Tom Wolf

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

For the first time in Governor Tom Wolf’s tenure, he has signed a budget on time. And after three years of protracted negotiations, the election year plan is finished well ahead of its June 30th deadline.

The modest, compromise measure spends $32.7 billion—a roughly two percent increase over last year.

New spending goes mostly to public schools, pensions, prisons and human services—including about $800 million in one-time funding for Medicaid that was moved off-budget, which will have to be filled in again next year.

Republicans cheered the lack of new taxes.

$32.7B Spending Plan Heads To Pennsylvania Governor's Desk

Jun 22, 2018
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The main appropriations bill in a $32.7 billion spending package for Pennsylvania's approaching fiscal year is heading to Gov. Tom Wolf's desk, more than a week early.

Cornelia Wolf, Mother of Pennsylvania Governor, Dies At 94

Jun 21, 2018
Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

The mother of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has died at age 94.

The governor's office announced Cornelia Rohlman Westerman Wolf died Thursday at her home in Mount Wolf.

A statement from the governor says his mother's strength anchored their family and she will be deeply missed.

Wolf's office says arrangements are pending.

(Photo credit: Governor Tom Wolf/flickr)

Both photos by Matt Rourke / AP

A fundraising visit by Vice President Mike Pence has sparked a health care debate in Pennsylvania's race for governor.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner supports raising Pennsylvania’s minimum wage above $7.25 an hour, but not as high as Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has proposed.

During a campaign stop in Robinson Friday, he said Wolf’s proposal to increase it to $12 an hour goes too far.

Instead, Wagner favors a wage in the $8.75 to $9.50 range. At that level, Wagner said, there’s less risk that employers in the service sector will replace workers with automation.

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.

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."

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.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Governor Tom Wolf has signed an executive order to change certain hiring practices in select state government jobs, in an effort to cut down on gender-based wage discrimination.

House OKs Bill To Relax Rules For Shallow Gas, Oil Drilling

Jun 6, 2018
Joe Ulrich / WITF

A Republican bill to relax regulations on the shallow oil and gas drilling that has gone on in Pennsylvania for more than a century passed the state House Tuesday despite firm opposition from Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.

The GOP-majority chamber voted 111-84 for a proposal that covers permits, rules for wells, spills and enforcement for drilling that does not include the much deeper wells tapping into the Marcellus Shale formation.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

The current Pennsylvania budget, which ends June 30, was more than four months late in being completed. Two years earlier, in Gov. Tom Wolf’s first year in office, the budget impasse lasted nearly nine months.

In February, Wolf unveiled a $33 billion spending plan for fiscal year 2019. That’s a $1 billion increase, or 3 percent over the current budget. 

There’s been little political rancor over the budget this year, compared to last when the governor and legislature were wrestling with a $2 billion deficit.

Scott Wagner Leaves Senate, Vowing To Work To Fix PA's Problems

Jun 4, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Scott Wagner, who once warned that he would carry a baseball bat into Pennsylvania's Senate to get things done, bid farewell Monday to the institution that he had barged into as a write-in candidate four years earlier to concentrate on his Republican campaign for governor.

Wagner, who will challenge Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's re-election bid in November, told the chamber's members in a 15-minute farewell speech that he had gone to the Senate to change the culture.

Now, he said, he can do more as governor.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania state government is heading into the final month of its fiscal year with stable tax collections as Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and the Republican-controlled Legislature prepare to assemble an election-year budget.

The Department of Revenue reported Friday that collections through 11 months for the state's main operating account were $31.5 billion, or about $121 million above estimate.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Several groups intent on raising Pennsylvania’s minimum wage are rallying in Harrisburg Thursday in an effort to nudge the General Assembly—once again—to consider raising pay for workers.

Every year of his tenure as governor, Democratic Governor Tom Wolf has proposed a wage increase above the federal $7.25 minimum.

It never made much progress—thanks largely to conservative lawmakers who argue the hike would drive out businesses.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Scott Wagner says he's resigning from his Senate seat on Monday to focus on the governor's race.

Wagner submitted his resignation letter on Wednesday to Senate President Joe Scarnati.

Wagner's spokesman Andrew Romeo says the senator realized the best way to "bring about the most change and do the most good for the commonwealth" is by devoting all of his time and energy to the election.

