Politics

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

Gov. Tom Wolf is telling demonstrators that he'll fight Republican resistance to a Depression-era program in his budget proposal that provides a $200-a-month cash benefit for the poor who are disabled or otherwise unable to work.

Wolf, a Democrat, spoke with demonstrators from the Poor People's Campaign who showed up at his Mount Wolf home Thursday afternoon.

Demonstrators urged him to veto any spending package from the Republican-controlled Legislature that eliminates it.

Lawmakers Report $83K In Travel On Annual Ethics Disclosures

May 28, 2019
Marc Levy / AP

Pennsylvania state lawmakers' newly filed ethics forms show they accepted more than $83,000 in free trips last year and collected a variety of gifts, booze and free meals.

Matt Rourke / AP

Gov. Tom Wolf is raising the alarm over the impact Chinese tariffs are having on Pennsylvania’s farmers.

President Donald Trump’s tariffs on foreign aluminum and steel may have boosted the domestic steel industry, but China’s retaliatory tariffs on American crops have hurt exports from Pennsylvania farms.

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

For the second year in a row, House lawmakers have voted for a bill that would punish doctors who perform abortions based on a Down syndrome diagnosis.

Pennsylvania Primary Features A Couple High-Profile Matchups

May 13, 2019
Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania's primary election will decide nominees or officeholders for several high-profile offices, including mayor of the nation's sixth largest city and one of the state's 18 members of the U.S. House.

Pennsylvania's primary election is May 21.

It features primary elections for Philadelphia mayor and two statewide appellate court seats. It also features special elections to fill three open seats in the Legislature and one in Congress.

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PHILADELPHIA MAYOR

PA Lawmaker Vows To 'Do Better' After Abortion Clinic Video

May 8, 2019
Matt Rourke / AP

A Pennsylvania state lawmaker who has drawn criticism for a recording of himself berating a woman who was protesting abortion outside a Philadelphia clinic promised Tuesday to "do better."

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania's governor is commuting life sentences of three inmates, bringing his total to eight, more than any of the state's governors over the past quarter century.

Katie Meyer / 90.5 WESA

When Michael Pollack first began lobbying for state lawmakers to stop accepting gifts, he said he was met with “a lot of hostility.”

“When you go in and you tell a legislator that what they’re doing day in and day out is wrong, that kind of rocks their worldview,” he said. “They wake up in the morning and they look in the mirror and they tell themselves a story to get through the day, and that story does not involve them doing something terribly wrong.”

PA House of Representatives

A Southeastern Pennsylvania lawmaker who opposes the Mariner East 2 pipeline is being criticized by unions that represent pipeline workers, and others, for a tweet one fellow House member called a "poor choice of words."

Matt Rourke / AP

A longstanding effort to change how Pennsylvania picks judges for its three high courts is diverging into two paths: selection based on merit, and election by regional district.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

It's just over three weeks before the May primary, and some candidates for city office are facing off with Pittsburgh's Ethics Hearing Board, though they may not all face the board in person. 

Matt Rourke / AP

By the end of the week, the state House is hoping to pass every proposal included in last year's grand jury report on decades of child abuse within the Roman Catholic church.

Tom MacDonald/WHYY

The state House swore in its first-ever Muslim woman on Monday.

Movita Johnson-Harrell won her Philadelphia seat in a special election earlier this month. A mother and grandmother, she arrived in Harrisburg with 55 guests, more than half of whom she said were fellow Muslims.

But she said her first day in office was marred by an “offensive” invocation before her induction.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Democrats are claiming victory in special elections to fill two vacant Pennsylvania state House seats.

Movita Johnson-Harrell claimed victory Tuesday night in the election to a west Philadelphia seat, while Bridget Malloy Kosierowski claimed victory in a Scranton-area district.

Both seats were occupied most recently by Democrats, Lackawanna County Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich and Philadelphia Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

With 253 members in the House and Senate combined, Pennsylvania has the largest full-time legislature in the nation.

Its lawmakers are also the third-highest-paid, behind just New York and California.

