Politics & Government

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

Mic Smith / AP

President Donald Trump's campaign says he'll hold a rally in Ambridge next week.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Tuesday marked the third time a senior Trump administration official dropped into Pittsburgh for 2018's first congressional election.

Ivanka Trump and Small Business Administration Administrator Linda McMahon met Tuesday in Mt. Lebanon with business owners and Republican state lawmakers where she touted tax-cutting legislation her father signed.

Sitting beside her was state Rep. Rick Saccone, the Republican running in March 13's special election to fill the seat left vacant by Republican Tim Murphy's resignation.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Governor Tom Wolf has rejected a Republican-drawn congressional map designed to replace the one the state Supreme Court declared unconstitutional late last month.

The democratic administration says the map is still too partisan—though House and Senate Republicans maintain it follows the court’s order exactly.

Democrats Prepare To Take Turn At Drawing U.S. House Districts

Feb 13, 2018
Chris Knight / AP

Top Democratic state lawmakers said Monday they want to work with Gov. Tom Wolf on a consensus Democratic plan of congressional districts to present to state Supreme Court justices who are poised to impose new boundaries.

Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa and House Minority Leader Frank Dermody said they hope to meet with Wolf as early as Tuesday to begin cooperation on a map, and have urged Wolf to reject a map given to him on Friday by the GOP-controlled Legislature's top Republicans.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Two top Democrats are retiring from the state House this year—and have more in common than just their high-ranking positions.

Pennsylvania Department of General Services

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is promising he'll send a politically impartial congressional district map to the state Supreme Court by its Thursday deadline if the Republican-controlled legislature cannot draw one themselves.

Alex Brandon / AP

Third-party and independent candidates will have an easier time running for office in Pennsylvania following settlement of a longstanding federal lawsuit.

The settlement approved by a federal judge earlier this month includes a provision that such candidates will need far fewer petition signatures to qualify for the ballot, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

On Monday the city of Pittsburgh became the second city to exit Act 47, the state’s oversight program for financially distressed cities. For a city known for the catastrophic collapse of its steel industry in the 1980s, this clean bill of financial health was lauded by state and local officials as nothing short of a comeback.

Race In PA’s 18th District To Test How Tax Law Plays With Voters

Feb 12, 2018
Keith Srakocic / AP

In southwest Pennsylvania, Democratic congressional hopeful Conor Lamb hammers the new Republican tax law as a gift to corporations and the wealthy that will add to the national debt and give the GOP-led Congress an excuse to gut Social Security and Medicare.

Open Or Contorted U.S. House Districts May See Biggest Changes

Feb 12, 2018
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania's high court last month became the first state court to throw out a congressional map because of partisan gerrymandering, a decision that has ignited a scramble to redraw district boundaries as dozens of candidates watch and wait.

Democrats See Partisanship In GOP Pennsylvania District Map

Feb 11, 2018
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania Democrats on Saturday described a revised congressional district map being proposed by Republican leaders as too partisan, citing as evidence the results of the 2016 presidential campaign.

A spokesman for state House Democrats said their analysis of the GOP proposal indicates Republican President Donald Trump would have collected more votes in 13 of 18 districts, one more than he actually did win.

Marc Levy / AP

At its annual winter meeting Saturday, the Pennsylvania Republican Party endorsed York County state Senator Scott Wagner for governor.

The hat-tip gives Wagner a powerful new talking-point as he attempts to unseat Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.

Wagner had a strong lead in straw votes leading up to the endorsement—pulling 175 out of 317 nods from around the state.

GOP Leaders Unveil Revamped Pennsylvania Congressional Map

Feb 10, 2018
State Senator Joe Scarnati / www.senatorscarnati.com

Republican leaders of the Pennsylvania legislature on Friday produced a new proposed map of the state's congressional districts, three weeks after the state Supreme Court declared the former map unconstitutional.

Pennsylvania To Require Voting Machines With Paper Backup

Feb 9, 2018
Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday ordered counties that plan to replace their electronic voting systems to buy machines that leave a paper trail — a safeguard against hacking — but his budget doesn't include any money to fund the replacement of the state's aging, increasingly vulnerable fleet.

Obama-Backed Committee Targeting Races In PA, Ohio And Other States

Feb 9, 2018
Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

A Democratic group backed by former President Barack Obama said this week it plans to invest millions of dollars in state-level elections in 11 states this year, with its heaviest focus on Ohio.

