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Ariel Worthy / 90.5 WESA

On Tuesday, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto got City Council’s approval to remove City Councilor Deb Gross from the board of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, replacing her with fellow Councilor Erika Strassburger.

Governor Plans To Veto Natural Gas Manufacturing Tax Credit

Feb 5, 2020
Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennslvania

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf will veto a bill that would provide millions in tax breaks for new construction of facilities that use natural gas extracted in the state to produce fertilizer and other chemicals, his spokesman said Wednesday.

The bill, which passed both legislative chambers this week by veto-proof majorities, authorizes the “energy and fertilizer manufacturing tax credit” for projects that require at least $450 million in construction and start-up costs and that create at least 800 jobs.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

 

Audio Rundown

Continuing coverage — Pittsburgh City Council passes gun legislation as city deals with trauma from Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting:

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

Pittsburgh City Councilors Anthony Coghill and Deb Gross backed off from some of the requirements they sought to impose on spending from a parks tax voters approved last year

AP Photo/David Goldman

If you’ve noticed more coworkers have been calling in sick with the flu, it’s not just your imagination. Data show nearly twice as many Pennsylvanians have gotten the flu so far this season, compared to this time last year.

However, flu-related fatalities and hospitalizations are not particularly high this year.

That’s because Type B is that strain of influenza that’s been circulating for most of this season. Compared to Type A, the B strain is less deadly.

Patrick Semansky / AP

 

On today's program: What Pennsylvanians should know after the State of the Union; one local business thrives in the film economy; takeaways from Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2021 budget, and how Republicans are reacting; and a remembrance of TV personality Quentin Crisp. 

Pence Mixes Politics, Education Policy In Pennsylvania Swing

Feb 5, 2020
Cliff Owen / AP

Vice President Mike Pence is making a swing through Pennsylvania on Wednesday to tout the Trump administration's support for funding tuition for private school students and, on the campaign side, to make an appeal to women voters.

Gov. Wolf's Budget Proposes Boosting Staff At Several Of PA's Environmental Departments

Feb 5, 2020
Matt Rourke / AP

Gov. Tom Wolf proposed money for additional staffing at the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and he renewed his support for a package of pipeline reforms, in his annual budget released Tuesday.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

A proposal to create a countywide police review board could have better prospects this year after Allegheny County Council blocked the idea during its last session. But at a meeting of council's Public Safety Committee meeting Tuesday, Democratic councilor Liv Bennett said the bill must change first.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

A program meant to diversify the ranks of teachers at the Pittsburgh Public Schools could soon be re-launched. The program was postponed in October after issues surfaced with the partner university selected by the district.

Courtesy of the Wolf Administration

Times are flush in Pennsylvania — at least, according to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s latest budget proposal.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

The Pennsylvania Legislature's budget reserve for its own operations is continuing to rise, reaching $172 million for the year that ended last June.

The Legislative Audit Advisory Commission voted Tuesday to approve what's an annual spending report for state lawmakers and their staff.

The report says the legislative branch spent $362 million over that year, up slightly from $355 million in the 2017-18 fiscal year.

Caldwell Holden / 90.5 WESA

A group of Pittsburgh-area advocacy groups on Tuesday unveiled recommendations they say will make the Port Authority of Allegheny County more equitable. The #FairFares platform focuses on fare cost, payment process, enforcement and incentive programs.

AP Photo

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania says he'll vote to acquit President Donald Trump on two impeachment charges.

In a statement Tuesday, Toomey maintained that the president didn't commit an impeachable offense and that removing Trump would cause “societal upheaval.”

Toomey sided with nearly all of his fellow Republicans in advance of Wednesday's virtually certain votes to acquit Trump.

Democratic Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania is expected to announce his decision later Tuesday.

'Fronts For Private Management:' Wolf Takes Aim At Charter Schools In State Budget

Feb 4, 2020
Joe Hermitt / PennLive/Patriot News/AP

In the annual state budget address, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf hit many of the education talking points he’s covered in previous addresses: more funding for public schools, a push for universal kindergarten and expanded pre-K, to name a few.

Reid R. Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Since his second term began last year, there’s been a theme for Tom Wolf’s tenure as Pennsylvania’s governor: climate change. 

Ryan Collerd / Pew Center for Arts & Heritage via Point Park University

 

On today's program: Point Park University celebrates black dancers; Gov. Wolf’s ambitious carbon goals don’t really square up with pushing for a boom in petrochemicals; agriculture is a major industry in Pennsylvania, but it faces serious challenges; and Airbnb is changing the hospitality game in Pittsburgh.

Brett Sholtis / WITF

When Act 106 was passed into law in October 2018, lawmakers said it would help people with some of the most severe mental illnesses by allowing judges to set up “assisted outpatient treatment” plans.

Ariel Worthy / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto's office introduced legislation that would officially authorize the city to begin levying a half-mill property tax increase that voters approved last fall.  The bill is part of a process that has been simmering in City Council over how best to pay for improvements to the city's long-neglected park system.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

 As many Americans try to keep up with the impeachment trial and what it means for the country’s future, teachers are pulling lessons from the process in real time.

Courtesy of Queer Ecology Hanky Project

From the brows of backpackers to the necks of dogs catching Frisbees, bandanas have accompanied many an outdoor activity.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Not surprisingly, new financial reports show incumbents have a lot more money than their challengers heading into 2020. The latest campaign finance numbers, which capture fundraising through the end of 2019, show Democrat Conor Lamb leading the Western Pennsylvania field with nearly $1 million on hand at the year's end. His most notable Republican challenger, veteran and author Sean Parnell, reported finishing out the year with $219,267 on hand.

Terry Chea / AP

As concerns of a global pandemic amplify, some Pittsburgh institutions are taking precautions against the new coronavirus by restricting travel to China.

Mark Thiessen / AP

Wildlife authorities say Pennsylvania hunters killed 4,653 black bears last year, setting a new record.

UPMC Enterprises

On today's program: What UPMC wants from its $1 billion life sciences investment; why small dams are a problem in the Ohio watershed; opening arguments begin in the Wilkinsburg mass shooting trial; and new data details jobs lost to the U.S.-China trade deficit. 

90.5 WESA

The trial got underway Monday in the case involving a 2016 mass shooting in Wilkinsburg, with attorneys for defendant Cheron Shelton arguing that he “played no role” in the attack.

Virginia Alvino-Young / 90.5 WESA

When one of Ted Jaenicke’s doctoral candidates approached him about quantifying household food waste, his first thought was that it could be nearly impossible.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

A judge has dismissed the charges against one of two men accused of killing five adults, including a pregnant woman, at a western Pennsylvania cookout almost four years ago.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A standoff at a Pittsburgh home early Monday ended with a man and a woman dead, authorities said.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

University of Pittsburgh reseachers studying nerve regeneration are seeing promising results in monkey test subjects. Kacey Marra, a professor of plastic surgery and faculty member of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, hopes to try the method in humans soon.

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