An-Li Herring

Government & Accountability Reporter

An-Li became a reporter while completing her law degree at Stanford. In law school, she wrote about housing affordability, criminal justice and economic development, among other topics. She also served as the intern to NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg in Washington, DC, helping Ms. Totenberg to cover the U.S. Supreme Court and other legal matters. Originally from Pittsburgh, An-Li interned with the investigations team at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette before joining 90.5 WESA in August 2017.

She can be reached at 412-315-6767 or at aherring@wesa.fm.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Officials at the Allegheny County Jail announced Monday that 10 jail employees were diagnosed with COVID-19 over the past weekend, with another 50 quarantined. Since March, some 33 staffers at the jail have tested positive for the virus.

Amy Sisk / 90.5 WESA

Although Democrats failed to flip the Pennsylvania legislature this year, divided government could give them more say than Republicans in the upcoming redistricting process. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf will need to sign off on the state’s new congressional map, for example, and the mostly Democratic Pennsylvania Supreme Court could weigh in on the separate process for drawing state legislative lines.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

One of the biggest challenges for contact tracing apps aimed at fighting COVID-19 is a lack of participation – and distrust in Western Pennsylvania appears to run particularly high, thanks in no small part to partisan feelings. But a team at Carnegie Mellon University thinks it can inspire greater buy-in with a new approach that helps users to prevent infection in the first place.

Julio Cortez / AP

After coming under fire on social media, Pittsburgh lawyers Ron Hicks and Carolyn McGee have asked to be removed from a federal lawsuit that seeks to undo votes cast in Pennsylvania.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Local Democrats have plunged headlong into the national debate over their party’s poor showing down the ballot in last week’s election. The resulting conflict has arguably rekindled long-standing tensions within the party, with some moderates blaming progressives for alienating voters with calls to defund the police and end fracking. On the other side of the debate, meanwhile, are those who say Democrats who take progressive support for granted do so at their peril.

Andrew Harnik / AP

With Election Day less than a day away, former Vice President Joe Biden visited western Pennsylvania to make his final pitch to voters. After speaking in Cleveland earlier in the day Monday, Biden kicked-off a three-stop swing through the region with a mid-afternoon speech in Beaver County.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

While it’s almost cliché to call western Pennsylvania an election battleground, local political organizers do not take the status for granted. And as this year’s campaign comes to a close in the age of COVID-19, members of both parties are mobilizing voters in their own way.

Courtesy of Scalo Solar Solutions, LLC

Trains still carry coal past the now-abandoned Mathies Mine, located on the Monongahela River in Washington County. Metal fencing blocks the mine entrance, a cave-like opening where hundreds of miners once trod miles of tunnels.

Charlie Riedel / AP

Allegheny County Council joined Pittsburgh City Council Tuesday in voting unanimously to ban hair discrimination in employment, education, housing, and other settings. 

Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA

Prospects remain unclear for an Allegheny County Council bill that would mandate paid sick leave throughout the county. A committee met to discuss the bill Thursday, but six months after the legislation was introduced, there are no signs it will receive a vote anytime soon. 

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

State Senator Jim Brewster, of McKeesport, is one of Allegheny County’s last old-school Democrats — friendly to labor, but socially conservative — to serve in Harrisburg. And now, after his district went narrowly for President Donald Trump in 2016, the lawmaker faces a reelection challenge from first-time Republican candidate Nicole Ziccarelli, of Lower Burrell.

A win for Brewster is considered essential to enabling Democrats to flip control of the Pennsylvania legislature.

GILEAD SCIENCES / VIA AP

Even before President Donald Trump received the drug remdesivir to help treat his case of COVID-19, Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella was raising alarms about the price of the medication.

Matt Rourke / AP

Allegheny County Council took up a bill Tuesday to regulate the acquisition and use of surveillance technology by county officials, including the district attorney and sheriff. 

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania’s chief fiscal watchdog on Tuesday criticized a state program under which businesses could seek permission to operate during Gov. Tom Wolf’s pandemic shutdown, saying waivers were granted inconsistently and with little transparency and comparing the process to a “Keystone Kops routine." 

Courtesy of Shapiro for Pennsylvania and Heidelbaugh for Attorney General

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has attracted national attention as a frequent foe of the Trump Administration and as a champion of consumers. 

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Hours before the doors even opened for President Donald Trump's rally at a Pittsburgh International Airport hangar, hundreds of supporters were gathered to welcome their champion on yet another stop in western Pennsylvania.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

Criminal defense lawyer Giuseppe Rosselli was confused when his client, George Allen, didn’t show up for a court date in late July. They had texted about the hearing moments earlier.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

Two hundred Pittsburgh households will soon get an extra $500 a month as part of a two-year foray into offering residents a guaranteed income. On a call with leaders from other cities Wednesday, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said the city will start to make the payments later this year as part of a pilot program funded by philanthropic donors.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

With negotiations over a new coronavirus relief package stalled in Congress, extra money for food assistance is among the items hanging in the balance. And in tens of thousands of local households, the impasse compounds the fear of going hungry.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

After nearly two years of evidence-gathering and hundreds of interviews with people who have been held at the Allegheny County Jail, civil rights lawyers have sued the county and jail officials for the alleged mistreatment of inmates with psychiatric disabilities.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Black girls in Allegheny County were 10 times more likely than their white counterparts to be involved in the juvenile justice system last year, according to a study released Monday. The county’s Black boys, meanwhile, were seven times more likely than local white boys to end up in the system, the research shows.

Matt Rourke / AP

The coronavirus crisis has forced companies across Pennsylvania to cut workers’ hours. But thanks to a little-known program called “shared work,” some of those businesses have kept their staff off the unemployment line.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Unemployed barista Sharyn Sefton learned less than two weeks ago she would not get her job back, even though the Crazy Mocha coffee shop she had led until COVID-19 hit had already reopened – and even though the Cranberry-based chain is sitting on federal money meant to encourage the rehiring of workers. 

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

At least eight residents of a long-beleaguered apartment complex in Penn Hills will be forced to move out by Monday – the same day a moratorium that has protected Pennsylvania renters from eviction during the coronavirus crisis is set to expire

Chris Pizzello / AP

Under newly proposed legislation at Allegheny County Council, the county could join cities and states across the country in banning chokeholds and strangleholds. But as with previous attempts at county council to rein in the power of police, the bill’s impact could be limited by rules that bar the county from setting municipal police policy.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Members of Black, Young, and Educated said on Monday that the recent arrest of a Black Lives Matter protester was part of an effort by Pittsburgh police to silence demonstrators. And they said the tactics officers used to make the Saturday arrest belie statements by city officials that safety is their top priority in monitoring protests.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

When Pennsylvania businesses shut down en masse on March 16 due to the coronavirus, Bloomfield resident Abbey Rideout lost both her jobs within a day. She had worked as a barista at Pittsburgh’s Tazza D’Oro and Crazy Mocha cafés, but nearly five months later, she’s still out of work – and now she's lost a crucial lifeline that helped keep her head above water.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Local restaurant and bar owners plan to gather in Bethel Park Thursday to advance their own plan to manage the risk of COVID-19.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Sitting in a grassy lot along Braddock’s main avenue, Jona Reyes dreams of restoring the energy that she says once coursed through the neighborhood. Since steel’s decline more than 30 years ago, the Mon Valley community has suffered from chronic disinvestment.

Marc Levy / AP

Pennsylvania is one of three states featured in a new report that details how probation and parole have swelled U.S. prison populations by “often [setting] people up to fail.” 

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