SIGN UP A FRIEND: If you like our First Read newsletter, let your friends and colleagues know. They can sign up here: http://goo.gl/24GAi7

 

WEATHER: Philadelphia, morning rain, high of 60; Harrisburg, partly cloudy, high of 56; Pittsburgh, partly cloudy, high of 52.

 

NEW THIS MORNING:

* PennLive reports that a controversial and possibly illegal bill that would have restricted abortion access hit a wall after a press conference featuring mothers who received medically recommended abortions that would be banned under the proposed law. GOP leaders voluntarily put the bill on hold until at least next month: http://goo.gl/p05gS4

* A House Education Committee again voted in favor of a bill that would allow - although not require - public schools to post the national motto, “In God We Trust,” inside school buildings. Democrats questioned the need to reintroducing the failed GOP bill, as nothing currently bars schools from displaying the motto, accoring to PennLive: http://goo.gl/kO2kLa

* Councilmembers slammed the School District of Philadelphia for the nearly 100 teacher vacancies remaining at the end of the school year, the Philadelphia Daily News reports. The district blamed a strong job market for its difficulty filling positions, which has resulted in hundreds of non-certified substitutes filling them on an interim basis: http://goo.gl/w1RriO  

* The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote that Mayor Jim Kenney named Blanche Carney, a social worker and 21-year veteran of prison rehabilitative services, as the city’s new prisons commissioner, signaling possible reform for a county prison system that has faced intense criticism for overcrowding and inmate deaths: http://goo.gl/60WiOc

* Moviegoers in Philly will get the sweet taste of the beverage industry’s lobbying against Mayor Kenney’s proposed soda tax before their flick, as theaters screen commercials trashing the levy along with trailers. Movie theaters, which make a killing on sugary drink sales, will screen the ads at no charge, according to the Inquirer: http://goo.gl/8XNga2

* After stalling just days before a vote, PA Senate lawmakers introduced technical changes to a medical marijuana bill that could now sail to passage, the Inquirer reports: http://goo.gl/P5pB9T

 

THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE:

* NYC Mayor Bill DiBlasio is defending a racially tinged joke he told onstage during a skit with Hillary Clinton in New York City over the weekend where he obliquely referenced “colored people time”: http://goo.gl/UBurTw

* Bernie Sanders ripped Clinton for saying that young people who criticized her ties to the oil and gas industry hadn’t “done their research,” calling the comments “condescending,” according to CNN: http://goo.gl/euiXAd  

* As an ailing Trump campaign lashes out at the GOP delegate process, Politico reports that billionaires have continued to fund anti-Trump ground operations across the U.S.: http://goo.gl/krQNKV

 

************

We won $15 at UPMC, and we aren’t done!

Hospital workers won a huge victory for Pittsburgh – the largest wage raise from a private employer in the country. UPMC executives said it wasn’t possible, but we proved that by standing together we win.

We can’t stop there. It’s for UPMC to stop its unlawful anti-union campaign and respect our union rights. Stand with us on April 14th for our rights, our families and our city.

************

 

EDITORIAL PAGES:

* In a Philadelphia magazine online op-ed, consultant and Neighborhood Transformation Initiative veteran Jay McCalla explains why Mayor Kenney’s massive spending plan to upgrade the city’s parks and recreation centers is fatally flawed: http://goo.gl/xe6uXe      

* The Inquirer publishes the transcript of its editorial board’s conference call with Hillary Clinton: http://goo.gl/6HxySd

* Michael Kraft, a professor emeritus of political science and public and environmental affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, proposes in an Inquirer op-ed that climate change deniers like fossil-fuel companies that have willingly engaged in deceiving the public should be prosecuted much as tobacco companies were for misleading the public about the dangers of smoking: http://goo.gl/yCtuuu    

* The PennLive editorial board argues that it is long past time to put to bed the derogatory phrase first made popular by James Carville, the Pennsylvania is little more than Philadelphia on one side, Pittsburgh on the other - and Alabama in-between: http://goo.gl/F1YcTW      

* After news broke that solar energy gompany SunEdison said it faces a “substantial risk of bankruptcy,” the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review editorial board makes the case that it is time to stop subsidizing green companies:http://goo.gl/yfYInl   

 

************

Want to be the first to subscribe to City & State PA’s new glossy magazine?  Just send an email to David Alpher atpublisher@cityandstatepa.com and get the details!

