Katie Meyer

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.

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.

Matt Rourke / AP

Top Senate republicans are refusing to hand over congressional district data to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Matt Rourke / AP

A week into the three-week period the state Supreme Court allotted lawmakers to redraw Pennsylvania’s congressional maps, not much concrete progress has been made.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP

A statewide audit has found a number of school districts across Pennsylvania have employed bus drivers that should be banned from the job—and still more have drivers that aren’t properly cleared.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said the problem may be a communication breakdown between school districts and the bus companies they contract with.

His office’s report found 10 bus drivers whose criminal convictions should have barred them from their jobs. One had a felony assault charge.

Emily Previti / Keystone Crossroads

After a year marked by lower-than expected income and intractable budget problems, Pennsylvania’s finances appear to be on an upswing. 

Heather Ainsworth / AP

To date, Pennsylvania is earning significantly more money than expected from bids on its new mini-casino licenses.

Two winning bids have been submitted so far.

Penn National spent just over $50 million to develop a spot in York County two weeks ago — and Stadium Casino LLC followed this week with a more-than $40 million bid to build in Westmoreland County.

With eight bids to go, the state has already made $90 million of the $100 million it earmarked in the state budget.

Marc Levy / AP

Pennsylvania is being sued by five inmates for a blanket policy that keeps all death row prisoners in solitary confinement.

Matt Rourke / AP

The U.S. Agriculture Department is laying out its preferences for a new farm bill—a massive plan that accounts for almost a half-trillion dollars in spending over five years.

 

Secretary Sonny Perdue spent Wednesday in Pennsylvania, explaining the four-page skeleton proposal to groups that included farmers, state officials, and nutrition benefit recipients.  

 

Keystone Crossroads

In the wake of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision to declare the state’s congressional maps unconstitutional, lawmakers are starting the redrawing process before the Feb. 15 deadline.

Matt Rourke / AP

This could be the year Pennsylvanians vote whether to amend the constitution and shrink the state House of Representatives by a quarter.

Matt Rourke / AP

State House Majority Leader Dave Reed is officially running for congress—becoming the second top Republican in the chamber to seek higher office this year.

He’s aiming to grab the sprawling southwestern 9th District seat held by retiring republican Bill Shuster. But his decision comes at a time when that district—and all the others in Pennsylvania—are facing a somewhat uncertain future.

On Monday, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled the state congressional maps unconstitutional, and ordered the legislature and governor to submit new ones by Feb. 15.

Matt Rourke / AP

If anyone was wondering what Paul Mango—one of four Republicans vying to unseat Democratic Governor Tom Wolf—thinks about his namesake fruit, wonder no more.

David Ake / AP

The federal government's partial shutdown is in effect due to lawmakers’ inability to agree on—among other things—extending DACA, the program that protects young immigrants in the country illegally. 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Now that US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has approved Pennsylvania’s 13-year education-improvement plan, state officials are working on rolling out some changes.

The updated plan is designed to bring Pennsylvania into compliance with the Obama-era Every Student Succeeds Act. It’s the commonwealth’s first comprehensive update since 2002.

One key change? Broadening how school success is measured.

Carolyn Kaster / AP, file

Pennsylvania’s longest-serving state representative, Thomas Caltagirone, has confirmed he’s running for a 22nd term.

The news comes as he faces backlash for agreeing to settle a sexual harassment case against him for almost a quarter-million taxpayer dollars.

Wilfredo Lee / AP

The United States Supreme Court is slated to hear a case that could change how online sales are taxed.

Matt Rourke / AP

One of Governor Tom Wolf's potential gubernatorial rivals is taking issue with a 90-day emergency declaration he issued in response to mounting opioid overdose deaths.

Matt Rourke / AP

House Republican Leader Dave Reed, who has represented part of Indiana County for 15 years, is considering running for Congress.

Matt Rourke / AP

State lawmakers on the Agriculture Committee took advantage of the Farm Show’s presence in Harrisburg this week, and convened in a back room of the complex to discuss their top priorities with Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding.  

One of their primary focuses didn’t have to do with farming, exactly; rather, with making sure rural communities aren’t held back by bad internet access.

In cities and suburbs, high speed broadband internet is typically a given.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

As new details emerge on at least $1.5 million Pennsylvania has spent to settle sexual harassment cases over the last eight years, calls are increasing for the state to change its policies.

But a number of lawmaker are struggling to find solutions that will work for every situation.

The latest report—from the Associated Press—concerns a $900,000 sexual harassment settlement the state paid in a 2016 case that involved a Department of Revenue administrator.

Other recent stories have revealed similar settlements involving elected officials.

Matt Rourke / AP

In a rare interview, former Republican Governor Tom Corbett has returned to one of the issues that dogged him late in his lone term in office—the fallout from the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case.

Corbett told Radio PA “mistakes were made” in the handling of the situation.

In the aftermath of Corbett’s loss to Democrat Tom Wolf, it was a common theory that the Republican’s seat on the Penn State Board of Trustees had hurt him politically.

Matt Rourke / AP

The state Republican Party is starting its monthlong series of meetings with candidates for governor and other top offices to decide who it will endorse next month.

It’s still anyone’s guess who the party will back, or even whether members will tap a gubernatorial candidate at all.

In the meantime, endorsements are rolling in from other organizations across the state.

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture / AP

The Pennsylvania Farm Show opens this weekend and after months of planning, its centerpiece has been revealed — a sculpture made from 1,200 pounds of butter.

Pablo Martinez Montsivais / AP

Congressman Bill Shuster, a southwestern Pennsylvania Republican, has announced he’s not seeking reelection after 17 years in office.

His seat now joins a lengthening list of vacancies that could help make Pennsylvania one of the most important states in November’s congressional elections.

With Shuster’s departure, four of the commonwealth’s 13 Republican-held seats stand open.

Matt Slocum / AP

The beleaguered Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is under review for the second time in less than two years.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

A state judge has allowed a lawsuit over budgeting practices to proceed.

The suit alleges top elected officials have violated the Pennsylvania constitution in the last two years by passing budgets without fully funding them, and borrowing money to pay off a previous year’s debt.

Two years ago, a spending plan passed just after the June deadline, but it took lawmakers weeks to finalize how to pay for it.

The situation reoccurred last year, with the deadlock stretching four months.

Matt Rourke / AP

Lawmakers won’t truly start their 2018 session until late this month. But they’re already laying out legislative agendas for the new year.

Many of the top priorities aren’t much different from last year’s.

Democrats and Republicans all named job creation among their primary goals.

House Democratic Spokesman Bill Patton also said his caucus is particularly focused on raising the minimum wage.

“Pennsylvania is an outlier,” he said. “Certainly, in the northeastern part of the country, we are the only state that has not raised a minimum wage.”

Jennifer Peltz / AP

Pennsylvanians have started receiving identification cards to get medication through the commonwealth's new medical marijuana program.

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