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After the Trump assassination attempt, defining democracy gets even harder; Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate; DC residents push back on natural gas infrastructure build-up a new law allows youth on Medi-Cal to consent to mental health treatment.

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Former President Trump is injured but safe after an attempted assassination many condemn political violence. Democrats' fears intensify over Biden's run. And North Carolina could require proof of citizenship to vote.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

PA's New Broadband Development Authority Overseeing Internet Expansion

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Tuesday, January 11, 2022   

Pennsylvania stands to gain at least $100 million to improve broadband access from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority, established last month, will help coordinate the expansion of high-speed internet access throughout the state, by managing the influx of federal funds to support the construction of new towers, lines and broadband equipment.

Bill Johnston-Walsh, Pennsylvania state director for AARP, said nearly two years into the pandemic, expanding internet access across the state is critical, as it helped older adults better access medical care and contact family during COVID-19.

"They really want to stay connected to their families, especially their grandchildren," Johnston-Walsh pointed out. "And utilizing this $100 million is really going to go a long way to ensure that we have the health benefits we need through telehealth and that we really reduce social isolation."

More than 800,000 Pennsylvanians lack access to high-speed internet, with more than 500,000 of those residents living in rural areas.

Sheri Collins, executive director of corporate relations for the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, said increasing internet bandwidth could help students who struggled to connect to virtual class during the pandemic.

"And in some cases, it was not even an opportunity for some of our students," Collins explained. "So if you think about the disconnect, and you think about learning opportunities that may have been missed as a result of that lack of broadband infrastructure, it's significant."

Collins noted the department is currently working on identifying state lawmakers to serve on the Broadband Development Authority. From there, the team will begin to pinpoint regions in the state most in need of infrastructure for high-speed internet access.

Disclosure: AARP Pennsylvania contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Consumer Issues, Livable Wages/Working Families, and Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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"I truly love our Country, and love you all, and look forward to speaking to our Great Nation this week from Wisconsin," wrote Former President Donald Trump on social media. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

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