Politics & Government

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

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Social justice advocates worry misinformation is preventing formerly incarcerated men and women from casting their ballot.

PA’s Voting Machines Are So Old, They Can’t Be Hacked

Oct 26, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP

 

For weeks, we've been hearing about whether a cyberattack could somehow interfere with the upcoming presidential election results.

Different types of voting machines are used on Election Day throughout the area, and some are more vulnerable.

"I don't think a large-scale attack is likely," Henry Carter, an assistant professor at Villanova University, said. His expertise centers on cybersecurity and cryptology.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

School district enrollment levels have dramatically shifted in Pennsylvania over the past 25 years.

John Minchillo / AP

Vice President Joe Biden stumped for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Katie McGinty at Chatham University on Tuesday.

Alan Levine / Flickr

The Pennsylvania Senate has approved legislation that would allow beer distributors to sell beer for off-site consumption in any amount, including six-packs and growlers.

The bill, approved Monday, would let manufacturers ship up to 192 ounces of beer to consumers each month.

Consumers would also be able to buy mixed drinks at the state's sporting venues that currently sell beer.

The legislation now heads to the state House of Representatives.

A spokesman for Wolf was non-committal Monday night on whether the governor would sign the bill.

Via Wikipedia, Katie McGinty

Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate race this year will likely set a new record for spending, as outside groups pour money into the contest hoping to influence the control of the Senate.

Ed Ivanushkin / flickr

Many people may not realize how little of a charitable donation goes toward fighting the cause at hand.

State Rep. Tony DeLuca (D-Allegheny) found this to be a problem for some his constituents who were solicited by charities seeking donations to fight cancer. In some cases, as little as less than 1 percent of money raised goes toward aid.  

(L-R) Sara D. Davis, Alex Wong / Getty Images, via NPR

 

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is heading to Pennsylvania for campaign stops on both ends of the state.

He's holding two rallies Friday — at 4 p.m. at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown, and at 7:30 p.m. at the Newtown Athletic Club outside Philadelphia.

90.5 WESA

Earlier this month, we spoke to a handful of families from across the Pittsburgh region about the upcoming election. We checked in with them after the third and final presidential debate to hear what they were thinking as we move toward Nov. 8.  

Elaine Thompson / AP

As the 2016 legislative session gets down to the wire in Pennsylvania, lawmakers are rushing bills large and small.

One of the measures that made it through the House Consumer Affairs Committee on Monday would make it illegal to tax plastic shopping bags in Pennsylvania.

The measure will likely face pushback from Democrats.

Bucks County Republican Frank Farry is sponsoring the bill and argues that bag taxes—which have become more popular in recent years—could compromise jobs.

via WITF

 

The first debate is set of a hotly contested Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race that could decide whether the GOP hangs onto its Senate majority.

Republican incumbent Pat Toomey will square off against Democratic challenger Katie McGinty today.

The hour-long debate will be taped at 1 p.m. at KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh and broadcast at 7 p.m.

It will be made available to stations in other media markets across the state.

Differences over national security, tax policy, gun rights, abortion and immigration are prominent issues in the race.

Joshua Rappeneker / flickr

The Centers for Disease Control found that 15 percent of mothers of newborns suffer from postpartum depression, which could lead to slower physical growth and mental development for their child.

“And those are just the [mothers] that seek help or admit that they have a problem,” said Camera Bartolotta (R-Washington, Greene). “There is such a stigma to moms with post-partum depression and a lot of them don’t even know what they have.”

Marcus Charleston / WESA

Higher fees and more enforcement were among the recommendations made by the Pittsburgh City Controller’s office following a performance audit of the residential parking permit program.

“People generally feel that it is a good program,” said Controller Michael Lamb.  “Particularly when you live in one of those areas that are impacted by a lot of nonresident parking.”

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The Rutherfords are a family not easily pigeonholed.

They live in a modest home in Bethel Park. Dad, Kurt, 46, works in the Medicaid division at UPMC. Mom, Leslie, 44, stays home to take care of the house and manage their three kids’ busy schedules.

Four months ago, Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene Depasquale released a scathing interim report on the operations of the state’s child abuse reporting hotline. 

On Wednesday, he praised recent improvements to the ChildLine but then released eight more findings and 24 new recommendations.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Now that Mayor Bill Peduto’s 2017 budget has been approved by the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority Board, there are other hurdles to be cleared before it becomes law. They include coming up with at least $10 million in gaming revenue to balance the budget. In his monthly conversation with Mayor Peduto, 90.5 WESA’s Paul Guggenheimer dives into that topic and other aspects of his spending plan.

