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

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Matt Rourke
/
AP

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.

Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago. kgavin@wesa.fm
Marylee is the editor/producer of The Confluence, the daily public affairs show on WESA. She got her start in journalism at The Daily Reveille and KLSU while attending Louisiana State University. She took her passion for audio journalism to UC Berkeley's graduate program and worked in public radio at WPR in Madison, WI, and WOSU in Columbus, Ohio.
Laura Tsutsui is a producer for The Confluence, WESA's morning news show. Previously, she reported on the San Joaquin Valley with the NPR affiliate station in her hometown of Fresno, California. She can be reached at ltsutsui@wesa.fm.
Boen Wang is a writer, audio producer, and MFA candidate in creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh. His written work appeared in The Sunday Long Read, The Fourth River, Inheritance, and elsewhere; his audio work won the “Best New Artist” award at the 2020 Third Coast International Audio Festival, was selected as one of The Bello Collective’s “100 Outstanding Podcasts of 2020,” and was shortlisted for the 2021 HearSay Audio Festival Prize. Visit his website at boen.cool.
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