free period product program.

Periods are “not a dirty thing to talk about. It’s very natural,” state House Speaker Joanna McClinton (D., Philadelphia) told Spotlight PA. “And it’s something that not only we should talk about, but most importantly, we should meet the need because we’re able to do so.”

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Most Republican representatives voted against the bill, including state Rep. Stephanie Borowicz (R., Clinton), who said the proposal “is another step by the governor and Democrats to provide everything to you, which leads to communism.”

Immediately after Shapiro’s address, state Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R., Westmoreland) told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the governor’s proposal was “straight-on, full-fledged, spend, spend, spend,” citing his pitch to put “sanitary napkins in schools” as an example.

Pressed a week later in a TV interview, Ward struck a more conciliatory tone, saying that she wasn’t criticizing the pitch and that it was inexpensive.

“If there’s a need, we’ll do it,” she said, “but I have never, ever had a school come to me and say it’s a need.”

The bills are now in the hands of the Republican-controlled state Senate, which must consent to any new spending and has frequently criticized Democrat’s spending proposals.

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With higher-than-expected state revenues, though, some new spending could be on the table.

“Divided government invariably requires a degree of give and take,” state Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman (R., Indiana) told Spotlight PA last week.

Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan, and nonprofit newsroom producing investigative and public-service journalism that holds the powerful to account and drives positive change in Pennsylvania.



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Pennsylvania

Man wanted for Shreveport homicide arrested in Pennsylvania for allegedly stealing cars

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Man wanted for Shreveport homicide arrested in Pennsylvania for allegedly stealing cars


Disclaimer: All persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A man wanted for a 2023 homicide in Shreveport was arrested Wednesday in Pennslyvania.

According to the Coatesville Police Department, officers were investigating a string of burglaries and a crash involving a stolen vehicle that occurred on June 4. They determined a suspect to be 18-year-old Zyun Thomas, who was wanted on a homicide warrant out of Shreveport.

Detectives saw Thomas walk into a convenience store and arrested him after he resisted arrest and attempted to flee.

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Thomas faces 3 counts of theft of a motor vehicle, burglary, receiving stolen property, criminal trespass, resisting arrest, and several other related charges on top of the homicide warrant. The crash he caused allegedly caused thousands of dollars in damage to City property and buildings.

Thomas is currently being held in the Chester County Prison in West Chester, Pennslyvania.



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Pennsylvania bridge closed after oversized load gets stuck

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Pennsylvania bridge closed after oversized load gets stuck


The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is asking drivers to expect a long term closure following a bridge strike in Troy Township on Wednesday.

The bridge strike occurred late in the morning on June 12 on the bridge carrying Route 6 over Sugar Creek in Troy Township, Pennsylvania.

Images shared from the scene show that the truck’s oversized load came partially off the trailer and is lodged in the bridge structure.

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WETM reports that the item being transported is an empty water tank used in natural gas drilling.

PennDOT advises that Route 6 closed in both directions between Route 4017 (Leona Road) and Route 3034 (Mud Creek Road). The closure is expected to be long term.

The detour route has drivers using Leona Road, Route 4014 (Springfield Road), and Route 14.

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Water systems in Pennsylvania show high PFAS levels above EPA standards

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Water systems in Pennsylvania show high PFAS levels above EPA standards


Nearly 19% of Pennsylvania’s water systems have PFAS levels exceeding new federal standards, raising concerns about water safety in several counties.

Zoë Read reports for WHYY.


In short:

  • Public water providers in Pennsylvania found PFAS levels above federal regulations in 19% of tested systems between January and March 2024.
  • The highest contamination in Pennsylvania was at Brookside Village Mobile Home Park, with levels reaching 2,100 parts per trillion.
  • Smaller municipalities and communities are most affected, often lacking advanced filtration systems found in larger water providers.

Key quote:

“These forever chemicals are just about everywhere, and it’s hard not to find them.”

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— Chuck Powley, PFAS Solutions

Why this matters:

PFAS, often called “forever chemicals” due to their persistence in the environment and human body, have been linked to various health problems, including cancer, liver damage, and reproductive issues. These substances, commonly found in household products like non-stick cookware, waterproof clothing, and firefighting foams, are notorious for their resistance to breaking down.



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