An-Li Herring

Government & Accountability Reporter

An-Li became a reporter while completing her law degree at Stanford. In law school, she wrote about housing affordability, criminal justice and economic development, among other topics. She also served as the intern to NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg in Washington, DC, helping Ms. Totenberg to cover the U.S. Supreme Court and other legal matters. Originally from Pittsburgh, An-Li interned with the investigations team at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette before joining 90.5 WESA in August 2017.

She can be reached at 412-315-6767 or at aherring@wesa.fm.

Edwards4Pgh

Republican Shannon Edwards, 33, announced Wednesday that she’s seeking her party's nomination to take on Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle in a district that includes the city of Pittsburgh and surrounding neighborhoods.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The new congressional map issued by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Monday shifts Democrat Conor Lamb — who lives in Mt. Lebanon and is running in the special election to fill the vacant seat in the current 18th District — into a new district and potentially a competitive primary.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Attorney Conor Lamb (D-Mt. Lebanon) and state Rep. Rick Saccone (R-Elizabeth) largely stuck to their respective messages at Monday's first televised debate in the race to fill the vacant seat in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District south of Pittsburgh.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

In the aftermath of this week’s high school shooting in Florida, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) is calling for improved federal background checks for firearms sales.

In a Facebook post Thursday, Toomey said he and his staff will “continue to reach out to senators on both sides of the aisle to see where progress can be made” on the issue.

Keith Srakocic / AP


In the special election to fill the vacant seat in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District south of Pittsburgh, 33-year-old Democratic candidate Conor Lamb (Mt. Lebanon) has presented himself as part of a new generation of leaders, and he says voters are excited for the change he represents.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

The city of Pittsburgh is continuing its battle at the Pennsylvania Supreme Court over two laws that could affect local workers, but that lower courts have so far blocked.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The March 13 special election to fill the vacant seat in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District south of Pittsburgh is widely viewed as a bellwether for the midterm elections later this year, and that’s due in part to candidate Rick Saccone’s (R-Elizabeth) vocal support for President Donald Trump.

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.

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.

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.

Courtesy of Friends of Austin Davis

Democrat Austin Davis is the new state representative for Pennsylvania’s 35th House District in the Mon Valley. On Tuesday, Davis defeated Republican Fawn Walker Montgomery to fill the seat vacated by Democrat Marc Gergely last fall.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania state Rep. Rick Saccone (R - Elizabeth) and attorney Conor Lamb (D - Mt. Lebanon) are running in the March 13 special election to complete the rest of former Congressman Tim Murphy’s (R - Upper St. Clair) term in office.

Courtesy of Friends for Austin Davis and Committee to Elect V. Fawn Walker

 

On Tuesday, voters in the Mon Valley will choose a new representative for Pennsylvania’s 35th Legislative District. Democrat Austin Davis, an aide to Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, is competing against Republican Fawn Walker Montgomery, a former member of the McKeesport City Council.

Marc Levy / AP

 

UPDATED: 6:08 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018

The number of inmates in Pennsylvania's prison system is continuing to decline, with the population last year falling by about 860 prisoners to fewer than 48,500.

The Wolf administration said Monday the 2017 drop represents the fourth straight year that the total inmate population has gone down. Administration officials call last year's decrease the largest on record.

Pennsylvania ended last year with about 3,300 fewer inmates than five years earlier.

David Goldman / AP

The City of Pittsburgh has agreed to pay a $5.5 million settlement to Leon Ford, who was shot and paralyzed by Pittsburgh Police at a traffic stop in 2012.

National attention is increasingly turning to the special election to replace former U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, and the contest is poised to become the center of the political world Thursday, when President Donald Trump is expected to appear in North Fayette, in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, with Republican candidate Rick Saccone.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Two Philadelphia men sued Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation this week for automatically suspending their driver’s licenses when they were convicted of minor drug offenses.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

This week, 38 new trial judges in Pennsylvania are taking a key step on their way to the bench. As required by court rules, they have convened at Penn State University to complete a seven-day course of study designed specifically for first-time trial judges, often called “new judge school.”

Brookings Institution

Released this week, The New Localism argues that cities and their surrounding communities have become the country’s problem solvers, especially as state and federal governments fail to act. In the book, co-authors Bruce Katz and Jeremy Nowak examine how local leaders are tackling issues ranging from economic and social inequities to environmental sustainability.

90.5 WESA’s An-Li Herring spoke with Katz about how Pittsburgh fits his model.

 

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA


  Fourteen years after entering Act 47, the city of Pittsburgh appears to be very close to exiting the program, which places financially distressed municipalities under state oversight.

Ben Finley / AP

In a story that has drawn national attention, Virginia chose a member of its House of Delegates by randomly picking the name of a candidate Thursday.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Bill Peduto marked the beginning of his second term as mayor of Pittsburgh at an inauguration ceremony at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland Wednesday. In a speech, he emphasized his goal to make Pittsburgh “a city for all” that encourages economic development while also preserving existing communities.

While economic growth has come with concerns about housing affordability and access to jobs and good schools, Peduto said, the city’s resiliency with the rise and fall of the steel industry shows it has the capacity to solve these problems.

Frederic Bisson / Flickr

Starting this year, neighborhoods throughout Pittsburgh are expected to get more surveillance cameras and gunshot detection devices, also known as ShotSpotter.

 

The city’s 2018 budget includes funding for a 30 percent expansion of an existing camera network over the next three years, and there are plans to deploy ShotSpotter over an additional 14.5 square miles.

 

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council will bid farewell to two of its own Tuesday. Council member Natalia Rudiak is stepping down after deciding not to run for a third term, and Council member Dan Gilman is leaving to become chief of staff to Mayor Bill Peduto.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Loretta Kinger started going to the Jewish Community Center, or JCC, in Squirrel Hill 17 years ago. Her sister had recently died, after battling cancer for just two months, and Kinger, 85, said she didn’t know where to go.

 

That all changed at the JCC, where Kinger now has lunch nearly every day.

 

“It gives you a chance to be social with other people. You make a lot of friends. And it makes you feel like you belong someplace,” Kinger said.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

A Pittsburgh police officer is under investigation for using a taser on a downtown pizza shop employee allegedly as a joke in October.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

 

When 22-year-old Kristian Trump Goerman died of a drug overdose in January, she left behind two young children. Trump Goerman had long battled an opioid addiction, and child welfare officials had removed 4-year-old Cameron and 1-year-old Layla May from her care about a year before her death.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

 

Many observers have found loopholes in the Republican tax bill passed by the Senate and House late Tuesday and into early Wednesday. Some provisions were even found to violate budget rules and were changed last minute. University of Pittsburgh law professor Tony Infanti found that one loophole could also leave targets of sexual misconduct vulnerable. Infanti discussed the provision with 90.5 WESA's An-Li Herring.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Elevated levels of violent crime in the region prompted Pittsburgh’s FBI field office to launch a Violent Crimes Task Force this week. Federal data show that Pittsburgh and surrounding counties are experiencing higher levels of violent crime, on average, than the rest of the state and country.

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