Mel Evans / AP

Members of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee endorsed their favored candidates at the South Side’s IBEW Local #5 Sunday, casting ballots during a marathon session of glad-handing and eating donuts and other treats provided by candidates.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Candidates running for office in the city of Pittsburgh were required to file their first campaign-finance reports of the 2019 primary season on Friday. And if there’s one lesson to be drawn, it’s that it still pays to be an incumbent. That may be especially true in District 9, where Leon Ford, who was one of the most visible challengers to an incumbent, appears to be keeping a far lower profile.

Paul Sakuma / AP

A Pennsylvania lawmaker has proposed a tax on violent video games as a way to pay for increased security at public schools throughout the state.

Matt Rourke / AP

Republicans in Pennsylvania's Senate have been paying the legal bills of the chamber's ex-security chief in lawsuits by two women accusing him of harassing them while on the job as Senate security guards.

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati's office has approved at least $23,355 to cover the legal bills of former security director Justin Ferrante, according to a report published by The Philadelphia Inquirer, LNP and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Courtesy of Clarion University

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education's internal review found all 14 state-owned universities are facing fiscal challenges and ever-declining enrollment.

Daniel Greenstein, the new chancellor of PASSHE, says those concerns track with schools across the country. As student needs and interests evolve, state-run universities will have to adapt, he says, potentially downsizing, eliminating majors or refocusing efforts in specific programs better able to cater to Pennsylvania's future workforce.

Matt Rourke / AP

As the 2019 legislative session dawns, a new slate of committee chairs is taking over in the state House.

These chairs—all Republicans, as they control the House—have considerable sway on the legislation the chamber considers. They decide which bills are granted debate, ergo, which ones make it to the floor for votes.

It is difficult for lawmakers in opposition to circumvent committees.

One of the biggest questions ahead of committee assignment announcements was where Butler County Republican Daryl Metcalfe would be placed.

Bruised GOP Considers Trump's Pennsylvania Chances In 2020

Jan 2, 2019
Darron Cummings / AP

Democratic energy in the perennial battleground state of Pennsylvania is raising questions about President Donald Trump's ability to replicate his stunning 2016 win in a state Republicans hadn't carried for nearly two decades.

Lawmakers Sworn In At Start Of 2-Year General Assembly Term

Jan 2, 2019
Jacqueline Larma / AP

Pennsylvania lawmakers took the oath of office Tuesday, convening in the state Capitol on New Year's Day under a state constitutional mandate they meet on the first Tuesday of the year.

Forty-two House members and seven senators were sworn in for the first time after winning elections in November.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

 

Officials, community leaders and advocates gathered downtown Monday to renew a commitment to protecting human rights on the 70th anniversary of Human Rights Day. But what does that commitment mean in a practical sense?

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

 

Gaps in medical resources across rural Pennsylvania can be challenging, even for nursing school recruiters hoping to ultimately fill the local workforce.

Pennsylvania State Lawmaker Gets Probation In Bribery Case

Nov 30, 2018
PA House of Representatives

A state representative convicted of taking $4,000 in bribes from a confidential informant received probation Friday from a judge who was critical of the undercover investigation that snared her.

Democratic Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, of Philadelphia, was sentenced to 23 months of probation and ordered to repay the money to the state attorney general's office.

Pennsylvania Commits To New Voting Machines, Election Audit

Nov 29, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Gov. Tom Wolf's administration is settling a vote-counting lawsuit stemming from the 2016 presidential election, in part by affirming a commitment it made previously to push Pennsylvania's counties to buy voting systems that leave a verifiable paper trail by 2020.

NASA/JPL-Caltech / NASA.gov

Mars, Pennsylvania wasn't named after the Red Planet, but it's fully embracing those celestial connections. 

AP Photo

Every year, politicians raise hundreds of millions of dollars to finance their campaigns. But insiders know that the money is used for far more than competing in elections.

Casey Dangles Potential For A Presidential Run In 2020

Nov 26, 2018
Alex Brandon / AP

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey had barely won a third term in office before the Pennsylvania Democrat began saying he's open to the idea of running for president in 2020.

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