Politics

Matt Rourke / AP

For the second time this month, a state House panel has stripped a bill that would have established an independent redistricting commission made up of citizens, and replaced it with language that gives the legislature even more power over the process.

Wagner As Governor Spurs Question Of Business Conflicts

Apr 30, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

If he wins the race for Pennsylvania governor, Scott Wagner would become the state's only chief executive in at least a half-century who took office with a deep financial interest in a business heavily regulated by the state.

Wagner, 63, the Republican Party's endorsed candidate to take on Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf in November, maintains he will be focused strictly on a business-friendly platform of cutting spending and regulations, not helping the York County-based waste hauler he owns.

Matt Rourke / AP

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati may not have to pay more than $29,000 out of pocket for legal fees in a redistricting case.

At least, not yet.

A federal judge has put a hold on the order he made after deeming the GOP lawmaker’s actions in the case frivolous.

The case in question was initially brought to the Commonwealth Court last summer by the League of Women Voters, who argued the state congressional map was unconstitutionally gerrymandered.

With New Map, Pennsylvania Fields Busy U.S. House Primaries

Apr 30, 2018
Marc Levy / AP

George Scott got the inevitable question a half-hour into a meet-the-candidate house party in the rolling hills of south-central Pennsylvania: How will you inspire all those people in the congressional district who put up Donald Trump signs in 2016?

Jacqueline Martin / AP

A Pennsylvania Republican who used taxpayer money to settle a former aide's sexual harassment charges has abruptly resigned from Congress.

Congressman Patrick Meehan had already decided not to seek re-election. Meehan resigned Friday, saying he'll repay the government $39,000 he used to help settle the allegation against him.

Meehan says in a resignation letter that his decision is in the best interest of constituents and will avoid the "rigors" and expense of an investigation by the House Ethics Committee. But he says he believes he would have been exonerated.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania is starting the process of replacing its voting machines. And at the state Farm Show complex this week, election administrators and the public got a chance to see what the new ones might look like.

The display comes soon after Governor Tom Wolf handed down a mandate that all counties upgrade their election equipment by the end of next year, leaving officials scrambling to figure out how to afford it.

Matt Rourke / AP

With three weeks left before the primary election, the three Republicans seeking the party's nomination to challenge Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf in November are set to take debate questions on live television.

Wednesday night's debate between commercial litigation attorney Laura Ellsworth, ex-health care systems consultant Paul Mango and state Sen. Scott Wagner will be aired live by stations in Harrisburg, Erie, Scranton and Johnstown.

Marc Levy / AP

A GOP-controlled state Senate committee is making slow, careful progress at changing Pennsylvania’s justice system to focus on reforming the convicted and reducing prison populations.

The effort is led by the GOP Committee Chair Stewart Greenleaf, who is trying to pass as many justice overhaul proposals as possible before his retirement at the end of the year.

Greenleaf, of Bucks County, often acknowledges that his desire to change the system came later in his long career, after years of taking a tough-on-crime approach.

Matt Rourke / AP

As part of its announced effort to curb sexual harassment and abuse in the legislature, and in Pennsylvania workplaces generally, a House committee has held a public hearing on the subject.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Val DiGiorgio, the chair of the state Republican Party, said Republicans–including those running in the newly drawn 14th Congressional District–should refrain from attacking each other. But his party hasn't given up the fight against a new Congressional district map, even as voters prepare to cast ballots in those races next month.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

The commonwealth’s Independent Fiscal Office has released its yearly assessment of Governor Tom Wolf’s budget proposal.

It reports that most of the revenue estimates check out. That is, if Wolf can figure out how to get his ideas past the GOP-controlled General Assembly.

The Democratic governor’s fourth budget proposal—and the final one of his first term—brings back a lot of the ideas he’s been trying unsuccessfully to pass for his entire tenure.

Key components are a natural gas severance tax, a minimum wage increase to $12 an hour, and a corporate tax overhaul.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

State House lawmakers have completed their final session in a two-week series of Judiciary Committee hearings on gun violence.

They were inspired by the call for tougher gun laws in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. that killed 17 people.

Despite some agreement on the importance of the issue, lawmakers are struggling mightily with solutions.

They tangled over one proposal after another, from expanding background checks, to arming teachers, to mandating schools install metal detectors, to banning AR-15 style weapons

Courtesy Guy Reschenthaler official Facebook page; Keith Srakocic/AP


State Rep. Rick Saccone (R - Elizabeth) sits at his campaign headquarters in Southpointe with one other staffer.

Chris Potter / 90.5 WESA

Pundits say the 75 Democrats who gathered in this Washington, Pa. library basement last weekend have a tough road ahead in the newly drawn 14th District. 

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Legislation is advancing in Pennsylvania to impose stiffer punishments on a repeat drunk-driving offender who kills someone while driving under the influence.

The Senate voted 45-4 on Wednesday to send the bill to the House.

Currently, a drunk driver who kills someone faces a three-year mandatory sentence. Under the bill, that sentence would rise to five years in prison for a repeat drunk driver and to seven years in prison for someone who has two or more prior drunk-driving convictions.

The bill imposes a consecutive prison term for each victim.

