Government & Politics http://wesa.fm en The History of Minors Being Tried As Adults http://wesa.fm/post/history-minors-being-tried-adults <p>Alex Hribal, the 16 year-old student apprehended during a stabbing rampage at his high school last week, was charged as an adult. What is the history behind this decision? How did the idea manifest itself in practical terms? We posed these questions and more to our legal expert, Pitt Law Professor David Harris.</p><p>Prior to the late 1980’s, children were only tried as adults after they went through the juvenile court system. If a judge decided that they were unable to be rehabilitated, the case was passed along to adult court.</p><p> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 20:15:41 +0000 Essential Pittsburgh 27718 at http://wesa.fm The History of Minors Being Tried As Adults Coalition of African American Groups Hold Forum for Democratic Gubornatorial Candidates http://wesa.fm/post/coalition-african-american-groups-hold-forum-democratic-gubornatorial-candidates <p></p><p>How are the candidates for governor planning to take on the issues in the commonwealth’s African American community?</p><p>That’s what a coalition of African American organizations want to find out during its forum April 22<sup>nd</sup>.</p><p>The coalition invited the four Democratic gubernatorial candidates - Robert McCord and Kathleen McGinty accepted, but Thomas Wolf and Allyson Schwartz were unable to clear their schedules.</p> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 19:24:09 +0000 Jessica Nath 27735 at http://wesa.fm Coalition of African American Groups Hold Forum for Democratic Gubornatorial Candidates Proposed Property Tax Break for Disabled Veterans http://wesa.fm/post/proposed-property-tax-break-disabled-veterans <p>A Pennsylvania state lawmaker is pushing for legislation that would allow disabled veterans to receive a real estate tax exemption regardless of the severity of their disability.</p><p>Currently, Pennsylvania offers an “all-or-nothing” program, where veterans who are 100 percent disabled receive a complete property tax exemption and those who are 80 or 90 percent disabled get nothing.</p><p>State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) said the tax exemption should be proportional to the percentage of disability.</p> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:00:49 +0000 Michael Lynch 27341 at http://wesa.fm Wolf Says Loan For Millions Backed By Personal Money, Not Company’s http://wesa.fm/post/wolf-says-loan-millions-backed-personal-money-not-company-s <p>The front-runner in the Democratic race for governor is acutely feeling the target on his back. Tom Wolf continues to receive demands from opponent Allyson Schwartz for more details of his campaign’s financing.<br /><br />Wolf, who said he gave $10 million of his own money to his campaign, has released a summary of a $4.45 million loan he took out as part of that self-financing effort.<br /> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:05:29 +0000 Mary Wilson 27708 at http://wesa.fm Obama: When It Comes To Job Training, 'Roboburgh' Is A Model For The Nation http://wesa.fm/post/obama-when-it-comes-job-training-roboburgh-model-nation <p></p><p>The Community College of Allegheny County’s mechatronics program trains students to work in high-tech manufacturing jobs, and President Barack Obama said Wednesday it’s the kind of program that should be available nationwide.</p><p>“What we want to do is we want to replicate your model across the country,” Obama said. “You’re doing something right that is making a difference in people’s lives, and we want to spread the word.”</p> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 03:31:23 +0000 Liz Reid 27694 at http://wesa.fm Obama: When It Comes To Job Training, 'Roboburgh' Is A Model For The Nation Obama Praises CCAC's Job-Driven Training Programs http://wesa.fm/post/obama-praises-ccacs-job-driven-training-programs <p>President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center campus in Oakdale Wednesday to unveil the administration’s new job training initiatives.</p><p>Obama called CCAC’s mechatronics program an outstanding model of job-driven training that he wants to see replicated across the country.</p><p>The program trains workers for high-tech manufacturing jobs in as little as six months.</p> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:03:43 +0000 Liz Reid 27683 at http://wesa.fm From House Democrat, A Call For Divorce Equality http://wesa.fm/post/house-democrat-call-divorce-equality <p>It turns out that legally ending a same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania is just as impossible as legally entering one.