Politics & Government

We cover politics and government with an eye to providing to voters clear, in-depth, nonpartisan information. 

Pennsylvania Fights Green Party Recount Bid In Federal Court

Dec 8, 2016
Paul Sancya / AP

 

 

Pennsylvania election officials want a federal judge to throw out a Green Party-backed lawsuit that seeks a recount of paper ballots cast in Pennsylvania's Nov. 8 presidential election and an inspection to make sure election software wasn't hacked.

Thursday's court filing says Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein lacks the necessary standing to challenge the election result because any change won't make her the winner. The state's lawyers also call it "rank speculation" to suggest that Russian hackers somehow flipped the vote.

Gerry Broome / AP

 

As the Green Party pushes for election recounts in key states, leaders of Pennsylvania's Republican Party have expressed concerns the delays could ultimately hold up President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration.

But, those fears now appear to be eased — a lawyer for the state GOP has said he's confident Pennsylvania's results will be validated on time.

States are federally required to settle controversies surrounding the appointment of their electors on Dec. 13. Otherwise, their electoral votes may not be deemed valid by Congress.

Brad Larrison / for NewsWorks

 

A Philadelphia judge has refused the request of Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein to do a digital audit of a small fraction of the city's voting machines.

It's the latest setback for Stein's recount effort in Pennsylvania.

Stein's gotten nowhere trying to get a statewide recount of the presidential vote aside from a few instances where individual voters petitioned for recounts in their home precincts. That happened for about 4 percent of Philadelphia's polling places,

ShotSpotter

Pittsburgh City Council has given tentative approval to a contract that would extend the city’s gunfire detection program for a fifth year. 

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Though Pennsylvania’s revenues are lagging to meet the $31.5 billion budget, Gov. Tom Wolf said seven months is plenty of time to make up the difference. 

The state Department of Revenue has taken in $262 million less than anticipated since July, a deficit of about 2.4 percent.

“If that (negative five-month trend) continues and the big months are also down 2 percent, that’s a real problem,” Wolf said. 

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania's governor is cleaning up dozens of what he calls outdated and unneeded executive orders that he inherited from seven previous governors.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday announced he was rescinding 46 of them, some that were established about three decades ago. Six were signed in the past decade.

Wolf says many of them involve entities that no longer exist.

Katie Meyer / WITF

Green Party supporters were in Harrisburg on Monday to vocally back Jill Stein’s quest for a presidential vote recount in the commonwealth.

Stein, the Green Party candidate, has now filed suit in both federal and Philadelphia city courts.

David Amsler / Flickr

Republican state Sen. Scott Wagner is filing a Right-to-Know request over the layoffs of several hundred state employees.

The York County lawmaker is being blamed by Democratic Governor Tom Wolf and union leaders for being a major cause of the layoffs.

But Wagner contends that Wolf is at fault.

At the end of the 2016 legislative session last month, the GOP-led Senate decided not to vote on a funding bill for the state’s unemployment compensation program.

Matt Rourke / AP

Allegheny County officials found no disparities after recanvassing some of the election results on Monday.

Participants in a campaign led by the Green Party’s Jill Stein filed recount petitions in 52 of Allegheny County’s 1,322 voting districts.

Allegheny County Elections Division Manager Mark Wolosik said the recanvass that took place is different than recounting individual votes.

Green Party Asks U.S. Court To Order Pennsylvania Recount

Dec 5, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP

 

 

Calling Pennsylvania's election system "a national disgrace," Green Party-backed lawyers asked a federal judge on Monday to order a recount of the state's Nov. 8 presidential election result, won by Republican Donald Trump.

The Jill Stein campaign plans to bring her fight for a statewide ballot recount in Pennsylvania to federal court.

Jonathan Abady, lead counsel to Stein's recount efforts, said in a statement late Saturday that starting Monday, the campaign will "file for emergency relief in federal court, demanding a statewide recount on constitutional grounds."

Jose Luis Magana / AP Photo

 

Time is running out for Pennsylvania coal miners. By Jan. 1, 13,000 coal miners could lose their pensions and thousands their health care. Legislation called the Miners Protection Act would avert the loss of benefits, but the U.S. Senate has yet to schedule the bill for a vote.

Matt Rourke / AP

 

Election officials in Philadelphia will conduct a recount Friday of the presidential vote in 75 of the city's 1,686 precincts, in response to petitions filed by Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

But at a hearing Thursday morning, the city's election board turned down the Stein campaign's request to open up voting machines and look for digital evidence of hacking.

Philadelphia is one of several Pennsylvania counties where partial recounts are happening, the result of precinct-level recount petitions from several hundred voters recruited by the Stein campaign.

Prosecutors Issue Guidelines On Probes Of Police Shootings

Nov 29, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP

The group that represents Pennsylvania prosecutors issued guidelines Tuesday for investigating shootings by police officers, recommending that departments do not investigate their own and that the shooters' names should not be released unless they are charged.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala said the deaths of three people in a car who were struck on Thanksgiving by a fleeing suspect could have been avoided if the police departments involved went about it differently.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

 

Planned Parenthood says it added more than 800 volunteers in Pennsylvania since Donald Trump won the presidential election three weeks ago.

