Katie Meyer

Katie Meyer / 90.5 WESA

GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner spent much of his first town hall Thursday night hammering Democratic Governor Tom Wolf on his refusal, so far, to commit to debating him. 

It was a day full of one-upmanship between Wolf and Wagner’s campaigns—with both candidates deploying their running mates to counter each other’s talking points ahead of the event.

Tim Lambert / WITF

A proposal to retroactively extend the statute of limitations in child abuse cases in Pennsylvania is getting renewed blowback from national Catholic organizations.

Rick Hinshaw, a spokesman for the national Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said his group is always tracking bills that aim to make it harder to sue the church for old abuse cases beyond the statute of limitations.

The one they’ve had on their radar for a while in Pennsylvania is championed by Democratic Representative Mark Rozzi of Berks County.

Kiichiro Sato / AP

Pennsylvania’s District Attorneys Association is criticizing a recently-released study that gives the commonwealth a number of recommendations to improve how it handles its death penalty—including providing public funding for indigent defense and additional considerations for mentally ill offenders.

Manel Balce Ceneta / AP

As national attention remains focused on the treatment of undocumented immigrants on the southern border, a group in Pennsylvania is calling attention to a situation closer to home.

The Shut Down Berks Coalition is launching a renewed effort to shutter the Berks County Residential Center, where about 20 migrant families are detained.

Berks is the smallest of the country’s three family detention facilities operated by the federal government, and the only one that’s not in Texas.

The Shut Down Berks Coalition has been calling for its closure for several years.

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Gov. Tom Wolf and legislative leaders are being sued in federal court over a budget provision to fold a medical malpractice insurer and its assets into the state Insurance Department.

It’s the latest development in the commonwealth’s repeated attempts to take $200 million from the group’s surplus.

This is the third time the Joint Underwriting Association has sued the state—insisting its funds are separate from the commonwealth’s. Its employees don’t receive state benefits, and it’s not housed in a state building.

Fernando Lavoz / AP

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro plans to file an objection Monday to the state Supreme Court over its decision not to release a sweeping grand jury report on child abuse in six Roman Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Governor Tom Wolf has signed a bill to wipe clean criminal records for certain low-level offenders if they go a decade without any other convictions.

The so-called “Clean Slate” measure has garnered bipartisan support. Notably, Wolf and his gubernatorial challenger Scott Wagner agreed on the measure while the Republican was in the Senate.

Under the new law, people who serve a year or more in prison can petition courts to have their records sealed after 10 years, as long as they’ve made all their court-mandated payments.

401(K) 2012/Flickr

A provision in the new state budget is seeking to end a two-year legal battle between lawmakers looking for cash to shore up their spending plan, and a medical malpractice insurer the state created in the 1970s.

Wayne Parry / AP

More regulations are being released for Pennsylvania’s fledgling sports betting industry.

Katie Meyer / WESA/WITF

A group of frustrated activists spent Tuesday afternoon holding a sit-in at the reception room outside Governor Tom Wolf's office, trying to convince him to call a special legislative session to overhaul Pennsylvania's redistricting process.

Matt Rourke / AP

After a final Monday session to tie up loose ends, the state House of Representatives has recessed for the summer until further notice, leaving some high-profile bills still-unfinished.

One of the measures in question would make it harder for domestic abusers to possess weapons. Another that would overhaul the commonwealth’s redistricting process.

The domestic violence bill has bipartisan support, and would require people under protection from abuse orders turn over their weapons more quickly, plus make those weapons harder to reclaim.

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

For the first time in Gov. Tom Wolf’s tenure, he has signed a budget. And after three years of protracted negotiations, the election year plan is finished well ahead of its June 30 deadline.

The modest, compromise measure spends $32.7 billion—a roughly two percent increase over last year.

New spending goes mostly to public schools, pensions, prisons and human services—including about $800 million in one-time funding for Medicaid that was moved off-budget, which will have to be filled in again next year.

Republicans cheered the lack of new taxes.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

For the first time in Governor Tom Wolf’s tenure, he has signed a budget on time. And after three years of protracted negotiations, the election year plan is finished well ahead of its June 30th deadline.

The modest, compromise measure spends $32.7 billion—a roughly two percent increase over last year.

New spending goes mostly to public schools, pensions, prisons and human services—including about $800 million in one-time funding for Medicaid that was moved off-budget, which will have to be filled in again next year.

Republicans cheered the lack of new taxes.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Efforts to overhaul the state’s redistricting process are faltering.