<br /><br />In a co-sponsorship memo floated last week, Rep. Mike Schlossberg (D-Lehigh) said he plans to fix what he called “the marriage trap” — a limbo land reserved for same-sex couples who, after marrying in one of the 17 states (or the District of Columbia), move to Pennsylvania, decide to split up, and can’t legally end the union.<br /> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 11:45:57 +0000 Mary Wilson 27650 at http://wesa.fm Guzzardi Wins Ballot Challenge; Appeal Expected http://wesa.fm/post/guzzardi-wins-ballot-challenge-appeal-expected <p>A Commonwealth Court judge has ruled Bob Guzzardi will remain on the Republican gubernatorial primary ballot as Gov. Tom Corbett’s only challenger.<br /><br />The state GOP’s general counsel, Lawrence Tabas, who argued against Guzzardi’s nominating petitions, said he’ll “absolutely” file an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.<br /><br />“I’ll be prompt,” Tabas said.<br /> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 11:40:17 +0000 Mary Wilson 27649 at http://wesa.fm For Peduto, Better Government Means Open Government http://wesa.fm/post/peduto-better-government-means-open-government <p></p><p><em><strong>Peduto's 100 Days:</strong> Wednesday marks Mayor Bill Peduto’s 100th day in office, so we’re introducing an occasional series looking at the new administration’s progress toward promises made by candidate Peduto.</em></p><p align="center"><strong><em>* * *</em></strong></p><p>When Mayor Bill Peduto was a City Councilman representing District 8, he went back to school to get a master’s degree in public policy and management.</p> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 11:27:48 +0000 Liz Reid 27616 at http://wesa.fm For Peduto, Better Government Means Open Government Tavern Gaming Glitch May Have Cooled Expansion Efforts http://wesa.fm/post/tavern-gaming-glitch-may-have-cooled-expansion-efforts <p>State lawmakers may be skittish about bridging budget gaps with any more expansions of gambling, due to a so-far failed attempt to bring in big bucks from tavern gambling.<br /><br />Late last year, as state coffers were looking empty, lawmakers floated ideas of expanding gambling to fill shortfalls.<br /> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 16:02:09 +0000 Mary Wilson 27598 at http://wesa.fm Obama, Biden To Speak In Oakdale Wednesday http://wesa.fm/post/obama-biden-speak-oakdale-wednesday <p>The president and vice president will be in western Pennsylvania on Wednesday to talk about job training.<br /><br />President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are scheduled to speak at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center in Oakdale on "jobs-driven skills training in a 21st century economy."<br /><br />The visit was originally scheduled to be held at Leetsdale about 15 miles away, but officials said the community college could better accommodate the event.<br /> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:45:57 +0000 The Associated Press 27593 at http://wesa.fm Land Bank Legislation Passes in Pittsburgh City Council http://wesa.fm/post/land-bank-legislation-passes-pittsburgh-city-council <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">After three months of community meetings, <a href="http://wesa.fm/post/concerns-about-land-bank-legislation-aired-city-council">disagreements</a>, and <a href="http://wesa.fm/post/city-councilors-oconnor-and-gross-lay-out-pittsburghs-new-land-bank-plan">compromises</a>, Pittsburgh City Council passed Councilwoman Deb Gross’s land bank legislation Monday morning.</span></p><p>Councilmen Ricky Burgess and Daniel Lavelle have had the greatest concerns about the land bank proposal, but both voted in favor of the legislation.</p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 11:50:51 +0000 Liz Reid 27555 at http://wesa.fm Land Bank Legislation Passes in Pittsburgh City Council Sen Teplitz: Get Out and Stay Out of Act 47 http://wesa.fm/post/sen-teplitz-get-out-and-stay-out-act-47 <p>Act 47 was introduced by the Pennsylvania state legislature in 1987 as a means of helping financially distressed cities recover and avoid bankruptcy. 27 years later, several municipalities that were placed under Act 47 oversight have never rebounded.</p><p>State Senator Rob Teplitz (D – Dauphin) hopes stronger legislation would help these municipalities have their distressed status removed, while at the same time preventing other municipalities from entering Act 47.