Politics & Government

We cover politics and government with an eye to providing to voters clear, in-depth, nonpartisan information. 

GOP Senator Questions Governor’s Drive For New Voting Machines

Dec 6, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

A top Republican state senator is drafting legislation to prevent Gov. Tom Wolf from forcing Pennsylvania counties to buy new voting machines, a priority for the Democratic governor to ensure the machines are in place in time for the 2020 presidential election.

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

JR Block, the publisher of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, made a rare public appearance on Wednesday.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

In Pittsburgh's proposed 2019 Capital Budget, financial support to the Urban Redevelopment Authority would drop by more than $5 million dollars from this year, leaving the proposed total budget at $4.6 million. The line item slashed most dramatically is Economic Development and Housing, which would go from $5.3 million to $1.1 million.

Anne Danahy / WPSU

Patrick McDaniel  said elections in the United States have historically been fair and secure, but there are challenges.

McDaniel is the Weiss Professor of Information and Communications Technology at Penn State and one of the organizers of the Symposium on Election Security, held Monday at the Penn Stater Conference Center. At a time when the integrity of elections is in the headlines, the conference drew experts and national leaders in election security.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

As lawmakers in Washington debate a proposal to ease harsh federal sentencing guidelines and shorten some prison terms, Pennsylvania is being cited as a role model.


When a new legislative session starts in January, embattled lieutenant governor Mike Stack, who lost the Democratic primary, is exiting the Capitol.

Stack’s also leaving his state-provided residence. But his replacement, John Fetterman, isn’t moving in.

That decision might save the commonwealth a little money. But what’s even more important to the new lieutenant governor is how it looks politically.

Ever since Braddock Mayor John Fetterman won the Lieutenant Governor nomination, he and Wolf have presented themselves as a unit.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Though the new state legislative session hasn’t technically started, lawmakers are already filing memos for the bills they plan to sponsor.

One of the first issues on the agenda has already commanded lawmakers’ attention for nearly a year: redistricting.

Last winter, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled the state’s congressional map unfairly benefited Republicans and redrew it. The move inflamed a debate that had smoldered for a long time: that the map-drawing process has to be less political.


In a recent ruling, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said that employers are legally responsible for protecting workers’ sensitive information, and that companies who don’t safeguard personnel data can now be found negligent and become subject to financial losses.

Jason DeCrow / AP

This weekend, the commonwealth’s politicos are headed out-of-state for the annual Pennsylvania Society gala.

The expensive gathering is a longstanding tradition—and so is criticizing it.

Pennsylvania State Lawmaker Gets Probation In Bribery Case

Nov 30, 2018
PA House of Representatives

A state representative convicted of taking $4,000 in bribes from a confidential informant received probation Friday from a judge who was critical of the undercover investigation that snared her.

Democratic Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, of Philadelphia, was sentenced to 23 months of probation and ordered to repay the money to the state attorney general's office.

Lindsey Williams for PA

The top Republican in the Pennsylvania Senate is requesting Lindsey Williams provide records proving her eligibility to serve in Harrisburg next year.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania's Democratic governor is setting up a commission to look for ways to improve the state's redistricting process.

Pennsylvania Commits To New Voting Machines, Election Audit

Nov 29, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Gov. Tom Wolf's administration is settling a vote-counting lawsuit stemming from the 2016 presidential election, in part by affirming a commitment it made previously to push Pennsylvania's counties to buy voting systems that leave a verifiable paper trail by 2020.

Dan Gleiter/PennLive.com / AP

Former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane reported early Thursday to a suburban Philadelphia county jail to begin serving a sentence for leaking grand jury material and lying about it.

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

The Trump administration decided to roll back President Obama’s clean power plan in August. That plan was announced in 2015 and was called the “single most-important step” the United States had taken in fighting climate change.

Sabrina Bodon / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and local immigration advocates are crticizing a Trump administration proposal to further limit immigration to the United States.

Former PA Attorney General Kane Loses Bid To Delay Jail Sentence

Nov 28, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane on Wednesday lost an eleventh-hour request to be given more time before she must report to jail and begin serving a 10- to 23-month perjury and obstruction sentence.

