The Regional Roundup: May 2, 2022

A damaging new report on child welfare in Philly; opening up our closed primary election system to over a million voters; NJ works to preserve the Atlantic white cedar tree

Listen 49:29
A colorful sign says

A sign tells voters to "Vote Here." (Danya Henninger/Billy Penn)

The City’s Special Committee on Child Separations just released a scathing report about the Department of Human Service’s practices for keeping kids safe. In particular, the report claims an extremely high rate of placing children into foster care. Councilmember At-Large David Oh (@DavidOhPhilly), co-chair of the committee that released the study, joins us to discuss reforming the practice of separating families in Philadelphia in cases of abuse and neglect.

Today is the last day to register to vote – or switch your party affiliation – for the upcoming Pennsylvania primary election. The Commonwealth’s closed primary system means over a million independent and unaffiliated voters will not be able to vote for the candidates of their choice. We’ll talk with Ballot PA Chair David Thornburgh about repealing closed primaries and PA House Representative Chris Quinn (@RepChrisQuinn), one of the Republican congressmembers working on bipartisan legislation to open our primary elections.

And, Atlantic white cedars thrive in the boggy wetlands of New Jersey’s Pine Barrens, but the state has lost 80% of the species, and rising sea levels caused by climate change are posing a big threat. NJ Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette joins us alongside Matthew Olson, assistant professor of environmental science at Stockton University, to talk about the tree’s history and ecology and new funding that aims to bring new life to this crucial part of the Pinelands ecosystem.

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