</p> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 19:26:51 +0000 Haldan Kirsch 27552 at http://wesa.fm Pittsburgh City Council Says Ban On Blood Donations From Gay Men Is Discriminatory http://wesa.fm/post/pittsburgh-city-council-says-ban-blood-donations-gay-men-discriminatory <p>Pittsburgher Dan Burda’s partner of eight years, Rohn, passed away from a heart attack this year. Like many families of the recently deceased, Burda and his loved ones wanted to donate Rohn’s skin, tissue and organs to someone who needed them.</p><p>But they were not allowed to do that because of a long-standing FDA ban on such donations from any man who has had sex with a man.</p> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 18:51:45 +0000 Liz Reid 27549 at http://wesa.fm Pittsburgh City Council Says Ban On Blood Donations From Gay Men Is Discriminatory State Senate Passes 'Kelsey Smith Act' http://wesa.fm/post/state-senate-passes-kelsey-smith-act <p>The Pennsylvania Senate Tuesday approved a measure that could change the way law enforcement officials use cell phones to locate missing people.</p><p>The legislation, introduced by Sen. Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny/Butler) would require wireless providers to locate the cell phones of missing people at the request of police, bypassing the subpoena process.</p><p>Vulakovich said the bill would allow police to get the information they need almost immediately.</p> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Michael Lynch 27277 at http://wesa.fm Groups Mobilize Against Senate Proposal To Eliminate School Property Taxes http://wesa.fm/post/groups-mobilize-against-senate-proposal-eliminate-school-property-taxes <p>Groups opposed to a plan to eliminate school property taxes are mobilizing in an effort to neutralize a looming threat.<br /><br />The spokesman for the Republican Senator Majority Leader says some kind of response to property tax concerns is planned for this spring.<br /><br />One plan would replace the property tax levied by school districts with higher sales and personal income taxes.<br /><br />Sharon Ward, head of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, said that would do more harm than good in the eyes of businesses, schools, and advocates for the poor.<br /> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Mary Wilson 27515 at http://wesa.fm New Way to Pay for Affordable Housing Proposed http://wesa.fm/post/new-way-pay-affordable-housing-proposed <p>Sen. John Blake has purposed a new way of paying for the housing trust fund which is intended to pay to repair and build affordable houses across Pennsylvania, except it has no money.</p><p>Act 105 was passed in 2010, but the counties have had a hard time using its provisions due to the lack of funds. Currently payments are to come from Marcellus Shale impact fee, but Blake says it is never getting there. Instead, he wants to add fees to real estate related legal filings.</p> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 23:09:59 +0000 Jess Lasky 27049 at http://wesa.fm County Executive Fitzgerald Unveils New Alerts System http://wesa.fm/post/county-executive-fitzgerald-unveils-new-alerts-system <p></p><p>Reporters and county officials watched in anticipation as Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald slowly typed his name and phone number onto a giant computer screen in his office Thursday morning.</p><p>After creating an account, a phone rang in the middle of the table, and a look of relief permeated Fitzgerald’s face.</p><p>That was the first notification from the newly unveiled Allegheny Alerts system.</p> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 17:08:03 +0000 Julian Routh 27354 at http://wesa.fm County Executive Fitzgerald Unveils New Alerts System State Legislation Could Cause $2.6 Billion in Cuts to Education Funding Over the Next 5 Years http://wesa.fm/post/state-legislation-could-cause-26-billion-cuts-education-funding-over-next-5-years <p>Opponents of a state bill that would replace school property taxes with a sales tax have voiced their concerns for small businesses and the poor should the bill be passed. According to an analysis by the PA Independent Fiscal Office, this bill would cause $2.6 billion in cuts to funding for school districts in the next five years.</p><p>According to PA Education Law Center Executive Director Rhonda Brownstein, the possible effects of this bill would be devastating to school districts across the state.