Politics & Government

We cover politics and government with an eye to providing to voters clear, in-depth, nonpartisan information. 

Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA

Mayor Bill Peduto announced on Thursday afternoon his bid for re-election for his seat as Pittsburgh's chief executive. 

Barriers, Police Added For Pennsylvania Capitol Security

Jan 14, 2021
Matt Rourke / AP

The agency that protects the Pennsylvania Capitol building said Thursday officials are not aware of specific threats to the facility but are bolstering security measures.

Troy Thompson with the Department of General Services, which oversees Capitol Police, said there are additional officers inside and out, and barriers have been erected in recent days.

He noted Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has not issued an order to close the downtown Harrisburg complex next week, but that could change if necessary.

Seth Perlman / AP

On today's program: The Allegheny County Department of Human Services is beefing up existing programs and rolling out new ones thanks to a federal grant that will combat homelessness and housing insecurity among young adults; Despite the halting of film and television work last year due to the pandemic, the Pittsburgh Film Office is expecting production to ramp up in the city; and discovery of a fossilized dinosaur sitting on its nest brings insights into oviraptorid behavior.

Alex Brandon / AP

The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to impeach President Donald Trump for the second time.

State Sen. Jim Brewster

A Democratic state senator in Pennsylvania was sworn in Wednesday to his third full term, a week after the chamber's Republican majority blocked him from taking his Pittsburgh-area seat amid a lawsuit seeking to disqualify ballots that helped him win.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

A proposed constitutional amendment that would drastically alter Pennsylvania’s judicial system advanced Wednesday with the blessing of the House Judiciary Committee.

PA Delegation Split Over House Vote To Impeach Trump

Jan 13, 2021
Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to impeach President Donald Trump for the second time.

There were few surprises from Pennsylvania’s evenly split congressional delegation. All nine Democrats voted to impeach the president on a charge of “incitement of insurrection,” and all nine Republicans voted against Trump’s removal. The partisan split held in New Jersey and Delaware as well.

The final tally was 232-197, with all Democrats and 10 Republicans supporting impeachment.

James Doyle / NPR

The U.S. House of Representatives is debating an article of impeachment against President Trump following the violence at the U.S. Capitol. The article charges Trump with incitement of insurrection. Watch the debate and vote live.

Mastriano Campaign Spent Thousands On Buses Ahead Of D.C. Insurrection

Jan 13, 2021
Rick Saccone / Facebook

Campaign finance records show that State Sen. Doug Mastriano’s campaign spent thousands of dollars on charter buses ahead of the Washington D.C. rally that ended with supporters of President Donald Trump violently storming the halls of Congress last week during an insurrection.

James Doyle / NPR

The U.S. House of Representatives is taking up a resolution that would call on Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and take over President Trump's duties. The effort comes as the House is also pursuing a second impeachment against the president over the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Watch the House proceedings live.

Courtesy of the Committee to Elect Jim Brewster and Friends of Nicole Ziccarelli

Democrat Jim Brewster will be sworn in to represent state Senate District 45 on Wednesday morning, a week later than his peers and one day after a federal judge rejected a Republican attempt to toss out mail-in ballots in the race. U.S. District Judge Nicholas Ranjan said that the ballots were valid under a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling, and that Republican Nicole Ziccarelli had failed to show why he should declare that decision unconstitutional.

Early Warning Signs Emerge For GOP After U.S. Capitol Riots

Jan 12, 2021
Patrick Semansky / AP

In the 36 hours after last week’s deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, 112 Republicans reached out to the election office in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to change their party registration. Ethan Demme was one of them.

New PA GOP Leader Pushes Transparency Reforms Despite Party's Past Reluctance, Obstruction

Jan 11, 2021
Christine Baker / The Patriot-News

In his first speech as top leader of the Pennsylvania Senate last week, Republican Sen. Jake Corman positioned himself as a reformer seeking to restore faith in government by greatly increasing transparency in the legislature and by elected lawmakers.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

The Supreme Court is declining to get involved in a case about free speech outside a Pittsburgh abortion clinic.

