Politics & Government

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

Evan Vucci / AP

President Trump is speaking at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. His comments come amid a debate about gun laws after a shooting a high school in Parkland, Fla. National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre spoke at CPAC on Thursday, warning conservatives of a "socialist agenda" to take firearms from law-abiding citizens. Trump called the NRA and LaPierre "Great American Patriots" in a tweet Thursday morning and later said the organization "is ready to do things" to address the problem of gun violence.

Heather Ainsworth / AP

The commonwealth’s gambling industry is midway through a significant shift, with bidding currently underway for existing casinos to acquire newly-legal satellite locations.

 

The process is already raking in more money than lawmakers anticipated; but not everything is going off without a hitch.

 

The most recent bidding process had to be completely restarted after a casino misjudged the state’s placement requirements.

 

Eight Pennsylvania GOP Congressmen File Challenge To District Map

Feb 22, 2018
Pennsylvania Supreme Court

*UPDATED

Pennsylvania's highest court overstepped its authority in drawing new congressional district lines and did not give state lawmakers enough time to produce a map of their own, eight Republican congressmen said in a lawsuit filed Thursday.

Matt Rourke / AP

 A new court-ordered map of congressional districts in Pennsylvania is spurring more would-be candidates to consider whether — and where — to run.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The Republican running in March 13's special election for a vacant U.S. House seat in southwestern Pennsylvania says he might seek a full term in a similar district under a new court-ordered congressional map, even though he doesn't live in it.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Republicans are attempting to circumvent the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the state’s congressional maps as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander in favor of Republicans.

Edwards4Pgh

Republican Shannon Edwards, 33, announced Wednesday that she’s seeking her party's nomination to take on Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle in a district that includes the city of Pittsburgh and surrounding neighborhoods.

Chris Pizello / Invision via AP

"Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek is set to moderate a debate in this year's Pennsylvania governor's race.

Trebek will keynote Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry's annual dinner in October, which is scheduled to include the 45-minute debate.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf will face off in November against the winner of May's Republican primary.

The 34th chamber dinner will be held Oct. 1 in Hershey. Trebek will talk about his more than three decades as a quizmaster.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

In a rare visit to Harrisburg, Republican US Senator Pat Toomey made clear his strong opposition to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision to redraw the state’s congressional maps.

GOP Leaders To Seek Halt To Pennsylvania Congressional Map

Feb 21, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Republican leaders of the Pennsylvania Legislature said Wednesday they will soon ask the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the imposition of new congressional district maps, two days after they were announced by the state's highest court.

House Speaker Mike Turzai said that later Wednesday he and his Senate counterpart will request an emergency stay of what he called a "completely partisan, ultimate gerrymander."

Toomey Visits Pennsylvania Factory To Tout GOP Tax Overhaul

Feb 21, 2018
Laura Benshoff / WHYY

New Hudson Facades in Linwood, Pennsylvania, makes the glass and aluminum skins that cover skyscrapers. On Tuesday, it was also the most recent stop in a string of appearances by Republicans to highlight the GOP-championed tax law, which passed in December.

The events are part victory lap — and part pep rally — and they coincide with rising approval ratings for the law.

After a tour of New Hudson Facades’ high-tech manufacturing facility, Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey credited the tax bill, which he helped author, with strengthening the company.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Political groups around Pennsylvania are working to figure out what the state Supreme Court’s new congressional map will mean for their agendas.

Several organizations that have backed efforts to redraw the districts say they are concerned that the new plan may dilute votes from black communities.

When drawing congressional maps, one key standard authors have to meet comes from the Voting Rights Act.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The new congressional map issued by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Monday shifts Democrat Conor Lamb — who lives in Mt. Lebanon and is running in the special election to fill the vacant seat in the current 18th District — into a new district and potentially a competitive primary.

Alex Brandon / AP

President Donald Trump on Tuesday encouraged Republicans to fight Pennsylvania's new court-imposed map of congressional districts, issued a day earlier in a move expected to improve Democrats' chances at chipping away at the GOP's U.S. House majority.

Congressional Map Raises Democrats’ Hopes, Legal Test Ahead

Feb 20, 2018
(Left) PA Supreme Court, (Right) Office of Lt. Gov. Mike Stack

The map of congressional districts imposed by Pennsylvania's high court for the state's 2018 elections will set off a new legal battle, reconfigure perhaps dozens of campaigns and give Democrats a boost in their mission to wrest control of the U.S. House.

