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.

Marc Levy / AP

Pennsylvania corrections secretary John Wetzel said earlier this week that his department is taking steps to reduce the state’s incarcerated population, in an effort to limit the spread of coronavirus behind bars. But prison-reform advocates argue that more dramatic action is needed to remedy conditions that they say amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

 

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

In an emergency petition Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania asked the state Supreme Court to order the mass release of inmates from county jails across the Commonwealth.

Courtesty of Marco for PA and Friends of Lissa

The 30th State House district has long been a Republican bastion. But Democrats in the North Hills district have a choice this primary season between candidates who agree on many issues, but differ over the natural gas and petrochemical industries.

Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA

Members of Allegheny County Council have abandoned legislation that would have mandated the release of jail inmates charged with low-level crimes. 

Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County Council decided not to vote at its meeting Tuesday on whether to enact an emergency bill that would mandate the release of jail inmates charged with low-level crimes.  The bill, which seeks to combat the spread of the new coronavirus behind bars, will instead go to council’s public safety committee for review.

Gene Puskar / AP

Local police were prepared to enforce a statewide shutdown order for non-life-sustaining businesses on Monday, but said they generally expected businesses to cooperate.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Democratic Allegheny County Councilors Liv Bennett and Bethany Hallam plan to introduce emergency legislation next week to slash the county’s jail population, the latest effort to mitigate the spread of coronavirus behind bars.

Marc Levy / AP

Prison-reform advocates and the state Department of Corrections jousted Thursday morning over whether the coronavirus has already infiltrated the state prison system – and over what should be done to limit its spread.

90.5 WESA

Conditions at the Allegheny County Jail create “the perfect storm for a potential COVID-19 outbreak,” local activists said in an online statement that calls for the mass release of people held at the jail.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Environmental concerns about heavy industry and natural gas drilling have stirred intense debate around Pittsburgh. And Thursday, a coalition of local unions and manufacturing companies launched a new effort to advocate for “traditional and manufacturing industries.”

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Local residents voiced trepidation at a meeting in Homewood Tuesday about the use of algorithms to guide criminal justice, law enforcement, and child welfare decisions.

Courtesy of Facebook

Pittsburgh is set to expand as a hub for Facebook’s development of virtual reality. The company formally opened its new Reality Labs office in the Strip District Thursday, with the capacity to house 250 workers.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Just over a week after engaging in a public spat over a not-guilty verdict in a case involving a 2016 mass shooting in Wilkinsburg, borough Mayor Marita Garrett and Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough came together for a forum on combating gun violence.

Matt Rourke / AP

Human-rights groups plan to hold rallies in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia Tuesday to protest state Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s record on commutation. While Pennsylvania's Board of Pardons recommended more commutations last year than at any time in the past quarter-century, rally organizers say Shapiro, one of the board’s five members, stands in the way of granting the relief more widely.

Emily Previti / Keystone Crossroads

Pennsylvania’s law governing legal name changes was up for debate before the state’s Commonwealth Court in Pittsburgh Thursday. Three transgender women have challenged a provision of the statute that bars people from changing their names if they have been convicted of serious felonies.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

The defendant in the trial for a 2016 mass shooting was acquitted of all counts Friday. Attorneys for Cheron Shelton argued he was not responsible for the attack that left five adults, including a pregnant woman, dead.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

It remains unclear why the U.S. Department of Justice has apparently tapped federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh to review material from President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Licensed mental health providers may soon be barred from providing so-called conversion therapy to LGBTQ youth in Allegheny County. In a 13-2 vote Tuesday, Allegheny County Council approved a measure to prohibit the treatment for minors.

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.

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.

90.5 WESA

Voters could get a chance to set term limits for Allegheny County councilors, while also freeing them up to run for other elected positions. Council’s Government Reform Committee will weigh both possibilities when it discusses two proposed ballot questions on Wednesday.

Paul Sancya / AP

The steel industry has largely applauded a forthcoming trade pact between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, but it remains to be seen how the deal will shake out for domestic steelmakers.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

As promised, Allegheny County Councilor DeWitt Walton re-introduced a measure Tuesday to create a countywide police review board. The legislation was among the first proposals council took up this year.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny Council President Pat Catena rewarded his allies when he named committee chairs Thursday –and along the way he put two first-time progressive councilors, Bethany Hallam and Liv Bennett, in position to advance key items on their agenda. 

Amy Sisk / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania's legislature has been controlled by Republicans for nearly a decade, but progressive organizers hope to shift the balance of power in this year’s election.

WESA

In a story about local population decline that officials are actually celebrating, the average daily population in the Allegheny County Jail has fallen 7 percent since late 2017, according to a report the county released this week.

YouTube

Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey was one of just three U.S. Senators to oppose a major new trade deal in a Senate committee meeting Tuesday. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement would overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement, and on Tuesday the Senate finance committee voted 25-3 to send it to the full chamber.

Chris Potter / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County Council is often overlooked. After all, its main responsibilities typically consist of routine matters like approving budgets and political appointees named by the county executive. But that pattern could change after three new members are sworn in Thursday.

Steven Senne / AP

The U.S. government declared this year that 20 counties in western Pennsylvania have effectively ended veteran homelessness.

Amy Sisk / 90.5 WESA

To hold jobs like accountant, nurse or funeral director, Pennsylvanians must first obtain a license. Licensing boards today can automatically deny certification to those with criminal records. But last week the state House voted 193 to 4 to change that policy, in a bill similar to one the Senate passed in November.

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