Prosecutor: Ex-Attorney General Kane Should Go To Jail Now

Nov 27, 2018
Bill Fraser / Bucks County Courier Times/AP

Prosecutors in suburban Philadelphia on Tuesday asked a county judge to revoke former state Attorney General Kathleen Kane's bail so she will have to begin serving a 10- to 23-month perjury sentence.

The Montgomery County district attorney's office filed a revocation request that argued the 52-year-old Kane is not entitled to bail now that the state Supreme Court has declined to take up her appeal.

Jim Saska / Keystone Crossroads

The Democrat in a suburban Philadelphia state Senate contest is conceding in a race where she says she trails the six-term Republican incumbent by 74 votes.

Democrat Tina Davis said in a statement Tuesday that she's ending her campaign against Republican Sen. Robert Tomlinson.

Davis made the announcement a day after a judge rejected her lawsuit to order Bucks County officials to count more than 200 absentee ballots received after the legal deadline of Nov. 2.

Matt Rourke / AP

Former state Attorney General Kathleen Kane is likely headed to jail soon.

AP Photo

Every year, politicians raise hundreds of millions of dollars to finance their campaigns. But insiders know that the money is used for far more than competing in elections.

Casey Dangles Potential For A Presidential Run In 2020

Nov 26, 2018
Alex Brandon / AP

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey had barely won a third term in office before the Pennsylvania Democrat began saying he's open to the idea of running for president in 2020.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Officials say all Pittsburgh police officers will be equipped with body cameras by next year.

Aimee Obidzinski / University of Pittsburgh

For some, Thanksgiving means it’s time to discuss politics with distant relatives. It can be especially difficult to talk about those topics across generations. But a father-daughter team at the University of Pittsburgh is teaching a class meant to encourage more civil discourse between age groups.

Lawmakers, Judges Get To Unwrap A Raise This Holiday Season

Nov 21, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

A raise this holiday season will give Pennsylvania state lawmakers, judges and top executive branch officials an extra reason to celebrate.

Their salary increase for the year ahead will be 1.6 percent, a figure tied by state law to the year-over-year change in the consumer price index published by the U.S. Department of Labor for urban consumers in the mid-Atlantic region.

The bump takes effect Dec. 1 for lawmakers and Jan. 1, 2019, for judicial and executive branch officials. It is twice the size of last year's increase.


In the wake of the midterm election, Democrats are now looking ahead to 2019 when they will officially regain control in the U.S. House of Representatives. Pennsylvania Democrats will send nine representatives to Congress, up from their current five-member delegation. 90.5 WESA's Lucy Perkins sat down with Democratic Congressman Mike Doyle to talk about his legislative goals and what he thought about the election results.

Katie Meyer / 90.5 WESA

Though Pennsylvania’s state legislative elections are over and done, one Senate race is still under contention.

Democratic state Representative Tina Davis sought to unseat incumbent Republican Robert “Tommy” Tomlinson in the 6th Senate District.

Now, she is going to court over what her campaign says are restrictive election laws. 

Guy Reschenthaler official Facebook page

Congressman-elect Guy Reschenthaler won't take office until January, and the date for replacing him in the state Senate has not been set. But Democrats and Republicans alike are already eyeing the 37th state Senate District, which sprawls from airport-area suburbs through prosperous South Hills communities and into Washington County's Peters Township.

Matt Rourke / AP

In a speech before the Pennsylvania Press Club in Harrisburg Monday, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro said there is more to come in his office’s investigation into abuse within the Catholic church.

In a wide-ranging speech, Shapiro touched on the many lawsuits he’s been involved in against the Trump administration. He also touted improvements to the AG's office after years of scandal, and rebuffed a question about whether he wants to be governor.

Pablo Martinez / AP

Time is running out for Congress to pass a new farm bill before both chambers break for the year. In Pennsylvania – and around the country – that means hundreds of thousands of low-income residents are still waiting to see if their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — or SNAP — benefits will be subject to stricter work requirements.