News

Wolf Proposes Looser Licensing Rules For Barbers, Other Jobs

Jun 14, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania's governor wants to stop mandating professional licenses for 13 types of jobs, calling current regulations a barrier to employment.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf plans to release a study on Thursday of the state's professional licensure rules and proposals to improve them.

More than a million state residents currently hold professional licenses.

The report from Wolf's Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs says some licenses are valuable in setting standards and protecting consumers.

Matt Rourke / AP

Five months ahead of the general election, a new survey from Franklin and Marshall College shows Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf with a considerable lead over Republican challenger Scott Wagner.

F&M pollster Terry Madonna said in order to gage a governor’s likely reelection success, he often pits them against former incumbents.

At an equivalent point in his first term, former Democratic Governor Ed Rendell, who won reelection, was about even with Wolf.

Tom Corbett, a Republican who didn’t get a second term, polled well below.

Bebeto Matthews / AP

Local health and social justice experts say the recent criminalization of condom possession discourages sex workers from practicing safe sex and could lead to a broader public health problem.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

The Penguins and Saint Louis-based developer McCormack Baron Salazar are supposed to start construction late this year on the affordable housing component of the development of the old Civic Arena site.

Richard Drew / AP

The $85 billion merger between AT&T and Time Warner moved one step closer Tuesday after a federal judge ruled in favor of the two companies in an antitrust suit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Several advocacy groups are pulling their support for a redistricting bill making its way through the state legislature. On Tuesday, Republicans in the state Senate added an amendment to Senate Bill 22 that would transform the way state judges are elected in Pennsylvania.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

After hours of debate, the state Senate has amended a high-profile redistricting overhaul, and is on track to send it to the House Wednesday.

The bill has transformed dramatically since its inception—alienating some Democratic supporters along the way.

Marc Levy / AP

A renewed push for legislation to abolish Pennsylvania's statute of limitations in sex abuse cases will follow the publication of a sweeping grand jury report on allegations of child sexual abuse and cover-ups within six Roman Catholic dioceses around the state, a lawmaker said Tuesday.

Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, said he will be prepared to seek a vote in the state House of Representatives on legislation that carries provisions sought by victims.

Jacqueline Larma / AP

Democratic lawmakers are advocating a number of changes to Pennsylvania’s anti-discrimination laws.

The moves come in the wake of an allegedly racially-motivated incident at a York County Golf Course in late April.

Image courtesy of the August Wilson Center

The Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival is back this year, but don’t look for it on Penn Avenue. Instead, you’ll have to walk one block south to Liberty.

Allison Turrell / Flickr

The YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh and landlord of its Downtown location reached an agreement in federal bankruptcy court on Tuesday. The YMCA’s settlement payments will essentially subsidize the next tenant of the Market Square gym, which closed its doors June 8.

Angela Washko

The aesthetic of “The Game: The Game” couples lurid fluorescents with hazy shadows to create the same disjointed feeling of standing in a loud, dark bar.

While the player's character is femme-presenting, the other avatars are all men. The goal of the game is to navigate a bar that's been infiltrated by a group of so-called "pick-up artists."

Effects Of Supreme Court Voter Roll Decision Appear Limited

Jun 12, 2018
Jacquelyn Martin / AP

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling has cleared the way for states to take a tougher approach to maintaining their voter rolls, but will they?

Ohio plans to resume its process for removing inactive voters after it was affirmed in Monday's 5-4 ruling. It takes a particularly aggressive approach that appears to be an outlier among states.

Few appear eager to follow.

"Our law has been on the books. It hasn't changed, and it isn't changing," said Oklahoma Election Board spokesman Bryan Dean.

Adelina Lancianese / 90.5 WESA

There's a decades-old mystery underfoot in Downtown Pittsburgh: small tiles placed in busy intersections that decry the media and ponder resurrection.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania State University has received a $2.5 million grant for a transportation research program involving several other universities.

WJAC-TV reports Republican U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson announced the grant Monday.

The study will cover different modes of transportation, such as highways, rail and air. Its focus is "improving the durability and extending the life" of transportation infrastructure.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Few concrete details are leaking out of Senate lawmakers’ feverish negotiations on a sweeping bill to overhaul the commonwealth’s redistricting process.

