100 Years After PA Ratified The 19th Amendment, Activists Say More Work Is Needed

Jun 24, 2019

On today’s program: the Pennsylvania League of Women Voters mark 100 years since Pennslvania ratified the 19th Amendment; Pennsylvanians spend big on the lottery; SETpoint provides self-defense training for those at-risk of gender-based violence; fracking in Ohio brings money and complications; and Pittsburgh considers microtransit partnerships.

The women's suffrage movement made gains 100 years ago and today
(0:00 – 7:59)

On June 24, 1919, the Pennsylvania legislature ratified the 19th Amendment. Though the amendment wouldn't be approved by Congress until Aug. 24, 1920 after 36 states followed suit, it was a historic moment for the women's suffrage movement. 

A century later, activists continue the work to remove barriers to voting for all citizens. Jill Greene, executive director of the Pennsylvania chapter of the League of Women Voters, says among those barriers are issues like voter ID laws and gerrymandering. She calls the latter an intentional move by politicians to ensure that, "certain voters essentially don't matter." 

Greene sat down with 90.5 WESA's Maria Scapellato to talk about how the League plans to celebrate the anniversary and about key issues facing voters today. The Pennsylvania Department of State will display the original ratification document and centennial events will take place across Pennsylvania through the anniversary of the 19th Amendment’s full ratification in 2020.

How much do Pennsylvanians spend on the lottery compared to other states? 
(8:02 – 12:22)

Across the U.S., lottery jackpots often top hundreds of millions of dollars, inspiring millions of people to test their luck in hopes of winning big money. According to a new study from LendEDU, Americans spent an average of $220 per person on lottery tickets in 2017. In Pennsylvania, that number was even higher at an average of $283 per person. Ted McCarthy, a research analyst with LendEDU, says that Americans remain fixated with the allure of the big jackpot, despite the long odds of actually winning. 

SETpoint empowers people with confidence while teaching them self-defense
(13:52 – 17:51)

The “SET” in SETpoint stands for strength and empowerment training, offered by the Pittsburgh-based group to those who are most at-risk of gender-based violence. WESA’s Brian Cook spoke with Lisa Nakamura, SETpoint’s founding director and six-degree senior master in Shaolin Kung Fu, and executive director Michele Montag, a third-degree black belt in Shaolin Kung Fu, about the importance for people to develop self-defense and self-preservation skills.

Fracking in Ohio: from money and jobs, to regulations and complications
(17:53 – 34:22)

Over the last decade, the fracking industry has made big changes to the landscape in parts of eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. It brought new jobs and revenue, as well as unwelcome complications. The Allegheny Front’s Julie Grant reports that as the natural gas industry expands in Ohio, some people say the industry that made them money has also sullied their air, water, and land, leaving them distrustful of both the state and oil and gas companies.

Both Ohio and Pennsylvania have seen a similar boost in fracking in recent years, but their regulations for environmental protections are quite different. The Allegheny Front's Kara Holsopple sat down with Heidi Robertson, a law professor at Cleveland Marshall College of Law and professor of environmental studies at Cleveland State University, to talk about how these states regulate the industry differently

After some delay, Pittsburgh considers micromobility options
(34:23 – 38:58)

Pittsburgh city officials are working to develop a new system of mobility options for trips less than 1 mile by implementing “micro transit” vehicles—one vehicle for one individual. Pittsburgh successfully avoided the “year of the scooter” that many cities experienced in 2018 by asking companies to hold off on bringing their products to the city before its infrastructure was ready. 90.5 WESA’s Margaret J. Krauss explains that the City solicited proposals for a simple, easy to navigate micro transit system from the companies. They plan to make their selection soon.

90.5 WESA's Julia Zenkevich, Julia Maruca, and Hannah Gaskill contributed to this program.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.