Harrisburg

$11B Budget Package Passes Pennsylvania Legislature

Nov 21, 2020
Jacqueline Larma / Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — An $11 billion no-new-taxes spending package won passage in a lame-duck Friday night session in Pennsylvania’s Legislature, as lawmakers sought to plug a multibillion-dollar deficit brought on by the pandemic and carry state government operations through the rest of the fiscal year.

Lawmakers voted as they rushed to wrap up their two-year session. A coronavirus outbreak in the House of Representatives caused hours of delay Friday before the main spending bill passed the chamber, 104-97, and the Senate, 31-18.

Elections Chief: Pennsylvania Making Good Headway In Count

Nov 5, 2020
Julio Cortez / Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania had hundreds of thousands of ballots left to count Thursday, a number that state officials expected to dwindle rapidly as Democrat Joe Biden and President Donald Trump fought to the end for the White House.

“It’s very close in Pennsylvania, there’s no question,” said the state’s election’s chief, Kathy Boockvar. “So that means it’s going to take longer to actually see who the winner is.”

Democrats Hope To Ride Spending Wave To Pa. House Majority

Oct 24, 2020
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — National political winds, strong fundraising and heavy spending by outside groups are fueling Pennsylvania Democrats’ hopes that they can pick up the nine seats they need to retake control of the state House of Representatives after a decade in the minority.

Mailed Ballots Can't Be Discarded Over Signature, Pa. State Officials Say

Sep 15, 2020
Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — With concerns rising in Pennsylvania that thousands of mail-in ballots will be discarded in the presidential election over technicalities, state officials told counties that they cannot reject a ballot solely because an election official believes a signature doesn't match the signature in the voter's file. The new guidance from Pennsylvania's Department of State also prompted the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania and the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh to drop a lawsuit in federal court Monday.

In-Person Farm Show Cancelled Due To COVID-19 Worries

Aug 19, 2020
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania's agriculture secretary says there won't be an in-person Farm Show in January because of the pandemic. Secretary Russell Redding made the announcement Wednesday through an online news conference. The Farm Show, scheduled for Jan. 9 through Jan. 15 will be held virtually instead, with a theme of “cultivating tomorrow.” The event bills itself as the country’s largest agricultural exposition under a single roof, drawing hundreds of thousands of people to Harrisburg to see about 6,000 animals and take in some 10,000 competitive exhibits.

Jacqueline Larma / Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania House has turned to a seven-term Republican member to become its next speaker, elevating him to the chamber's top job a week after his predecessor stepped down in mid-term. The Monday vote for Rep. Bryan Cutler of Lancaster County made him the House's presiding officer, one step up from the job of majority leader, a post he held for nearly two years. After he was sworn in, Cutler spoke of the state's founder, William Penn, as well as the challenges the state currently faces. Republicans elected Rep.

What Will Climate Change Cost Pennsylvania?

Nov 13, 2019
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

(Harrisburg) -- Pennsylvania’s auditor general, Eugene DePasqule, is attempting to quantify what climate change will cost Pennsylvania.

Governor Wolf Now Supports Legalizing Marijuana

Sep 25, 2019
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is now in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational use, saying Wednesday that most of the state's residents support it and that the state has a wealth of knowledge from the experience in other states to guide it.
Wolf, a second-term Democrat, packaged his announcement with a call to the Republican-controlled Legislature to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana and allow the expungement of past convictions of nonviolent and small marijuana-related crimes.

Matt Rourke / Associated Press

(Harrisburg) -- Democratic state lawmakers are criticizing the Trump Administration over its proposed plan to restrict Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits for certain people.

They say the change amounts to a punishment for the poor. 

Right now, people who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families—or TANF—are also considered eligible for SNAP.

But the US Department of Agriculture is proposing limiting that eligibility to people who get at least $50 in TANF benefits per month.

Pa. House Approves Budget Bill After Stiff Criticism By Democrats

Jun 25, 2019
Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania's House of Representatives passed the main bill in a just-unveiled $34 billion compromise budget plan on Tuesday, despite hard criticism by rank-and-file Democrats that included a floor fight over whether they could criticize the package for lacking a minimum wage increase.
Democrats also bitterly protested the bill's defunding of a Depression-era cash assistance program for the poor, a Republican demand that Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf also opposes in a budget package that he otherwise supports.

Keith Srakocic / Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania's Republican Party chairman is stepping down following a published report that he had traded sexually charged text messages with a Philadelphia City Council candidate and also sent her an explicit photo of himself.
Val DiGiorgio's resignation was announced Tuesday by the state GOP.
In a letter to party officials, the 51-year-old DiGiorgio says the report by The Philadelphia Inquirer contains "gross mischaracterizations" of what he said were "mutual consensual communications."

Judge Throws Out Spanier Conviction, Pa. Attorney General Will Appeal

Apr 30, 2019
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

Updated Wednesday, 12:11pm

Pa. Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced today he intends to appeal the judge's decision to overturn Spanier's conviction.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A federal judge has thrown out former Penn State President Graham Spanier's child-endangerment conviction, less than a day before he was due to turn himself in to jail.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Karoline Mehalchick in Scranton, Pennsylvania, issued a decision late Tuesday that gave state prosecutors three months to retry Spanier.