Andrew Harnik / AP

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro is suing the Trump administration over its family-separation policy for undocumented immigrants on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Matt Rourke / AP

The state House has taken a significant step toward finishing the commonwealth’s $32.7 billion budget plan ahead of next week’s deadline—passing the measure on to the Senate in a near-unanimous vote.

The deal is on track to be the first on-time budget of Governor Tom Wolf’s tenure.

The proposal was negotiated by House and Senate leaders and the governor, and until this week, the process happened almost entirely behind closed doors.

90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania might have its state budget—or at least part of it—done by the end of this week.

Rank and file members don't have much information yet. But if all goes to plan, Republican leaders say a proposal could make it through the House by the end of this week, and the Senate at the beginning of next—well ahead of the June 30th deadline.

“Very confident we’ll be able to advance a final product at the end of this week into next week,” Senate GOP Appropriations Chair Pat Browne said.

Katie Meyer

After staging demonstrations for the past six consecutive Mondays, the Pennsylvania chapter of the national Poor People’s Campaign has ended its extended residency in the state Capitol rotunda.

The Poor People's Campaign consists of a group of liberal activists who champion social and economic equality, in addition to extended voting rights and other causes.

In those six weeks of protesting, they chalked up 76 “civil disobedience” arrests. Nationwide, the group has reported more than 2,000 in total.

Matt Rourke / AP

When Senators passed a proposal this week aimed at creating a citizen’s commission to draw Pennsylvania’s congressional maps, they tacked on an amendment that would fundamentally change the state’s appellate courts by electing judges based on regional district, instead of statewide.

It’s not a unique concept for state courts to be arranged that way.

However, Pennsylvania’s specific form of judicial election-by-district is significantly less common than supporters have indicated.

Katie Meyer / WITF

When Senators passed a proposal  this week aimed at creating a citizen's commission to draw Pennsylvania's congressional maps, they tacked on an amendment  that would fundamentally change the state's appellate courts by electing judges based on regional district, instead of statewide.

Matt Rourke / AP

Five months ahead of the general election, a new survey from Franklin and Marshall College shows Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf with a considerable lead over Republican challenger Scott Wagner.

F&M pollster Terry Madonna said in order to gage a governor’s likely reelection success, he often pits them against former incumbents.

At an equivalent point in his first term, former Democratic Governor Ed Rendell, who won reelection, was about even with Wolf.

Tom Corbett, a Republican who didn’t get a second term, polled well below.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

After hours of debate, the state Senate has amended a high-profile redistricting overhaul, and is on track to send it to the House Wednesday.

The bill has transformed dramatically since its inception—alienating some Democratic supporters along the way.

Jacqueline Larma / AP

Democratic lawmakers are advocating a number of changes to Pennsylvania’s anti-discrimination laws.

The moves come in the wake of an allegedly racially-motivated incident at a York County Golf Course in late April.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Few concrete details are leaking out of Senate lawmakers’ feverish negotiations on a sweeping bill to overhaul the commonwealth’s redistricting process.

Matt Rourke / AP

The state Auditor General is launching a review of Pennsylvania’s voting and registration process, following up on concerns Russians attempted to interfere in the 2016 elections.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said the review will focus on the security of the Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors—or SURE—system, which tracks registration data on the state and county level.

He noted, there’s no evidence foreign hackers successfully breached Pennsylvania’s voting and registration systems.

Wagner Campaign

This week, Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner focused some of his energy on an unlikely target: grass.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

After more than a year of on-and-off negotiation, the state Senate has moved a congressional redistricting overhaul to the floor of the full chamber.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Governor Tom Wolf has signed an executive order to change certain hiring practices in select state government jobs, in an effort to cut down on gender-based wage discrimination.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

On Tuesday, a state House bill that would overhaul congressional map-drawing was assigned to an unusual committee—circumventing a different panel where such proposals have repeatedly been struck down.

It’s the latest in a series of spasms toward changing Pennsylvania’s oft-disparaged redistricting process.

But lawmakers are quickly running out of time to close the deal.

The new bill is the brainchild of Dave Reed—the GOP majority leader who is departing the House at the end of this year.

Michael Rubinkam / AP

For several years, a hog farm in Luzerne County has been under legal fire for emitting a stench that people say can make the surrounding area almost unlivable.

A lawsuit is now awaiting consideration before the state Supreme Court.

But the outlook isn’t good—and that’s largely because Pennsylvania law makes it near-impossible to sue farms for nuisances like smells.

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