Morning Headlines: Kenney Defends Soda Tax

The mayor: "Big Soda has a lot of money."

Good morning, Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know today:

Mayor Kenney isn’t backing down on his proposed soda tax.

There seems to be growing skepticism of Kenney’s proposed 3-cents-an-ounce tax — Ed Rendell wants to know why it doesn’t cover donuts, too — but Kenney says levy is needed to help pay for universal pre-K in the city. “We have a 26 percent poverty rate, we have children not getting education, we have facilities that are falling down,” Kenney tells KYW. “And big soda has a lot of money, they make a lot of profit off their product and they market in neighborhoods that suffer from these very things that we’re trying to cure.”

Katie McGinty was endorsed by the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee in her Senate race.

Which might be a surprise — the group only occasionally endorses during the primary — except McGinty is known to have been recruited by national Democrats uncomfortable with the possibility of Joe Sestak representing the party, again, against Pat Toomey. “It’s good to have the official imprimatur of the party,” Democratic strategist Mark Nevins told WHYY, “and for donors who are on the fence, it sends a signal that you’re their chosen candidate.” John Fetterman is the third Democrat running for the office.

A New Jersey legislator wants to ban people from texting while walking.

NBC10 reports 11 percent of all fatalities in 2005 involved pedestrians — number that rose to 15 percent in 2014. “Distracted pedestrians, like distracted drivers, present a potential danger to themselves and drivers on the road,” says New Jersey Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, the bill’s sponsor. “An individual crossing the road distracted by their smartphone presents just as much danger to motorists as someone jaywalking and should be held, at minimum, to the same penalty.”

A Philly-bound flight was canceled on Saturday morning when the co-pilot failed a Breathalyzer test.

ABC News reports the American Airlines flight was due to have left Detroit at 7 a.m.; instead, the pilot was arrested. “This is a serious matter and we are assisting local law enforcement and the Federal Aviation Administration with the investigation,” the airline said. “We will handle this matter appropriately as the safety and care of our customers and employees is our highest priority.”

Villanova is back in the Final Four. Can the Wildcats win the whole thing?

Nova beat top-seeded Kansas on Saturday. “It was a thrill, from the basketball side of it, to be part of a game like that, a great college basketball game, incredible atmosphere,’ coach Jay Wright told KYW. “We came back to the hotel, huge reception, and they were great with their fans, but they really wanted to get with their families, ya know they really wanted to spend time with their families,” he said. The team plays against Oklahoma on Friday.

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