Hello, devoted readers of The Inquirer Morning Newsletter.

First: One Pa. lawmaker’s tab for doing the people’s business totaled $1.8 million.

Then: There’s much to discuss about why the 76ers are on the outside of the Eastern Conference finals again. We’re bringing you the full picture.

And: The organization behind Philly’s biggest annual LGBTQ Pride parade and festival abruptly dissolved and canceled its upcoming Pride festivities.

P.S.: I’m thrilled to introduce you to our new newsletter editor, Olayemi Falodun, who will be your lead writer here, starting this week.

It has been a pleasure starting each day with you for the last nine months and bringing you essential Inquirer journalism. But it’s not goodbye from me. I’ll still be here once a week, as well as supporting the rest of our newsletters. Sign up for them here. Feel free to e-mail me if you have thoughts on how we can keep making our newsletters more valuable to you.

— Ashley Hoffman (@_AshleyHoffman, ahoffman@inquirer.com) and Olayemi Falodun (morningnewsletter@inquirer.com)

One Pa. lawmaker’s tab for doing the people’s business: $1.8 million

Despite a break for the legislature and a screeching halt for policymaking in the Capitol, state Rep. Chris Sainato, a Western Pennsylvanian Democrat from Lawrence County, was cashing in again. Back in early August 2019, he was headed to Nashville to meet with other legislators from around the country. Later that same month, he hit Harrisburg, then Coatesville, Lewistown, State College, Erie, back to Harrisburg, and around a number of towns close to Pittsburgh.

From when he was elected to the House in late 1994 to mid-January of this year, Sainato spent or has been reimbursed personally for more than $1.8 million in mileage, meals, lodging, travel, and office-related costs — including nearly $640,000 in per diems — all charged to taxpayers, according to an analysis of expense records by the Caucus and Spotlight PA as part of their ongoing investigation, the Hidden Tab. To put that in context, Sainato’s expenses climbed higher than those of most of his colleagues, not because he spent extravagantly, but because of a mobile style of legislating that was unique to him.

He says his expenses are just part of doing the people’s business, and business has been brisk. Still, even he was startled by the number. ”I can’t believe that,” Sainato said in a recent interview when informed of his expenses. “I don’t know where you are getting $1.8 million.”

Read on for the full report on his expenses from reporters Angela Couloumbis of Spotlight PA, and Brad Bumstead, Sam Janesch and Mike Wereschagin of the Caucus.

Let’s talk about the 76ers

It hasn’t even been two full days since we’ve never been more aware of the basketball situation in Philadelphia. The 76ers (a.k.a. we) lost the game and the playoff series with it, and there’s still much to discuss.

  • We lost “largely because of Simmons,” columnist Marcus Hayes wrote, dissecting the loss. He even said this is the moment from which Ben Simmons might not recover. Suffice it to say the living basketball legends did not mince words about Simmons’ performance.

  • And how does Simmons compare with his Hawks counterpart Trae Young, anyhow? We tracked how many shots they took during seven games, and the results are dramatic.

  • For Joel Embiid’s part, he has one thing to say about the matter.

  • But will Simmons be shopped around? As for what the coach is saying, after a day of wavering, Doc Rivers is standing behind Simmons with a corrective workout recommendation.

Reopening resources

What you need to know today

  • Philly Pride Presents, which hosted the city’s biggest annual LGBTQ Pride parade and festival for 28 years, has suddenly dissolved and canceled its upcoming Pride festivities. This news follows the fallout after posting an ahistorical retelling of the Stonewall uprising on its Facebook page earlier this month.

  • Philly hit a vaccine milestone yesterday.

  • In the first poll after Republican Jack Ciattarelli secured his party’s nomination in the race for New Jersey governor, Fairleigh Dickinson University found that most respondents don’t know him, as he trails 15 points behind incumbent Phil Murphy.

  • Carl Nassib became the first active NFL player to announce he’s gay. The Las Vegas Raiders lineman took to Instagram from his offseason home in West Chester yesterday with a message to deliver.

  • American Airlines is cutting 1% of its schedule in July at Philadelphia International Airport due to bad weather in other large cities that disrupted the schedule, but the company notes there are other factors at play.

  • Hear from a writer about how being immunocompromised means that the COVID-19 vaccine isn’t enough to fully protect people like her. Science is working on it, though.

  • Paul Katz, who helmed the University of the Sciences as president since 2016, announced he will retire next month as his school gets closer to merging with St. Joseph’s University.

  • Police said a shooting suspect died after jumping off a moving train on SEPTA’s Market-Frankford Line yesterday morning after a robbery attempt.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Rooftop dreaming with summer on the horizon in the city. Thanks for sharing.

Tag your Instagram posts with #OurPhilly, and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature here and give you a shout-out.

That's interesting

👯 Here’s a preview of Pennsylvania Ballet’s coming fall season, which features new venues — and a new name after nearly 60 years.

🦆 DuckDuckGo drew $100 million from Internet pioneers, but don’t expect a fancy HQ for the Paoli-based company.

⚾ After a rough outing over the weekend, Phillies ace Aaron Nola is looking to get back to top form.

🍔 Look no further than these burger spots if you’re looking to find where the beef is in the city.


“Votes against syringe exchange are blatant anti-science votes. If Atlantic City has a problem with the location of the syringe service program, the city should work harder to find a new, permanent, and easily accessible place,” The Inquirer Editorial Board, which operates independently from the newsroom, writes about Atlantic City’s forced shutdown of its syringe program.

  • Barbershops and salons are trusted entities that can play a role in talking up the benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccines, addressing health care disparities, and dispelling myths, too, writes Krystal Hill, an internal medicine resident at Baylor College of Medicine.

  • Adding $68 million to curb violence is a waste if Philly won’t evaluate what works, writes Temple University professor Jerry Ratcliffe, arguing that outcome-focused assessment will pay dividends for years to come.

  • The tide keeps turning against the idea of the NCAA being a bastion of amateurism. Columnist Mike Jensen talked to a lawyer about the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous decision to hammer down on the NCAA and what this ruling means for compensating college athletes now.

What we’re reading

Your daily dose of | Trios

This. Trio. Since in utero, they’ve been inseparable, and they’re not parting ways anytime soon. The lacrosse players graduated high school at the top of their class. Lax touchdown! And whatever the lacrosse equivalent of a black belt in team spirit is, when it comes to Total Mindmeld Mountain ascension, they’re playing at an all-star level. They’re going to Villanova University, where they’re sharing a dorm room, the same major, and the same aspirational approach to life in general, pretty much. Nova, a singular force of (3) is coming your way to #win.