Pennsylvania Gun Violence Activists Set Sights On New Bill

Apr 8, 2019
Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Fresh from a victory in Pennsylvania last fall, anti-gun violence advocates are turning their attention to legislation to empower family members or police to seek the immediate, if temporary, seizure of someone's firearms.
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America went to the state Capitol on Monday to press the case for the bill, sometimes called a "red flag" bill in other states.
Under it, someone who is deemed to represent a danger of suicide or a serious threat to another person could be the subject of an "extreme risk protection order."

Matt Rourke / Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania is joining 19 other states in a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's move to restrict taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from referring women for abortions.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro joined the lawsuit filed Tuesday in an Oregon federal court challenging what critics call the "gag rule."
Shapiro, a Democrat, says it imposes unlawful and unethical restrictions on health care professionals. The state of California sued separately, as did the American Medical Association and Planned Parenthood.

Matt Rourke / Associated Press

HARRISBURG (AP) — Gov. Tom Wolf rolled out a second-term proposal Wednesday to vault Pennsylvania's minimum wage to one of the highest in the nation after similar first-term proposals by the Democrat fell flat in the Republican-controlled Legislature.
Wolf wants to take the hourly minimum to $12 this year, putting Pennsylvania in line with the highest state minimum wages, according to federal data. Pennsylvania also would join a handful of states by eliminating its tipped wage minimum, now $2.83, under legislation being introduced with Wolf's support.

Katie Meyer / Katie Meyer

 (Harrisburg) -- Pennsylvania’s House and Senate swore in their newly-elected members on New Year’s Day and are now gearing up to start a two-year legislative session.

As the Capitol flooded with lawmakers’ friends, families, and supporters, legislative leaders spoke on the floor about their priorities for the new session.

In the Senate, GOP Majority Leader Jake Corman advocated bipartisan efficiency, telling members it
“doesn’t matter what we’re for, doesn’t matter what we want to do. If we don’t get it done, we’ve failed.”

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic / Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A woman newly elected to Pennsylvania's Senate is submitting more personal documents as the chamber's Republican majority decides whether to seat her.
Democrat Lindsey Williams' lawyer said he submitted tax documents, bank statements and credit card bills on Monday in response to another information request. Earlier this month, Williams submitted a 97-page package to Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati.

Matt Rourke / Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — For the Pennsylvania Senate, the election didn't necessarily end at 8:00 p.m. on November 6.
The chamber's Republican majority is questioning the residency qualifications of a newly elected Democrat who flipped a Republican-held Pittsburgh-area seat by a mere 793 votes, injecting tension into a normally quiet December between legislative sessions.

olf and Fetterman, soon after the primary election that made the Braddock mayor the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor.
Dawn J. Sagert / York Daily Record

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.

The former Harrisburg State Hospital closed in 2006 and now serves as government offices.
Brett Sholtis / Transforming Health

Twenty-four-year-old Samantha Valley is a familiar face to staff at Dauphin County's Case Management Unit, where she meets regularly with her caseworker.

Stephanie Borowicz speaks with a constituent in Centre County while canvassing
Tyler Olson / WPSU

With Mike Hanna Sr.’s retirement, voters in the 76th state house district are about to choose a new representative for the first time since 1990. They’re faced with a choice between two very different candidates.

Hanna’s son, Mike Hanna Jr., ran unopposed in the 76th district’s Democratic primary. Stephanie Borowicz, a former teacher who lives in McElhattan and ran unsuccessfully against Hanna Sr. in 2016, passed through the Republican primary without a challenger.

Pennsylvania Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, one of the most prominent voices for reforming Pennsylvania's public defense system, in his office in Montgomery County.
Emma Lee / WHYY

If you hunt hard enough around Harrisburg, it is possible to find lawmakers who are on board with allocating state money for the public defense of the poor.

Possible, but not easy.

One of the most prominent voices on the issue is State Sen. Stewart Greenleaf. The 78-year-old lawmaker, whose Harrisburg tenure dates back nearly four decades, has an issue with Pennsylvania’s system of public defense that is rooted in the U.S. Constitution.

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania's Senate is rejecting a proposed constitutional amendment to reduce the number of its seats, but it's putting the onus back on the state House of Representatives to decide whether voters should get the question of shrinking it.

The Senate voted 42-7 on Thursday to send the measure back to the House after it stripped out a provision to reduce the Senate from 50 seats to 38.

Senator Lisa Boscola asks for support for her redistricting bill before the chamber's Appropriations Committee.
Katie Meyer / WITF

After more than a year of on-and-off negotiation, the state Senate has moved a congressional redistricting overhaul to the floor of the full chamber.

However, the compromise measure is expected to undergo significant changes before it heads to the House as soon as next week.

Cattle from EDN-RU Jerseys from Boalsburg, Pa.
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

At the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, thousands gather to experience the landmark 100th Show. Featuring over 6,000 animals, it’s the largest indoor agricultural exhibition in the country.  

Mike McMurtrie of EDN-RU Jerseys in Boalsburg, PA says his family has been coming to the show for about 50 years. His son is now the one who raises the cattle on the farm. He’s hoping their animals do well this year.

He said, “Hey, just like everyone says, it’s the judge’s opinion that day. But, hey we rank ‘em high. Just like everybody else does.”