Behind the Water Works — fencing or art? (Instagram/@jpiette660)

Pa. budget talks get contentious as deadline looms

A day before the deadline, Harrisburg is still debating the Pennsylvania budget, with education funding one of the sticking points. Gov. Shapiro’s support of “lifeline scholarships” — which many call school vouchers — is a break with other Democrats and is opposed by the teachers unions. (Meek Mill tweeted and quickly deleted praise for the program.) Public school advocates in Philly want Shapiro to bring the same funding urgency to fixing the district’s asbestos-filled facilities as he did to rebuilding I-95.

Horace Howard Furness High School in South Philly recently received $1.1 million in toxic abatement work — thanks to a grant from the University of Pennsylvania. Many other city school facilities are in desperate need of repair. (Nathan Morris for Billy Penn)

Is using fireworks legal in Philadelphia or nah? 

As July 4 approaches, you’re likely to start hearing more booms around the city. Is that allowed? When, and where, and by whom? Both state and local laws around pyrotechnics have recently gone through a number of changes — and caused a good bit of confusion in the process. Asha Prihar explains the current rules and regs around buying and using fireworks in Philadelphia.

Fireworks in Francisville Playground, likely not used legally. (Danya Henninger/Billy Penn)

RECAP: What else happened?

$ = paywalled

• The wildfire smoke is back. Philly and Pa. are under a Code Red for air quality today, thanks to fires raging across Canada, and it could creep into purple “hazardous” range. Keep tabs at or get more detailed with these other options. [WHYY/AirNow/Billy Penn]

• Mail ballot voters from heavily nonwhite and lower-income communities in Philadelphia are more likely to have their ballots rejected due to simple mistakes. [Spotlight PA]

•  Philly took another step in its efforts to promote community composting and keep food waste out of landfills. Officials cut the ribbon this week on the first facility on city land dedicated to composting leftovers from rec centers. [BP 2022/WHYY]

• Walnut Garden, the buzzy cocktail pop-up in a temporarily vacant lot near Rittenhouse Square, has been shut down by L&I, which cited lack of food license, no electrical permit, and a dangerous diesel fuel tank on site. [6ABC]

• Philadelphia was voted No. 1 for best street art in USA Today’s reader poll. The city has about 2,000 murals, including some notably trippy artworks. [USA Today/BP 2022]

• Is James Harden staying with the Sixers or not? The rumors have been flying back and forth on the point guard’s free agency plans. It’ll all be wrapped up soon; the contract deadline is today. [NBCS Philly/PhillyVoice]


Nada on the public schedule for Mayor Kenney today. 


🕰️ Meet the women of 18th century Philadelphia at the Betsy Ross House courtyard, with cosplayers who’ll showcase colonial life from different racial, religious, social, and political viewpoints. Free. (11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday-Saturday, June 30 to July 2)

💃 The traveling “Pin-Ups on Tour” vintage burlesque and variety show lands at City Winery with a performance that raises money for veterans and VA hospitals. Tickets start at $20. (7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 1)