Happy Friday and welcome to June, Philly. Lawmakers in Pennsylvania want to get things done in Harrisburg, but they feel like things are too polarized. Could open primaries fix the issue? Some legislators say yes, but many experts aren't convinced. Andrea Constand's first interview since the conviction of Bill Cosby airs tonight on NBC. In a preview of the conversation, Constand goes into detail about an encounter with the comedian. Chemicals in contaminated water near military bases in Pennsylvania might have made its way into the bloodstreams of nearby residents. The state health department wants to test hundreds of people in those areas, but early on, they're running into some issues. Thanks for starting your day with us. Let's get you prepared to wrap up the work week.
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Some state lawmakers want to address polarization in Harrisburg by changing state election law to allow for open primaries where voters unaffiliated with the two major parties can vote for nominees in either party.
The thought is that less-partisan voters in primaries would have a moderating influence over which politicians wind up in Harrisburg. However, political scientists and researchers say the plan could actually backfire.
Legislative leaders point to upsets in Pennsylvania primaries that they say happened because the "extremes of the parties have taken over the primary process," as Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati puts it. After the success of outsider candidates, some lawmakers have introduced legislation to open the primaries.
"I was crying out inside," Andrea Constand told Kate Snow as she described the effects of the "three blue pills" that Bill Cosby called her "friends." Tonight, NBC will air Constand's first interview since Cosby's conviction.
Several other women who have accused the 80-year-old comedian of sexual misconduct will appear in the Dateline special. Snow also sat down with Constand's mother, Gianna Constand.
While many women accused Cosby of sexual assault, Constand's case was the only one that resulted in criminal charges — and eventually a conviction. Cosby is scheduled for sentencing later this year.
Bucks and Montgomery County residents are being offered a rare chance to see how many chemicals from drinking water may have made it into their bloodstreams. The Pennsylvania Department of Health wants to test hundreds of people in those areas where drinking water was contaminated by chemicals from nearby military bases.
The effects of the chemicals on humans are not entirely clear, but they have been linked to some cancers. According to the state health department, the chemicals could impact the immune system and growth among other things.
Pennsylvania wants to test 500 residents, but to this point, the state hasn't received enough responses from households that were randomly selected. In May, it was reported that aides to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and the White House sought to block a study into water contamination near military bases from being made public.
Congratulations to the winner of this week's #OurPhilly poll. Can't help but be green with envy looking at this beautiful picture, @sepoulton.
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