Katie Meyer

Matt Rourke / AP

 For weeks, staffers for Democratic Governor Tom Wolf and the Republicans who control the state House and Senate have been trying to hammer out an agreement on a GOP priority: gutting a program that gives relatively small amounts of cash to poor people who don't qualify for other assistance. 

Katie Meyer / WITF

Standing amid a crowd of children, Pennsylvania Dairy Princesses, Amish farmers and state lawmakers, Congressman Glenn Thompson whipped off his suit jacket to reveal a black t-shirt with white lettering. 

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

House Republicans hope to make it a little more difficult for the state to spend more than the money included in its official budget.

They’ve passed a slate of five bills intended to do just that—but Gov. Tom Wolf is already indicating he won’t sign them.

One of the bills would have the administration freeze money in reserves to prep for projected shortfalls. Another would track off-budget grants, two would compel the governor to give the legislature more information, and one would detail how the administration should handle unspent money.

Katie Meyer / 90.5 WESA

The money Pennsylvania schools receive per pupil varies widely, and on average, students of color get fewer resources. 

The state has a formula designed to address the inequity, but it’s only used for some funding.

On Wednesday, around 1,000 activists took a trip to the Capitol to call for change.

Most ralliers with the faith group POWER came from southeastern Pennsylvania.

Emily Cohen / for NewsWorks/WHYY

Lawmakers have approved a bill that would nearly double a tax break for people and businesses who contribute to private school scholarships and similar public school alternatives. 

They did so with almost no support from Democrats. 

Katie Meyer / WITF

Despite a GOP majority skeptical of new taxes and spending, Governor Tom Wolf and other Democrats are trying to wedge a few of their priorities into the state budget.

Their latest push involves a fee for municipalities that completely rely on state police for law enforcement. 

Katie Meyer / 90.5 WESA

State House and Senate members are renewing their push to pass a slate of anti-workplace harassment bills.

The effort comes on the heels of the Senate’s call for Montgomery County Democrat Daylin Leach to resign, in the wake of a provisional report about his treatment of staff.

Brett Sholtis / WITF

Tabitha Hahn was sitting in her yard with her two dogs Saturday morning when she saw something on her fence that she never expected to see in midtown Harrisburg, about a mile from the state Capitol. 

"I definitely didn't think it was a bear," she said, "but it's pretty big, so then I realized that it was after it came over a fence, and then I just tried to get the dogs inside."

Joe Ulrich / WITF

After touting it across the state for months, lawmakers have finally introduced Gov. Tom Wolf’s ambitious infrastructure proposal as a concrete piece of legislation.

It has a large, bipartisan slate of sponsors in both chambers. But it lacks crucial support from GOP leaders. 

Matt Rourke / AP

The Republicans who control the House and Senate have a lot of the power when it comes to state budget negotiations.  

But as the June 30 deadline approaches, Democrats are trying to hold out on a few key issues—among them, saving General Assistance and raising the minimum wage.

At the $7.25 federal minimum, Pennsylvania’s wage is lower than that of any neighboring state.

Governor Tom Wolf and other Democrats have been pushing to raise it for years.

Matthew Brown / AP

A group of lawmakers and the state Lottery are trying to crack down on so-called “games of skill”—a category of gambling that is largely considered illegal, but has some gray areas.

Proceeds from the Pennsylvania Lottery go toward programs for seniors.

It’s a lot of cash—about $1 billion annually for the past seven years alone.

But officials say they’re concerned unregulated gaming machines are cutting into that revenue.

LM Otero, AP File

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate has been on the decline over the last year—hitting its lowest-recorded level ever in March.

Courtesy of DEP

If you want to get a young peregrine falcon out of its nest without its parents beating you with their wings, you're going to need a broom.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

The Trump administration has made several recent moves to roll back discrimination protections for transgender and gender non-conforming people in housing and healthcare programs.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Anglers without a license are going to get a chance to fish for free on Sunday.

J. Scott Applewhite / Farmers Market

At Elementary Coffee, a stand that operates three days a week in Harrisburg’s Broad Street Market, the starting salary is $12 an hour.

Matt Rourke / AP

In order to be a hairdresser in Pennsylvania, you need a license from the state.

In fact, the state gives out around 250 different varieties of professional license, for everything from massage therapy to funeral direction. And under Pennsylvania law, people convicted of crimes who are trying to rejoin the workforce can be denied those licenses for a broad range of reasons. 

Michelle R. Smith / AP

A group tasked with getting Pennsylvanians counted in the 2020 census is asking for state funds to make it happen.

The Complete Count Commission, which Governor Tom Wolf formed late last year, began behind-the-scenes negotiations in earnest last month. Now the group has settled on what it sees as a moderate ask: one dollar per person, or about $12.8 million.

“We need to act together,” said Keystone Counts head Erin Casey. “This isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue. This is about all of Pennsylvania.”

Katie Meyer / 90.5 WESA

A group of activists spent Thursday evening projecting images of immigrant families on a building near the state Capitol.

Matt Rourke / AP

Gov. Tom Wolf is raising the alarm over the impact Chinese tariffs are having on Pennsylvania’s farmers.

President Donald Trump’s tariffs on foreign aluminum and steel may have boosted the domestic steel industry, but China’s retaliatory tariffs on American crops have hurt exports from Pennsylvania farms.

Katie Meyer / WITF

Since January, Governor Tom Wolf has been traveling around the state shopping his new infrastructure plan to municipal and county officials. 

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

For the second year in a row, House lawmakers have voted for a bill that would punish doctors who perform abortions based on a Down syndrome diagnosis.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

A state House committee has moved a group of bills that would significantly change how Pennsylvania oversees its charter schools.

Matt Rourke / AP

The state House is torn over how to update the system Pennsylvania uses to get judges onto its three highest courts.

A proposal to elect them by district seems to have an edge—but supporters of merit selection say they aim to put up a good fight.

Currently, candidates for the Commonwealth, Superior, and Supreme courts run as representatives of political parties and are chosen in statewide elections.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

State House members appear to have decided on a way to overhaul judicial elections.

Leaders in the state House are attempting a bipartisan détente on a recent pattern of partisan outrage. 

AP

Since 2006, hundreds of people have packed into the state Capitol once a year to argue in favor of gun rights.

The group is is expected to be back in Harrisburg today.

The event is dubbed the "rally to protect your right to keep and bear arms."

Katie Meyer / 90.5 WESA

When Michael Pollack first began lobbying for state lawmakers to stop accepting gifts, he said he was met with “a lot of hostility.”

“When you go in and you tell a legislator that what they’re doing day in and day out is wrong, that kind of rocks their worldview,” he said. “They wake up in the morning and they look in the mirror and they tell themselves a story to get through the day, and that story does not involve them doing something terribly wrong.”

PA House of Representatives

A Southeastern Pennsylvania lawmaker who opposes the Mariner East 2 pipeline is being criticized by unions that represent pipeline workers, and others, for a tweet one fellow House member called a "poor choice of words."

Matt Rourke / AP

A longstanding effort to change how Pennsylvania picks judges for its three high courts is diverging into two paths: selection based on merit, and election by regional district.

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