PA's Congressional Districts Will Have One Map To Rule Them All... If The Latest Court Ruling Stands

Feb 23, 2018

The boundaries of Pennsylvania’s congressional districts are still in contention this week as GOP leaders file suit to block a map enforced by the state Supreme Court. Three Republican-appointed federal judges on Friday agreed to hear the case.

Joining us to explain the many maps and how they will affect 2018 elections are reporters Chris Potter of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, WHYY's Lindsay Lazarski and 90.5 WESA's An-Li Herring.

Coming up...

Every winter, the city gets thousands of requests for pothole repairs, prompting Pittsburgh Public Works crews to work around the clock -- weather permitting. City spokesperson Tim McNulty said they've repaired roughly 1,700 potholes in the last 30 days alone. WESA's Sarah Kovash explains why it's been an especially difficult year

Next up...

The storytelling project Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents has been nominated for a national GLAAD award recognizing outstanding blogs. GLAAD, which honors work in film, television and various kinds of reporting, including blogs, was formed 32 years ago to "rewrite the script for LGBTQ acceptance and tackle tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change."

The blog's founder, Sue Kerr, says the honor was a welcome surprise.

Later in the program...

Several Pittsburgh area schools and their students have been the target of threats in recent weeks, including Greater Latrobe, Moon Area, North Allegheny, Butler Area, Franklin Regional, Gateway, Pittsburgh Public and others.

Whether made via social media or found among student property, the local increase in threats follows a nationwide trend, especially since the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead and many others injured.

Post-Gazette education reporter Liz Behrman reports several local teens and college students are speaking out about gun violence through demonstrations and discussion. A March for Our Lives event is planned for next month.

And finally...

Post-Gazette review found some district judges are jailing people over unpaid fines, despite U.S. Supreme Court and state court precedents that forbid the government from locking up defendants too poor to pay. District judges are only supposed to jail defendants who can afford the fines and fees associated with being convicted of a crime.

According to the ACLU:

"Nearly two centuries ago, the United States formally abolished the incarceration of people who failed to pay off debts. Yet, recent years have witnessed the rise of modern-day debtors’ prisons — the arrest and jailing of poor people for failure to pay legal debts they can never hope to afford, through criminal justice procedures that violate their most basic rights.”

Reporters Kate Giammarise and Chris Huffaker tell the stories of locals caught in the system. 

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program. Each week, reporters, editors and storytellers join veteran journalist and host Kevin Gavin to take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here.