Matt Rourke / AP

Lawyers for Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati have filed an appeal to a federal court decision that the Republican must personally pay more than $29,000 for legal fees in a high-profile redistricting case.

The GOP lawmaker officially has 14 days to pay—but his chief counsel said he has no intention of doing so.

The case in question was initially brought to the Commonwealth Court last summer by the League of Women Voters, who argued the state congressional map was unconstitutionally gerrymandered.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

State House lawmakers voted to create work requirements for able-bodied people to get Medicaid coverage.

Such requirements weren’t federally permitted for Medicaid until the Trump administration changed the policy several months ago.

Not Seeking Re-Election, GOP Rep. Dent To Resign From House

Apr 17, 2018
J. Scott Applewhite / AP, file

Republican U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, a leader of an influential caucus of GOP moderates and a critic of President Donald Trump, said Tuesday that he will resign from Congress in May, after announcing last year he would not seek re-election.

Dent's announcement sets up the potential for a special election as early as mid-summer to serve the remaining months in his term while candidates campaign for a full two-year term in the November election.

Attacks In Pennsylvania Governor's Race Getting Personal

Apr 16, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

With less than five weeks to go before the Pennsylvania primary, the blistering attacks between  Republican gubernatorial candidates Scott Wagner and Paul Mango are getting more intense and personal.

In the latest exchange, Wagner’s daughter Katharine speaks directly into the camera answering a Mango ad that calls Wagner a “deadbeat dad.”

“Paul Mango is a disgrace,” Katharine Wagner says in the ad. “Mango is taking a decade-old dispute and twisting the truth. Mr. Mango, you're not half the man my father is. Take down your disgusting ads and apologize.”

Jockeying Begins As House Openings Fuel Leadership Shuffle

Apr 16, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Changes are coming to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, due in large part to the pending departure of one of the most powerful elected officials in Harrisburg.

The decision by House Republican Leader Dave Reed to not seek re-election after a brief flirtation with running for Congress sets the stage for a fight over leadership later this year.

"The day that a leader announces that they're not going to be the leader anymore, a certain amount of 'Game of Thrones' begins," said rank-and-file Rep. Jesse Topper, R-Bedford.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Republican Rick Saccone drew upon national Republican support during his special election campaign against Democrat Conor Lamb last month. He lost that race anyway, and federal campaign-finance reports show he may not be able to count on that edge when facing a new Republican challenger, state Sen. Guy Reschenthaler, in the May 15 primary.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvanians have until the close of business Monday to register if they want to vote in the May 15 primary, but they can sign up online

Friends of Ray Linsenmayer, Don Wright/AP, Conor Lamb for Congress

A month after winning the special election in the 18th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb (D - Mt. Lebanon), now faces a new drama on a new stage.

House GOP Backs Plan To Give Majority More Districting Power

Apr 12, 2018
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Republicans on a Pennsylvania House committee voted on Wednesday to give more power over redistricting to the majority party in the Legislature, breathing life into efforts to substantially change how General Assembly and congressional districts are drawn.

GOP Brass Appeal For Unity Amid Gubernatorial Primary Fight

Apr 11, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania's Republican Party chairman called for party unity Tuesday as a hard-edged primary campaign attack ad against its endorsed gubernatorial candidate played on television screens across the state, and another potentially tough attack ad waits in the wings.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Republican U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta raised nearly $1.3 million in the first three months of 2018 for his campaign to contest Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey's re-election bid in Pennsylvania.

Barletta's campaign said Monday it had about $1.6 million in the bank as of March 31. That compares with the $10 million-plus that Casey's campaign said it had after raising $2.2 million in the period.

Barletta spent about half of the amount he raised during the quarter, while Casey spent about 40 percent of what he raised.

TV Ad Opens Up New Line Of Attack In GOP Gubernatorial Race

Apr 5, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Gubernatorial candidate Paul Mango is opening up a new line of attack against Republican rival Scott Wagner, airing a TV ad that digs into Wagner's business dealings, child support case and violations in his waste-hauling business.

Mango's campaign said the 30-second ad began airing Wednesday on stations in Pennsylvania's six media markets.

Matt Rourke / AP

Gov. Tom Wolf's administration says the Democrat is backing a package of forthcoming legislation that's designed to improve protections in Pennsylvania against workplace sexual harassment and discrimination.

Wolf's announcement Thursday with Democratic lawmakers comes amid revelations of misconduct allegations against several lawmakers and state agreements to pay more than $3 million to settle sexual misconduct claims over the past decade.

Wolf Extends Fundraising Lead Over 3 Republicans In Primary

Apr 4, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Millions more dollars poured into the Pennsylvania governor's race in 2018, as Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf extended his fundraising lead over the three Republican candidates vying for the party's nomination to challenge him, according to reports filed at the state's Tuesday deadline.

Wolf reported more than $14.7 million in the bank for November's general election, or $8.5 million more than his nearest rival, Republican state Sen. Scott Wagner of York County, who made millions in the waste-hauling industry.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Republican gubernatorial candidate, State Sen. Scott Wagner recently sent supporters an alarming email, pointing out that the Washington Times reported that a lawsuit claims 100,000 non-citizens are registered to vote in Pennsylvania.

Is that possible?

Maybe, maybe not. But the origin of the figure and how it found its way into the public debate is an interesting tale.

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