************

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Belatedly to House Reps. W. Curtis Thomas and Dan Frankel … Want to wish someone a happy birthday in our newsletter? Email us their name, job title and upcoming birthday ateditor@cityandstatepa.com

 

TODAY’S SKED:

9 a.m. - The PA House and Senate Committees on Education hold a joint public hearing on the Every Student Succeeds Act. Hearing Room 1, North Office, Harrisburg.

9:30 a.m. - The PA House Committee on Environmental Resources & Energy holds a voting meeting on Chapter 78/78a Regulations, and any other business that may come before the Committee. Room 205, Ryan Office, Harrisburg.

9:30 a.m. - The PA House Committee on Finance holds a voting meeting on HB 245, SB 356, and any other business that may come before the Committee. Room B31, Main Capitol, Harrisburg.

10 a.m. - Philadelphia City Council Committee of the Whole holds its meeting. Room 400, City Hall, Philadelphia.

10 a.m. - Mayor Kenney will be in attendance as the Peace Drums Steel Band, an interfaith peacemaking project comprised of Christian, Jewish and Muslim youths from Israel, kicks off a 10-day tour of the East Coast. Mayor’s Reception Room, City Hall Room 202, Philadelphia.

10:30 a.m. - The PA Senate Committee on Local Government meets to consider Senate Bill No. 1038; and House Bills No. 13251394 and 1661. Senate Majority Caucus Room, Harrisburg.

10:55 a.m. - Mayor Kenney welcomes media members interested in covering the Democratic National Convention this summer as they tour the facility and receive detailed information about logistics for their coverage. The Mayor and DNCC CEO Rev. Leah D. Daughtry will deliver remarks. Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St., Philadelphia.

11 a.m. - The PA House will reconvene.

11 a.m. - The PA Senate Committee on Education meets to consider Senate Bills No. 807 and 1200. Hearing Room 1, North Office Building, Harrisburg.

11 a.m. - The PA Senate Committee on Environmental Resources & Energy meets to consider Senate Bills No. 1011 and 1195; and Chapter 78/78a regulations. Room 8E-A, East Wing, Harrisburg.

11:15 a.m. - The PA Senate Committees on Agriculture & Rural Affairs and Environmental Resources & Energy hold an informational meeting providing a federal update comparing State Animal Ag Programs and water quality monitoring trends. Room 8E-A, East Wing.

12:15 p.m. - Mayor Kenney attends an event where 3- to 6-year-olds will build, create and play with wooden blocks at the Kingsessing Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. 1201 S. 51st Street, Philadelphia.

1 p.m. - Philadelphia City Council’s Committee on the Environment holds a meeting. Room 400, City Hall, Philadelphia.

1 p.m. - The PA Senate will reconvene.

1:15 p.m. - Mayor Kenney formally introduces the newly appointed Fire and Prisons Commissioners. Mayor’s Reception Room, City Hall, Philadelphia.

4:30 p.m. - Mayor Kenney and Managing Director Mike DiBerardinis congratulate AmeriCorps Cohort 5 for their completion of six months of service and their transition into employment, and Cohort 6’s formal induction into AmeriCorps Service. The View, 800 N. Broad St., Philadelphia.

6:30 p.m. - Mayor Kenney congratulates the winners of the Knight Cities Challenge, who receive funding from a pool of $5 million to implement new ideas to attract and retain talent, advance opportunity and promote robust civic engagement. Reading Terminal Market, 51 N. 12th Street, Philadelphia.

***********

City & State’s ELECTION PREVIEW

Coming up in our inaugural issue: We look at the key races impacting Pennsylvania, including the Democratic primary battles for Attorney General, the 2nd Congressional District and the Senate, as well as pivotal state contests. Ad deadline is Monday, April 18. To advertise, contact David Alpher at dalpher@cityandstatepa.com  

***********


KICKER: "This tax will hit moviegoers from Old City art houses to North Philadelphia megaplexes, and will prevent families from spending quality time together doing something they love," Theatergoers Association President Gina DiSanto, outlines how Mayor Kenney’s proposed sugary drink tax would prevent moviegoing families from drinking soda in the dark together, via the Inquirer