The map of Pennsylvania's 18 congressional districts is to be in effect for the May 15 primary and substantially overhauls a Republican-drawn congressional map widely viewed as among the nation's most gerrymandered.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Attorney Conor Lamb (D-Mt. Lebanon) and state Rep. Rick Saccone (R-Elizabeth) largely stuck to their respective messages at Monday's first televised debate in the race to fill the vacant seat in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District south of Pittsburgh.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Republicans say they'll go to federal court this week to try to block new court-ordered boundaries of Pennsylvania's congressional districts from remaining in effect for 2018's elections.

Pennsylvania's New Court-Ordered Congressional Map Could Boost Democrats

Feb 19, 2018
Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania's high court issued a new congressional district map for the state's 2018 elections on its self-imposed deadline on Monday, potentially giving Democrats a boost in their quest to capture control of the U.S. House unless Republicans are able to stop it in federal court.

Pennsylvania Awaits First Look At Court's Congressional Map

Feb 19, 2018
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania's high court is on the cusp Monday of imposing a new congressional district map to take effect for the state's 2018 elections, all but ensuring that Democratic prospects will improve in several seats and boosting the party's quest to capture control of the U.S. House.

Monday is the state Supreme Court's self-imposed deadline to unveil new district boundaries, replacing the 6-year-old boundaries the court struck down in a gerrymandering lawsuit last month.

New Maps Could Improve Democrats' Chances In Pennsylvania

Feb 16, 2018
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 *Updated

 

 

Democrats' chances at picking up congressional seats in Pennsylvania likely would improve under new models of district boundaries drawn to replace the Republican-drawn boundaries thrown out in a high-stakes gerrymandering court case, independent analysts said Friday.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

In the aftermath of this week’s high school shooting in Florida, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) is calling for improved federal background checks for firearms sales.

In a Facebook post Thursday, Toomey said he and his staff will “continue to reach out to senators on both sides of the aisle to see where progress can be made” on the issue.

Keith Srakocic / AP


In the special election to fill the vacant seat in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District south of Pittsburgh, 33-year-old Democratic candidate Conor Lamb (Mt. Lebanon) has presented himself as part of a new generation of leaders, and he says voters are excited for the change he represents.

Wikimedia Commons

The deadline has come and gone to submit congressional map proposals that meet the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s new guidelines.

When justices first declared the maps unconstitutional about four weeks ago, they ordered the GOP-controlled legislature and Democratic Governor Tom Wolf to negotiate a compromise on new ones.

That compromise never happened. 

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

The city of Pittsburgh is continuing its battle at the Pennsylvania Supreme Court over two laws that could affect local workers, but that lower courts have so far blocked.

Matt Rourke / AP

Thursday is deadline day in Pennsylvania's high-stakes gerrymandering case for Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and others to submit maps of new congressional district boundaries that they want the state Supreme Court to adopt for this year's election.

Screengrab via Draw the Lines

As Republicans and Democrats in Harrisburg fight bitterly over a state Supreme Court order to redraw Pennsylvania’s congressional maps, one group is taking a longer view.

In a bid to increase awareness about gerrymandering, fledgling organization Draw the Lines is making professional digital mapping tools available to the public.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The March 13 special election to fill the vacant seat in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District south of Pittsburgh is widely viewed as a bellwether for the midterm elections later this year, and that’s due in part to candidate Rick Saccone’s (R-Elizabeth) vocal support for President Donald Trump.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania lobbyists are subject to a new law that requires them to file their disclosure reports electronically.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday signed a bill that also increases fines for missing quarterly deadlines for filing disclosure reports.

Officials say about one in five reports were still being filed with paper.

Brian Siewiorek / 90.5 WESA

After 14 years of being designated "financially distressed," on Monday the city of Pittsburgh exited Act 47 state oversight of its finances. State officials hailed the city's return to fiscal good health.

90.5 WESA's Kevin Gavin spoke with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto about the city's financial future.

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 

Ed Reiker / Pyrex Brand/AP

A county commissioner from southwestern Pennsylvania is the newest Republican to join the field vying to become the state's next lieutenant governor.

Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey Vaughan said Tuesday that she'll seek the nomination. The 55-year-old Irey Vaughan has run unsuccessfully for state treasurer and Congress. She's been a county commissioner since 1996.

March 6 is the deadline for candidates to file paperwork for the May 15 primary ballot.

Five Democrats have lined up to contest the re-election bid of Lt. Gov. Mike Stack in the party's primary.

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