The National Democratic Redistricting Committee, led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, said this year's election cycle is critical to affecting the congressional redistricting process. It is the first cycle whose winners will participate in drawing congressional maps for the decade starting in 2021.

Lawmakers Won't Meet Deadline To Vote On Congressional Map

Feb 8, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

Republican leaders in the Pennsylvania Legislature said Thursday they would not be able to meet a court-ordered deadline to hold a vote on a replacement map for the state's congressional districts, but that they still hoped to develop a plan in the coming days.

City of Pittsburgh

A new app lets Pittsburgh residents share their views on the city’s budget. Called “Balancing Act,” the program shows users where in the budget their individual tax dollars go and allows them to make their own spending recommendations.

Keith Srakocic / AP

UPDATED: 10:18 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018

Pennsylvania lawmakers headed home Wednesday with two days left to comply with a court order to redraw boundaries of the state's widely criticized congressional districts as top Republican lawmakers hunkered down to figure out a plan.

Voting sessions were canceled amid a winter storm, and rank-and-file lawmakers awaited word from House Republican leaders about whether they would be recalled to Harrisburg by Friday's deadline to vote on a new congressional district map that they had not yet seen.

Pennsylvania Redistricting Decision Gives Democrats A Boost

Feb 7, 2018
Googlemaps

Pennsylvania already figured prominently in Democrats' attempt to win back control of the U.S. House. A decision this week in a long-running redistricting case is set to give those efforts a boost.

Matt Rourke / AP

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to intervene in the case requiring Pennsylvania lawmakers to draw new congressional districts before the May primary, there’s just three days left to create a new map.

Wolf Renews Battles On Natural Gas, Minimum Wage In Budget

Feb 6, 2018
Chris Knight / AP

  Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's election-year budget plan unveiled Tuesday will renew battles with the Republican-controlled Legislature over imposing a tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas and increasing the minimum wage.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania state representatives are moving closer to a vote that would let the public decide whether to trim about a quarter of their own members.

The state House on Monday turned down a series of proposed changes to the constitutional amendment.

Amendments at this stage could prevent the constitutional referendum from being put before the state's voters this year.

A final vote in the House and passage by the Senate are still required.

The referendum would cut the size of the state House of Representatives from 203 to 151 members.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Governor Tom Wolf is releasing his fourth budget proposal Tuesday. 

It will lay out his preferences for spending and funding for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

The plan—and reception from republicans—isn’t expected to be quite as contentious as in past years, because negotiations are beginning as Wolf and many other state lawmakers are running for reelection, or for higher office.

That’s significant, because the budget impasses that have lately plagued Pennsylvania typically aren’t great for poll numbers. Wolf—and other candidates—stand to gain if everyone agrees.

Map from the office of Lt. Gov. Mike Stack

Pennsylvania Republicans have lost what was likely their best shot at getting out of redrawing congressional maps, after the state Supreme Court declared them unconstitutional.

In Blow To GOP, Supreme Court Won't Block PA Redistricting

Feb 5, 2018
J. Scott Applewhite / AP

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday let a court-ordered redrawing of congressional districts in Pennsylvania proceed, denying a plea from Republicans legislative leaders to block it.

Wolf Aims For Smooth Landing For Election-Year Budget

Feb 5, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf will roll out his fourth and final first-term budget proposal, an election-year plan expected to be relatively restrained after three years dominated by drawn-out partisan fights with the Republican-controlled Legislature over how to plug gaping deficits.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Vice President Mike Pence on Friday continued the effort of national Republicans to boost Pennsylvania state Rep. Rick Saccone (R - Elizabeth) in the special election to represent the 18th Congressional District south of Pittsburgh. It's part of their bid to maintain a majority in Congress through the midterm elections this year.

GOP Accuses Justice Of Bias In Bid To Save Election Map

Feb 2, 2018
WHYY

Pennsylvania legislative Republican leaders say a Democratic justice's comments about gerrymandering should require him to remove himself from a case challenging the state's congressional district map.

Democratic Party Chair Resigns Under Pressure From Wolf

Feb 2, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania's Democratic Party chairman says he's acceding to Gov. Tom Wolf's request that he resign in the wake of his comments to a columnist about the party's responses to sexual misconduct allegations against politicians.

Matt Rourke / AP

*Updated at 5:26 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 2.

With at least 18 state House republicans and four GOP senators likely leaving their seats this year, Pennsylvania's legislative races could be a goldmine for democrats.

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