Politics & Government

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

PA Dems, Some In GOP Criticize Trump’s ‘Go Back’ Tweets

16 hours ago
Andrew Harnik / AP

Most Democratic House members from Pennsylvania were quick to publicly condemn President Donald Trump’s statements that four progressive Democratic congresswomen should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

Chris Potter / 90.5 WESA

The husband of Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner has been acquitted of misdemeanor charges related to a trip to Detroit. 

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

A conservative think tank is renewing one of its annual traditions: calling out state lawmakers for stashing money in the budget for municipal projects.

Katie Meyer / 90.5 WESA

In the days ahead of the state GOP leadership election, the party was braced for an ugly battle.

President Donald Trump had thrown his weight behind an establishment candidate, while the party’s more conservative wing was backing another.

But they managed to end on a convivial note by essentially splitting duties.

The need to have an election in the first place was unexpected.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Authorities say an off-duty police officer was critically wounded in a shooting in Pittsburgh.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Law-enforcement agencies across the country would be able to get funding for mental health resources, under legislation passed by Congress this week. The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved a Senate bill that authorizes $7.5 million in federal grants each year for local law enforcement.

Pennsylvania GOP Rejects Trump Campaign's Candidate For Chair

Jul 12, 2019
Keith Srakocic / AP

Pennsylvania's Republican Party is rejecting the candidate for chair who had backing from the Trump campaign and its closest advisers in the presidential battleground state, and is opting for a rival.


Democratic presidential hopeful U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand kicked off a string of campaign events in Pittsburgh Thursday, where she held a roundtable discussion on rising prescription drug prices with area health care employees. 

State To Better Track Guns Used In Crimes As Violence Soars

Jul 11, 2019
Matt Rourke / AP

The Pennsylvania attorney general's office launched an effort Thursday to improve the use of firearms databases, so law enforcement can better track guns used in crimes and, ultimately, clamp down on gun violence.

The move comes amid a surge in such violence in Philadelphia. The city's rate of homicides this year is about the same as it was in 2018, when Philadelphia recorded 349 of them, the most since 2007.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Pennsylvania Republicans are poised to select a new leader in Hershey this Saturday, and early indications are that the fight to replace Val DiGiorgio could be bruising.

Matt Rourke / AP

State leaders have confirmed that this year, they’re poised to authorize the largest transfer to Pennsylvania’s rainy day fund in years: $317 million.  

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council unanimously approved adding more inclusive language for the LGBTQ community in its anti-discrimination ordinance. The rule now defines the terms "gender identity" and "gender expression," which weren't previously defined. 

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Nine months after a bar fight involving undercover Pittsburgh police officers, the city has announced changes within the Bureau of Police's Narcotics and Vice Division.

Matt Rourke / AP

Governor Tom Wolf is taking matters into his own hands when it comes to funding upgrades for Pennsylvania’s voting machines. 

Pennsylvania Touts Stronger Fiscal Health, But Clouds Loom

Jul 9, 2019
Matt Rourke / AP

Gov. Tom Wolf says Pennsylvania is making its largest deposit into its budgetary reserve account in nearly two decades.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS) and County Controller Chelsa Wagner are at odds over an audit released last week that reported standards were not met in several addiction recovery sites.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County Republicans failed to elect a new leader last week – so they are taking another shot at it next Saturday, this time with one fewer candidate and a different set of rules.

Jacqueline Larma / AP

A bipartisan team of state lawmakers are leading an effort to ease Pennsylvania's probation rules. State Senators Camera Bartolotta (R-Washington County) and Anthony Williams (D-Philadelphia) introduced a bill early this year to shorten probation terms and limit punishment for probation violations.

Matt Rourke / AP

Governor Tom Wolf vetoed a major election bill Friday that would have given counties $90 million to fund the voting machine improvements he mandated, plus included changes to election law he supported. 

Matt Rourke / AP

A coalition led by the attorneys general of Illinois and New York has filed a legal brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in hiring. 

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

A small cash assistance program for certain poor Pennsylvanians is slated to end at the start of August, after the GOP-controlled legislature voted to repeal it.

Now, some Democratic members are drafting legislation to bring it back. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Lancaster County municipalities are rushing to pass resolutions banning video gaming terminals in their gas stations and truck stops.

They’re taking advantage of a new opt-out law Governor Tom Wolf recently signed along with the state budget. 

Courtesy of Bethany Hallam's campaign.

One day after WESA reported that local Democratic Party leaders had no means of removing a committee member accused of physically accosting a black 13-year-old boy, a newly elected county councilor says it’s time for the party to change its rules.

Matt Rourke / AP

Days after an intense shouting match on the state Senate floor, Democrats are eager to put the incident behind them—with Governor Tom Wolf saying he thinks “it’s time for us all just to move on.”

But the GOP majority says the episode left lasting scars.

Ariel Worthy / WESA

Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb said the city has largely been on budget for the first six months of the year. Two departments have overspent in their budgets though: the police bureau and the emergency medical services department. They have spent 53 percent and 54 percent of their budget, respectively. 

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania's top auditor says he'll work to lower health care and prescription drug costs and cut wasteful spending at the federal level if elected to Congress in 2020. 

Brad Larrison / for NewsWorks

Legislation to help Pennsylvania's counties afford new voting machines before next year's election is wrapped up in the politics of voting and election laws.

Gov. Tom Wolf said Monday that he'll decide later in the week whether to sign or veto a bill that was opposed by the vast majority of his fellow Democrats in the state Legislature.

The bill passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature authorizes borrowing $90 million to help counties underwrite a total voting-machine replacement cost that could exceed $100 million.

Chris Knight / AP

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is confirming that he'll run for Congress and seek next year's Democratic nomination for the Harrisburg-area 10th District held by four-term Republican Rep. Scott Perry.

DePasquale made the announcement on social media Sunday. The Associated Press reported last week DePasquale had told Democratic Party figures that he planned to run.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

The state budget is officially done.


Legislation on its way to Gov. Tom Wolf's desk allows his administration to take over Pennsylvania's online health insurance exchange in a bid to save money for hundreds of thousands of people.