Matt Rourke / AP

The state Auditor General is launching a review of Pennsylvania’s voting and registration process, following up on concerns Russians attempted to interfere in the 2016 elections.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said the review will focus on the security of the Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors—or SURE—system, which tracks registration data on the state and county level.

He noted, there’s no evidence foreign hackers successfully breached Pennsylvania’s voting and registration systems.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Autonomous vehicle operators will have a hand in shaping regulations that will govern how they test the technology on public roads. 

Googlemaps

The development company expected to demolish a historic Lawrenceville church has canceled its plans, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times. The paper reported on Friday afternoon that E Properties and Development will remove the demolition notice from Holy Family Church on 43rd Street.

*This post was updated on Friday, June 15, 2018 at 6:36 p.m.

 

Matt Rourke / AP

The speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives didn't look very far to find a new member of the board for the system of state-owned universities: he appointed himself.

Speaker Mike Turzai said Monday that he was honored to join the 20-member Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors.

The Allegheny County Republican says he wants to help ensure the schools are preparing students for jobs that are available and to help resist proposals to increase tuition, room or board.

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's election-year message to members of the business community revolved Monday around Pennsylvania's improved job growth and his accomplishments with a Republican-controlled Legislature.

Kiichiro Sato / AP

President Donald Trump rescinded his invitation to the Philadelphia Eagles this week after reports suggested only about 10 players of the 90-member, Super Bowl-winning squad were planning to attend. The President tied the decision to past criticism of players who protested police brutality and harsh treatment of African Americans by kneeling during the "National Anthem."

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Every day, around 100 people visit a special check-in booth in a corner of Pittsburgh International Airport. They aren’t there to pick up tickets, and they don’t have any luggage.

World War II-Era Planes To Touch Down In Johnstown

Jun 11, 2018
Ross D. Franklin / AP

The deep, ominous rumble of a Boeing B-29 Superfortress heavy bomber's four engines, a sound that echoed throughout the Pacific Ocean during World War II, was heard again on Monday in the skies above Richland Township.

"Fifi," one of only two B-29 Superfortresses in the world that still fly, touched down on Monday afternoon at John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport, as did two other World War II-era aircraft belonging to the Commemorative Air Force, a Texas-based nonprofit dedicated to preserving and showing historical aircraft at airshows.

Elaine Effort / 90.5 WESA

Around six months ago, during a West End community meeting hosted by Black Women for Positive Change, Pittsburgh chapter president Diane Powell heard a frustration she knew how to tackle. 

Report On Pennsylvania Priest Abuse To Be Most Extensive Yet

Jun 11, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

The results of a lengthy probe into the handling of sexual abuse claims by Roman Catholic dioceses throughout Pennsylvania, which victim advocates say will be the biggest and most exhaustive ever by a U.S. state, could be made public within weeks.

A statewide grand jury spent nearly two years looking into the abuse scandal, and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has said he plans to address the panel's findings by the end of June.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Allegra Battle / 90.5 WESA

Nationwide, the natural hair community is growing. Between 2011 and 2016, sales of hair straighteners --  also known as relaxers -- fell 31 percent. Relaxers are made up of chemicals that flatten the natural kinks in many African-Americans’ hair, and Pittsburgh’s natural hair community is seeing an increase in new membership too.

Office of the Governor

Pennsylvania's minimum wage has been stagnant at the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour for the last 10 years, which is at least $1 less than every neighboring state.

Thein Zaw / AP

For a long time, scientists thought that the flu virus degraded in humid conditions and that was the reason most people don’t catch it in the summer.

University of Pittsburgh microbiologist Seema Lakdawala and collaborators devised an experiment to determine how mucus enables the airborne transmission of H1N1, which caused the 2009 swine flu pandemic, and found that it survived in several types of environments. Dry, moist – it didn’t matter.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Rodney McCoy has lived on Hillcrest Street, across from three vacant lots, since 2000. After putting away the weed whacker he uses to clip his grass, he said Garfield has changed a lot.

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