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State GOP leaders accuse Gov. Wolf of evading state legislature on top issues

Matt Rourke

On today’s episode of The Confluence:

A state commission has approved some of the governor’s regulatory proposals; Republican lawmakers think Wolf is sidestepping the legislative process
(0:00 - 7:24)

As Gov. Tom Wolf nears the end of his term in office, some of his policy goals have been implemented through a little-known state commission: the Independent Regulatory Review Commission.

Republicans have complained Wolf relies too much on the five-member, majority-Democrat body to push his agenda through, bypassing the legislative process.

Stephen Caruso, a senior reporter with the Pennsylvania Capital Star, says the process to use the IRRC was established in the 1980s by the General Assembly to adjust regulations without developing new legislation.

“It takes about two years, maybe even a little longer,” says Caruso of getting regulations approved through IRRC. “There are a lot of public hearing requirements, there's a lot of steps, there's a lot of review.”

A seven-week program asked teenagers to consider how to build community and reduce violence in their neighborhoods
(7:30 - 17:14)

In the wake of recent fatal shootings, Mayor Ed Gainey says the city is “facing a pandemic of gun violence in our city,” and has called for “a public health response”.

A group of teenagers from the Northside participated in a program called, “Pathways to Community Safety, Healing, and Wellness,” and learning about community-based solutions to violence. The program was developed by the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work, and was implemented in partnership with Fineview and Perry Hilltop Citizens Councils.

Jay Diamond, a 15-year-old from Perrysville, participated in the initiative. Mike Dixon is co-chair of this initiative and executive director of Basketball Dreamz, an organization that teaches students sports and life skills.

The violence prevention initiative concluded last week, and students recommended three events to bring the community together: a cookout, an organized basketball game with local police, and a community movie night.

Pittsburgh activist Lena Chen has created a game that highlights ‘the nuances of sex work’
(17:20 - 22:30)

Lena Chen is a Pittsburgh artist and activist whose art explores the lives of sex workers. Her new exhibit features a computer game about the online censorship of such workers.

90.5 WESA’s Bill O’Driscoll has this profile on Chen’s exhibit, which can be viewed at the Miller Institute for Contemporary Art at Carnegie Mellon University through April 17.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in Monday to Thursday at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.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.

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