The high court turned away the case Monday. The court's decision not to hear the case leaves in place a 2019 appeals court decision that upheld a Pittsburgh ordinance creating a 15-foot “buffer zone” where protests are barred around entrances to health care facilities. The decision by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed “sidewalk counseling” within that zone.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

As the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden approaches, discussions of further violence continue to percolate on mainstream sites like Twitter and Facebook, as well as platforms such as Parler. Pittsburgh officials are preparing for possible actions in the city next weekend, in the waning days of Donald Trump’s presidency.


Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania on Sunday joined Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski in calling for Trump to "resign and go away as soon as possible." 

Amy Sisk / 90.5 WESA

Both chambers of the Pennsylvania General Assembly on Tuesday side-stepped proposed rules changes that would have diminished the power of majority-party leaders to control the legislative agenda.

Fetterman Taking Steps Toward Running For U.S. Senate In 2022

Jan 8, 2021
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

John Fetterman, Pennsylvania's lieutenant governor, is taking a definitive step toward running for the state's open U.S. Senate seat in 2022.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Hours after pro-Trump extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol to protest what they falsely believed was a stolen election, members of Congress resumed certifying the Electoral College vote for President.

Sarah Kovash/90.5 WESA

Former Pittsburgh Police chief and state representative Dom Costa is running for Allegheny County sheriff.

“Our county and our country are in the midst of unrest and turmoil right now, and I believe that my life has prepared me to lead during these uncertain times,” Costa said in a statement.

Matt Rourke / AP

A number of the commonwealth’s state and federal prosecutors are planning to press charges against anyone from Pennsylvania found to have been involved in the attack on the U.S. Capitol Wednesday that temporarily disrupted the certification of the nation’s Electoral College votes.

GOP State Senator At Capitol During Attack Urged To Resign

Jan 7, 2021
Julio Cortez / AP

A Republican state senator who was on the scene when a violent mob of fellow Donald Trump supporters commandeered the U.S. Capitol should resign, the top Democrat in the Pennsylvania Senate said Thursday.

Lisa Middle campaign

Lisa Middleman, who ran an unsuccessful 2019 campaign for Allegheny County District Attorney that nevertheless rallied criminal-justice reformers to her cause, now hopes to hear cases rather than argue them. She intends to run in what will likely be a wide-open contest for one of the open seats on Allegheny County’s Court of Common Pleas this year.  

Facebook Bans Trump Through Biden Inauguration, Maybe Longer

Jan 7, 2021
Jose Luis Magana / AP

Facebook and Instagram will bar President Donald Trump from posting on its system at least until the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, the platform said Thursday.

Jose Luis Magana / AP

On today's program: Rep. Mike Doyle describes the scene as supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the grounds of the United States Capitol during a Congressional joint session to certify the November election results; Marc Levy of the Associated Press breaks down attempted actions from Republicans in the Pennsylvania State Legislature to overturn certified election results on Tuesday. 

Commonwealth Media Services / Governor Tom Wolf Flickr

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf pointed to a “deliberate disinformation campaign” by Pennsylvania’s state and federal lawmakers as a partial cause for Wednesday’s violence at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump that temporarily disrupted the certification of the nation’s electoral college votes and resulted in at least one death.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Many Pennsylvania elected officials have spoken out against the insurrection in the U.S. Capitol Wednesday. But the strength of their denunciations varied -- and some public figures even appear to have joined the mob in Washington, D.C.

Top PA Lawmakers Who Rejected Election Results Denounce U.S. Capitol Mob

Jan 6, 2021
Andrew Harnik / AP

State lawmakers in Pennsylvania denounced violence in Washington on Wednesday after a mob of Trump supporters breached the U.S. Capitol to impede the official count of Electoral College votes.

Liam James Doyle / NPR

Members of Congress are formally counting the Electoral College votes. A group of Republicans are planning to object to the results, citing false claims of widespread voter fraud. President Trump continues to baselessly claim that he won the election rather than Joe Biden, who is set to be sworn into office on Jan. 20. Watch the proceedings live.


The fate of a state Senate seat in the Pittsburgh area remains in limbo even after the chamber started a new session Tuesday.