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity

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Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

One year after Pittsburgh’s Wage Review Committee released its report detailing the hardships faced by low-wage workers in the city, Councilman Ricky Burgess said there is still more work to do.

Burgess counted among the victories of the last year the unionization of workers at Allegheny General Hospital and UPMC’s pledge to raise wages for service workers to $15 per hour by 2021.

In addition, workers at four other hospitals in the Pittsburgh region will see starting wages increased by $15 per hour over the next three to five years.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Donna and Steve Dzurilla live in a single-story home on a quiet street in Lincoln Place. They’re just barely in the city limits, surrounded by neighboring West Mifflin.

The walls of their home are lined with photos of places not far from their house, places that mean a lot to their families: the steel mills.

  

Evan Vucci / AP

 

On Monday afternoon, the line to enter the Donald Trump rally in Ambridge, a small town near Pittsburgh, stretched for blocks. The rally was held in the field house of the Ambridge Area High School. 

Before the speech, protesters stood on the other side of the street chanting, “Racist, sexist, anti-gay, Donald Trump go away.” Several young women held signs that read, “Students against bigotry.”

James Thomas Finley was visiting Ambridge, and watched from a nearby porch. He said he can't believe Donald Trump is running for president.

Patrick Semansky / AP

 

A western Pennsylvania school district is ending classes early over concerns about more protesters arriving for Donald Trump's scheduled rally at its high school field house.

Trump is scheduled to speak at 3:30 p.m. Monday at Ambridge Area High School before he travels to northeastern Pennsylvania for a rally at Mohegan Sun Arena near Wilkes-Barre at 7 p.m.

NPR

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton face off in the second presidential debate Sunday night at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, is live annotating the debate. Portions of the debate with added analysis are highlighted, followed by context and fact check from NPR reporters and editors.

  

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Cliff Owen / AP

 

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey's rating from the National Rifle Association has dropped after the Pennsylvania Republican went against gun-rights groups and voted to support expanded background checks.

Toomey's new C-rating is a downgrade from the A-rating and hearty endorsement the NRA gave him when he last ran in 2010.

Toomey is being challenged by Democrat Katie McGinty, who favors a broad range of gun-control measures and has drawn an F-rating from the NRA. The neck-and-neck race could help decide control of the Senate.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh has nearly 25,000 vacant lots, according to GTECH Strategies. 

GTECH Project Manager James Snow said blight is hard to define, but it could be an empty lot or an abandoned house.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 

Sara Middleton and Catlyn Brooke both teach cross fit at the Allegheny YMCA on the North Side.

 

They renovated the upstairs studio themselves. Middleton built the barbell racks, as well as a huge structure for pull up rings and high bars.

 

  “I fell in love with it and I got certified to teach,” Brooke said.

 

Ally Aubry / flickr

Tuesday, Oct. 11 is the final date to register to vote in Pennsylvania. Over the course of 2016, more than 40,000 Allegheny County residents have submitted their registration applications online since the state launched the system a little over a year ago.

Mandel Ngan / AFP/Getty Images

 

Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence square off in the vice-presidential debate Tuesday night.

NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, is live annotating the debate. Portions of the debate with added analysis are highlighted, followed by context and fact check from NPR reporters and editors.

Follow highlights of the debate in NPR's updating news story at npr.org.

Brad Larrison / Newsworks

Last month, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump claimed the only way he would lose Pennsylvania in the presidential election would be through voter fraud.

"The only way we can lose, in my opinion, I really mean this, Pennsylvania, is if cheating goes on," he told a rally in Altoona in August.

WITF

The city of Harrisburg's near-bankruptcy led to Pennsylvania's first and only local government takeover, the ousting of a seven-term mayor and his pending criminal trial - and aggressive, expensive parking enforcement in the state capit

Biden Attacks Trump In PA Visit Over House Collapse Comments

Sep 27, 2016
David Goldman / AP

 

 

Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday questioned Donald Trump's "moral center" as a result of the Republican presidential candidate's comments about America's housing collapse.

At a rally for Hillary Clinton at Drexel University, Biden said that Trump had bragged at Monday's presidential debate about profiting from the failed housing market. He said Trump's policies are not helpful for the country, calling the candidate "painfully uninformed."

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