Katie Meyer

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. 

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.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

The state budget is officially done.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

The Pennsylvania chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is suing state police for, it says, illegally turning drivers over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Matt Rourke / AP

Lawmakers are on track to give Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf even more money than he asked for to fund voting machine improvements.

However, it will come with conditions.

Many of Pennsylvania's voting machines only record votes electronically. That makes it almost impossible to double-check tallies, and led to the commonwealth settling a lawsuit last year that accused it of being susceptible to election tampering.

There's no evidence tampering happened.

Ed Mahon / PA Post

The state Senate has voted to repeal a small cash assistance program for the poor—but before it happened, the session devolved into a loud, chaotic argument that leaders say derailed negotiations, and which many members called the worst in their memory.

Matt Rourke / 90.5 WESA

The state House passed the main spending bill for its proposed budget Tuesday afternoon—a major step toward getting a plan finalized by the June 30 deadline.

Michelle R. Smith / AP

At least one of the Governor Tom Wolf’s funding requests is being denied in this year’s budget.

Republican leaders are officially telling him they see no reason to put state money toward turnout efforts for next year’s census. 

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

House Republicans have begun moving the main spending bill for next year’s state budget, and it seems likely the Senate and governor will support it.

The plan passed the chamber’s appropriations committee with minimal debate Monday, setting the stage for what leaders hope will be a smooth final week of negotiations.

The budget is due before the fiscal year ends July 1.

The $33.99 billion general appropriations bill increases basic K-12 education spending by $160 million. Governor Tom Wolf had initially asked for $200 million.

Amy Sisk / 90.5 WESA

State lawmakers now have the official report on the money Pennsylvania netted this fiscal year.

As expected, there’s a surplus.

But it won’t go nearly as far as some officials have hoped.

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.

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