Here's what's trending for June 22.

While she is remaining a registered Democrat, St. Sen. Lisa Boscola has signed an affiliation agreement with a centrist political party known as the Forward Party. "We can't solve big problems or major policies because we are electing people who are beholden to party ideals and less-worried about finding that middle ground," Boscola says. A second Democrat senator, Anthony Williams, has also signed on with the Forward Party, which was founded by 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang.

The Easton Area School Board approved a budget for next year with a 2% tax increase. The 2% tax increase equals about $89 a year for the average Easton Area School District homeowner. It's the eighth property tax increase in the past nine years in the school district.

A police officer was hurt in a crash in Allentown. It happened Tuesday evening at the intersection of 31st and Capital streets. Investigators say it appears a pickup truck pulled out in front of the officer, causing the crash. The officer was taken to the hospital, but is expected to be okay. The driver of the truck sustained minor injuries.

Parkland School officials say they'll need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to build new facilities for their overcrowded district. The board Tuesday night reviewed cost estimates for building projects that range from about $169 million to just under $400 million. Potential solutions to the overcrowding include building a ninth grade center or creating a new school for eighth and ninth-graders. An architectural firm is doing a feasibility study for the district on each option. A final decision could come in September.

It's believed a white supremacist group is responsible for tossing anti-Semitic fliers into yards in a Upper Macungie Township neighbor. Jeff Halbert received one of those fliers. "It's just not right. Information like that is just lies that you don't need out there," Halbert says. One of the fliers reads, "Diversity means fewer white people and inclusion means the exclusion of white people and equity means stealing from white people," one read.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control board says May 2023 saw more than $479-million in total revenue for Pennsylvania's gaming industry, a seven-percent increase when compared to May 2022. The Wind Creek Casino Resort in Bethlehem pulled in $46.2 million of that amount, down more than five-percent from May of the previous year.

The state House Education Committee has approved legislation that would mandate student-teachers get paid for their time in the classroom. It would give students who are enrolled in an initial teacher certification program a tax-exempt grant of at least ten-thousand-dollars. Students who are teaching in areas that attract few new instructors or that have a high rate of teacher vacancies would get an additional minimum five-thousand-dollars. The stipends would be administered by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.

A group of House Democrats and Republicans are launching a rebranded caucus focused on bipartisan cooperation. The so-called Meet in the Middle Caucus is chaired by Representative Stephen Kinsey of Philadelphia and Republican Representative Jamie Flick of Lycoming. The group includes 27 Democrats and 15 Republicans. The caucus was originally created in December 2020. Democrats in the Pennsylvania House, currently have only a one-seat majority, so caucus supporters say bipartisanship is extremely important in getting bills passed.

Another Democrat wants to become Pennsylvania’s next attorney general. 48-year-old Keir Bradford-Grey was Montgomery County’s chief public defender and recruited in 2012 by now-Gov. Josh Shapiro, who at the time was about to become chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. She would become the first Black attorney general in Pennsylvania and also the first attorney general whose legal experience was primarily as a public defender. Two other Democrats, ex-Auditor General Eugene DePasquale and former federal prosecutor Joe Kahn have already announced their candidacy for the Democratic nomination.

State lawmakers have reached a deal that provides property tax relief for New Jersey seniors. This means the state budget is on track to pass the legislature ahead of the deadline of midnight on June 30th. The program, called StayNJ, has the support of Governor Phil Murphy and the Democratic-led legislature, which makes it likely to pass by the end of the month. The program provides seniors who make up to a half-million dollars a year with additional property tax relief.

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