He will face Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, who is seeking a second, four-year term.

Matt Rourke / AP

With the commonwealth’s budget deadline a month away, negotiations haven’t begun in earnest.

But talks are ongoing behind the scenes—and that means a familiar tug-of-war between Democrats trying to bolster state programs, and Republicans determined to limit spending.

Centerpieces of Gov. Tom Wolf’s February budget proposal included funding hikes for education and services for the elderly and people with disabilities, plus new cash from a natural gas severance tax and fees for state police coverage.

Chris Knight / AP

Republican gubernatorial nominee Scott Wagner says he wants Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf to join him in a town hall-format appearance in each of Pennsylvania's 67 counties before the November election, although Wolf's campaign is dismissing it as a "political gimmick."

Wolf's Fracking-Health Record Hammered By New Industry Opposition Group

May 25, 2018
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

A coalition of anti-fracking groups says Gov. Tom Wolf should pay more attention to the health impacts of fracking, and that he’s “turned his back” on people who say they’ve suffered from the state’s natural gas industry.

Kailey Love / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania drivers will be getting some relief from pockmarked roadways in the form of $180 million to fill in potholes and perform other work after the ravages of a tough winter.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

The General Assembly has passed a second version of a measure designed to fix a hole in Pennsylvania’s sex offender law.

The issue dates back to a state Supreme Court ruling last year.

Justices ruled the state couldn’t impose punishments on offenders whose crimes had happened before those penalties were enacted.

That had a potential side-effect of knocking more than 10 thousand offenders off the registry, according to state police.

Matt Rourke / AP

With the state House and Senate both back in Harrisburg, lawmakers are turning their attention to a number of gun control and school safety bills.

The effort comes in the wake of a Texas school shooting that killed ten last week—the nation’s largest since the Florida shooting that killed seventeen in February.

When House lawmakers finish up a series of public hearings on gun control, House GOP Spokesman Steve Miskin said a number of stalled bills will start moving—likely in the “first week or two in June.”

YouTube

The race for governor is only a few days in, but the negative ads are already starting.

Only minutes after Scott Wagner clinched the Republican nomination for governor, the Wolf campaign sent out a press release calling the York County Senator “the worst of Harrisburg.”

They also released an ad deriding Wagner as a bully, and included footage of various speeches in which he used violent-sounding metaphors.

Matt Rourke / AP

The state Auditor General is urging Governor Tom Wolf and the General Assembly to pump more money into the commonwealth’s child welfare services.

In the wake of a report his office released on child welfare last year, DePasquale has been repeatedly calling the system “broken.”

Now, he has issued his own series of recommendations for correcting a range of issues.

Matt Rourke / AP

Republican Scott Wagner will face off against Gov. Tom Wolf this fall for the top office in Harrisburg.

Seth Weing / AP

Eight medical schools, including the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, have been approved by the state to do clinical research on medical marijuana, Gov. Tom Wolf announced this week.

The move is an important one, advocates say, because of how federal drug laws have hindered research into the medical benefits of cannabis over the years.

The state’s Department of Health chose the schools as Certified Research Centers in a competitive process, said J.J. Abbott, a spokesperson for the governor.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Eight of Pennsylvania’s universities have received the go-ahead to start studying medical marijuana.

Governor Tom Wolf’s administration is billing the move as the commonwealth’s “first step towards clinical research” on the drug.

The eight medical universities and colleges in question are:

Gene J. Puskar / AP

City officials are acknowledging that representatives from Amazon visited the Steel City last month. Calling it a "real estate" visit, Mayor Bill Peduto said their one-day stopover included lots of questions about the amenities, housing and transit required for an estimated 50,000 employees.

Matt Rourke / AP

Of all the crowded races in Tuesday's primary election, perhaps none is odder than the one for lieutenant governor.

Usually, a sitting LG is in a pretty safe spot once primaries roll around.

But no less than four Democratic challengers are giving incumbent Mike Stack a run for his money.

For Stack, a former Democratic Senator from Philadelphia, the trouble seemed to really start with a press conference.

missjanetb / Flickr

The rate of maternal deaths has risen in the U.S. since 2000. Between 2014 and 2016, 51 Pennsylvania women died from complications due to pregnancy, and according to Gov. Tom Wolf, the current rate in Pennsylvania has doubled since 1994. 

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