John Micek

Evan Vucci / AP

The Confluence – where the news comes together is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program .

Each week reporters, editors and bloggers join veteran journalist, and host, Kevin Gavin. They’ll go behind the headlines taking an in-depth look at the stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

Topics for this week include a discussion of the Marcellus Shale Insight conference which took place at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. We'll try to discover what issues are on the agenda for state lawmakers as they return to Harrisburg. Looking ahead we'll discover what Pittsburgh-related items are on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.

With Budget Impasse Ending, What's Next?

Mar 24, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP Images

After battling the legislature for nearly nine months, what finally convinced Governor Wolf to allow the the supplemental budget to close out Fiscal Year 2015-16? And while the state budget crisis is over for now, what will happen between now and the next budget deadline on July 1? We'll talk with John Micek, editorial and opinion pages editor for the Harrisburg Patriot-News and PennLive.

Essential Pittsburgh's 2015 Year In Review

Dec 30, 2015
Brian Donovan / flickr

It's a year in review special "2015: Looking Back, Looking Ahead" as we look back at the significant events that have shaped our lives in the past year and what we'll have to look forward to in 2016. We'll look at the top local stories with Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Chris Potter, the big state and regional stories with Capitol Correspondent Mary Wilson and Harrisburg Patriot News and Penn Live Opinions editor John Micek, and the national and world scene with award winning Post-Gazette columnist Tony Norman.  

What It Will Take To Remove Kathleen Kane

Oct 27, 2015
Matt Rourke / AP Images

The Senate planned to read on the chamber floor the resolution to create a special committee to make the first moves against embattled Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane. Where does the process go from here? We'll talk with John Micek, Opinions Editor for Penn Live/Patriot News in Harrisburg.

Governor Tom Wolf / flickr

The deadline for the Pennsylvania state budget is fast approaching. Governor Wolf’s administration is assuring tax payers and state workers failure to meet the deadline will not affect them. Will the governor and state lawmakers be able to agree on a budget on time? State Senator Jay Costa provides his insight on the future of budget discussions. 

Costa believes some of his colleagues are responsible for the delay:

"I am anticipating a late budget and it is largely because the party on the other side has refused to allow the governor to dissipate and to respect and honor the concessions that he's made in this process. They've been significant and they've moved the ball forward but unfortunately you've got some leaders who are simply hell bent on trying to force the governor to veto his budget." - State Senator Jay Costa

Also in the program, Promised Beginnings is an offshoot of Safer Tougher Pittsburgh, aiming to educate parents of young children on public safety.

Ken / Flickr

Harrisburg was the first city to face a challenge to its gun laws under a new Pennsylvania law targeting gun measures.

It comes from a gun rights group representing a state police corporal. City officials have been bracing for lawsuits in the wake of Governor Corbett's signing of legislation that allows gun owner groups to challenge local ordinances. 

And now, Pittsburgh faces a lawsuit on its own that has emerged from the National Rifle Association. Patriot News editorial page editor John Micek offers his analysis of the issue.

According to Micek, the community "lost and stolen" ordinances have been challenged by gun-rights advocates in part because they feel the Commonwealth should avoid a “patchwork” approach to gun legislation, wherein gun ordinances vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction -- even neighboring ones.

But at the same time, Micek says that the state supreme court has, in some cases, argued that municipalities should have the right to specify their own gun ordinances.

What Governor-elect Wolf Faces in 2015

Jan 2, 2015
Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Patriot News and Penn Live editorial and opinion page editor John Micek joins us to look back at a year that saw the election of a new governor in Pennsylvania.

When Democrat Tom Wolf takes over for Tom Corbett this month, he will face a host of challenges as he tackles an ambitious agenda.

Micek says that the election of Wolf was definitely the biggest political story of 2014 for the Commonwealth; the Democrat’s win broke with Pennsylvania’s longstanding “eight-year rule” by forestalling a second term for Tom Corbett. When Wolf takes office later this month, among his biggest challenges will be a statewide budget deficit of around 2 billion dollars.

Elizabeth Thomsen / via Flickr Creative Commons

 It's been a busy week in Harrisburg, PennLive and Patriot-News editorial and opinions Editor John Micek joins us to lay it all out.

Topics include: the eight former and current state officials alleged to be involved in an exchange of hundreds of racy emails using state computers, calls for protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Pennsylvanians and the Senate passing legislation to legalize certain kinds of marijuana.

Pennsylvania House of Representatives /

Pennsylvania's first openly gay Republican legislator, State Rep. Mike Fleck, says he still will appear on the ballot in November's general election, even though he lost the Republican nomination in the primary.

John Micek, long-time Capitol reporter and now editor of the editorial and opinion pages for the Patriot-News and PennLive, explained that this is situation for Fleck is very unusual. When asked to rank it on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest, Micek ranked it a 12. 

"This is one of the great stories to come out of Election Day 2014, Primary Day 2014," he said. "Ironically, the same day that, you know, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones, here in Harrisburg, struck down Pennsylvania's Defense of Marriage Law. It was not an irony that went unobserved by a lot of people."

Some people did not even realize that someone could be on the Republican ballot and win the primary for the Democratic party as a write-in.

When "Silly Remarks" Become Landmarks: The Gettysburg Address 150 Years Later

Nov 19, 2013
Alexander Gardner / Wikipedia

150 years ago President Abraham Lincoln stood in Gettysburg, PA, at the site of one of the most important battles of the American Civil War to consecrate a cemetery for those who died for the Union cause. Lincoln’s speech was brief but had a lasting historical impact.

In the new book titled, The Greatest Speech Ever: The Remarkable Story of Abraham Lincoln and His Gettysburg Address, Judge James L. Cotton, Jr. looks at the influence Lincoln's famous words.

“The Gettysburg Address has just as much meaning and relevance today as it did 150 years ago,” says Cotton.

But he says the address received little appreciation in Lincoln’s lifetime.

The Retraction Heard 'Round the World

Tim Lambert / WITF

In the wake of Governor Corbett’s budget signing and the Supreme Court’s overturn of the Defense of Marriage Act, John Micek Opinions Editor of the Harrisburg Patriot-News explains the many pressing issues at the state level. 

90.5 WESA

Following a “bad weekend” with the collapse of his agenda, Governor Tom Corbett signed a nearly $29 billion state budget Sunday night.  Controversial issues including liquor privatization and allocations for transportation funding remain in the Legislature until the fall, prompting a close examination of these pressing topics and the motivations behind both parties in both the House and Senate.