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Marking 100 Years Since PA Ratified The 19th Amendment

Library of Congress
A suffrage parade in New York City, May 4, 1912.

On today’s program: Voting access still has a long way to go, 100 years after PA ratified women's suffrage; Pennsylvanians spend big on the lottery; SETpoint provides self-defense training for people 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 movement. 

A century later, activists continue the work to remove barriers to voting for all citizens. Jill Greene, executive director of thePennsylvania 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 spoke to 90.5 WESA's Maria Scapellato about how the league plans to celebrate the anniversary and key issues facing voters today. The Pennsylvania Department of State is celebrating the centennial 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)

Americans spent an average of $220 per person on lottery tickets in 2017, according to a new study from LendEDU. In Pennsylvania, that number was even higher at an average of $283 per person. Research analyst Ted McCarthy says 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 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 why self-defense and self-preservation are so important.

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

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 very different. The Allegheny Front's Kara Holsopple talks to Heidi Robertson, a law professor at Cleveland Marshall College of Law and professor of environmental studies at Cleveland State University, about how these states regulate the industry differently

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

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 Pittsburgh 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.

Kiley Koscinski covers city government, policy and how Pittsburghers engage with city services. She also works as a fill-in host for All Things Considered. Kiley has previously served as a producer on The Confluence and Morning Edition.
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