</p> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 17:06:23 +0000 Haldan Kirsch 27286 at http://wesa.fm Expected to Pass This Week, Bill Will Broaden Scope of Mandated Reporters http://wesa.fm/post/expected-pass-week-bill-will-broaden-scope-mandated-reporters <p>A plethora of legislation was proposed in the aftermath of the Sandusky Penn State sex abuse case. One of the most comprehensive bills is expected to pass this week.</p><p>Senate Bill 21 will broaden the scope of mandated reporters when it comes to child abuse – and hold them more accountable.</p><p>Mandated reporters are those who have contact with children, anyone from a public library employee to clergy to a medical examiner. These reporters would be required to alert law enforcement when they suspect a child is being abused.</p> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 22:24:48 +0000 Erika Beras 27280 at http://wesa.fm Education the Focus of PA Governor Debate http://wesa.fm/post/education-focus-pa-governor-debate <p></p><p></p><p>Being “pro-recess” earned businessman and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf the biggest laugh of the night, but it was PA Treasurer Rob McCord, who is also running in the May 20 primary, who picked up the widest applause when he stepped to the microphone in Tuesday’s debate and simply said, “I’d kill ‘em” to the question of what each candidate would do with the high-stakes Keystone Exams.</p> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 03:48:30 +0000 Mark Nootbaar 27246 at http://wesa.fm Education the Focus of PA Governor Debate Group Scores Dems For Governor On Gun Control Issues http://wesa.fm/post/group-scores-dems-governor-gun-control-issues <p>It’s the one survey in the past two months that Tom Wolf isn’t winning: CeaseFirePA’s “voter guide,” a report of the gubernatorial candidates positions on nearly 20 different gun safety measures and an accompanying assessment.<br /><br />Democratic candidates Katie McGinty and Allyson Schwartz are 100 percent aligned with CeaseFirePA’s positions. Rob McCord scored 84 percent, and Wolf scored 79 percent.<br /><br />The two Republican candidates didn’t respond to the survey.<br /> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 11:39:18 +0000 Mary Wilson 27192 at http://wesa.fm Senate To Consider Cash Gift Ban As A 'First Step' http://wesa.fm/post/senate-consider-cash-gift-ban-first-step <p>The state Senate will vote on a proposal to restrict cash gifts to public officials, a measure that aims to change state law, not just the rules that govern the Senate or the House.<br /> Mon, 07 Apr 2014 21:26:12 +0000 Mary Wilson 27168 at http://wesa.fm April Is Limb Loss Awareness Month http://wesa.fm/post/april-limb-loss-awareness-month <p>Claire Matzie was born without her right hand and has since lost the majority of that arm. She’s gone through three different prosthetic limbs since she her birth 12 years ago, but decided to stop wearing them in 2011.</p><p>She said they got in the way.</p><p>“[She’s] my inspiration; the love of my life,” Claire’s father, state Rep. Rob Matzie (D-Beaver/Allegheny), said before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives last week.</p><p>The House unanimously approved a resolution proposed by Matzie that designates April 2014 as “Limb Loss Awareness Month.”</p> Mon, 07 Apr 2014 18:51:02 +0000 Michael Lynch 27140 at http://wesa.fm Mental Healthcare Overhaul Would Give Family and Caregivers More Say in Treatment http://wesa.fm/post/mental-healthcare-overhaul-would-give-family-and-caregivers-more-say-treatment <p></p><p>U.S. Rep.Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, <a href="http://wesa.fm/post/rep-murphy-introduces-bill-overhaul-federal-mental-health-system">recently proposed legislation</a> to overhaul the nation's mental health care system.</p><p>He wants to increase accessibility to care while expanding the use of involuntary treatment. This would better allow family members and caregivers to intervene in cases involving the severely mentally ill.</p><p>The bill, called the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act has received mixed reviews. Last Thursday the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee heard testimony on the legislation.</p><p>Congressman Murphy said there are roughly 10 million people in the US who suffer from severe mental illness and about half of them are not even aware that they have a problem.&nbsp;</p><p> Mon, 07 Apr 2014 18:12:25 +0000 Essential Pittsburgh 27150 at http://wesa.fm Mental Healthcare Overhaul Would Give Family and Caregivers More Say in Treatment