The organization says it usually gets about 20 to 25 new volunteers in a month.

"The outpouring of support that we've seen over the last two weeks is like nothing I have seen in my 12-and-a-half years with Planned Parenthood. It is unprecedented," said Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Executive Director Sari Stevens.

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

 

If Donald Trump's stunning win in Pennsylvania mean it's the season for wealthy outsiders in politics, that can only be good for Paul Addis.

Addis, 63, a former energy executive, is exploring a run for governor in the 2018 Republican primary, where the winner is likely to face incumbent Democrat, Tom Wolf.

State Sen. Scott Wagner, R-York, is a rich, solid-waste magnate who's already running, and there's talk of other self-funding hopefuls across the commonwealth.

Ross Cameron / AP Photo

Attorneys for Green Party candidate Jill Stein will launch a last-minute challenge to Pennsylvania's presidential election results today, and the Hillary Clinton campaign says it will participate to ensure the process is "fair to all sides." 

Lawrence Otter, an election attorney working with the Stein campaign, said the effort will begin with voters in selected precincts filing recount petitions, which county election boards are required to honor. 

What do Democrats in West Virginia and Republicans in California have in common? Many likely knew that their presidential election votes wouldn't "count."

Of course, these votes were counted, but anyone with a minimal knowledge of U.S. politics could have guessed that California would vote Democratic in the presidential election (Clinton won it by 29 points) and that West Virginia would go Republican (Trump won by nearly 42 points).

President-elect Donald Trump issued a Thanksgiving address on Wednesday evening, calling for the nation to come together after a bruising, bitter campaign.

Matt Rourke / AP

After a yearlong review of more than 6 million emails sent in and out of the state Attorney General’s office, interim AG Bruce Beemer said Tuesday that there’s no evidence any of the emails would have impacted the fairness of the justice system.

“There is no evidence that prosecutors engaged in improper communication or contact with judges in this commonwealth that have affected the administration of justice or the outcome of cases,” he said.

Wolf Vetoes Bill On When To ID Cops Involved In Deadly Force

Nov 21, 2016
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

 

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf is vetoing legislation that would have restricted the situations in which police officers are identified after firing their weapon or using force that results in death or serious injury.

Wolf rejected the legislation Monday, after it passed both the Republican-controlled House and Senate by veto-proof majorities last month.

Kevin McCorry / WHYY

 

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives held leadership elections Tuesday in preparation for the impending end of the legislative session. Republican leaders new and old said they're looking forward to having their largest majority in decades next session.

Most of the major changes in the House's majority GOP leadership are due to retirements—the chamber's appropriations chair William Adolf, of Delaware County, is stepping down, as is Susquehanna County Caucus Chair Sandra Major.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

 

Theresa Cygrymus looked around the hall at Prince of Peace Parish, a Catholic Church on Pittsburgh’s South Side, and shook her head.

“It’s already nine o’clock, usually we have stuff cooking already," she said. 

Cygrymus knows the drill. At 78, she’s been volunteering for the church all her life. On a Saturday in late October, Cygrymus and a church group called The Christian Mothers were preparing to churn out hundreds of dozens of pierogis to sell. All the money they make supports the church and its outreach.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A report released by the University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics is calling for judges in Allegheny County to rely less on bail to keep tabs on suspects awaiting trial on non-violent charges.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

 

Municipal officials from around the country grappled with changes in transportation, such as self-driving cars and rail safety, while meeting in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

This week, Pittsburgh is hosting 3,000 mayors and council members from around the country, as well as local leaders, for the National League of Cities' annual City Summit. They’ll meet through Saturday to discuss the challenges currently facing cities and share best practices for energy efficiency, working with startups and increasing transparency.

Patrick Semansky / AP

 

On Election Day, many Pennsylvania voters from both sides of the aisle watched in surprise, and in some cases, shock, as Donald Trump won the commonwealth and was elected the next president of the United States.

They weren't the only ones. Lots of political analysts in the state were also taken aback.

Most major polls never showed Trump winning Pennsylvania, let alone the election. The state was thought to be part of opponent Hillary Clinton's so-called "blue wall."

So what went wrong?

Paul Guggenheimer / 90.5 WESA

The results of last week’s election left many political leaders stunned and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald was no exception. Not only was Fitzgerald disappointed to see Hillary Clinton lose after strongly supporting her campaign, he was surprised to see Pennsylvania go into the win column for a Republican for the first time since 1988.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto presented his proposed 2017 budget to City Council on Monday. The $539 million plan includes income from Rivers Casino.

Keith Srakocic / AP

U.S. Attorney David Hickton gave no reason for his surprise resignation serving the Western District of Pennsylvania on Monday.

His office said his last day will be Nov. 28.

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