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State of the State

Updated 8 days ago

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State of the State is a weekly podcast from PA Post — designed to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the state Capitol, but with a depth you don’t always get from the daily news.

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State of the State is a weekly podcast from PA Post — designed to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the state Capitol, but with a depth you don’t always get from the daily news.

iTunes Ratings

12 Ratings
Average Ratings
9
3
0
0
0

Essential for any PA Politico

By Cscott3391 - Jan 23 2019
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Very informative podcast. Great way to keep up with what’s going on in Harrisburg.

Fabulous Podcast

By philip.harold - Dec 24 2018
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This is a must-listen podcast for anyone interested in the issues Pennsylvania faces.

iTunes Ratings

12 Ratings
Average Ratings
9
3
0
0
0

Essential for any PA Politico

By Cscott3391 - Jan 23 2019
Read more
Very informative podcast. Great way to keep up with what’s going on in Harrisburg.

Fabulous Podcast

By philip.harold - Dec 24 2018
Read more
This is a must-listen podcast for anyone interested in the issues Pennsylvania faces.
Cover image of State of the State

State of the State

Latest release on Dec 31, 2019

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 8 days ago

Rank #1: Episode 2: Prisons, drugs and inmates’ rights

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A look back at a month of changes for the PA Corrections Department. Segments: Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, ACLU PA Legal Director Vic Walczak, and one man who has been experiencing the new rules firsthand, as a visitor to his incarcerated fiancée.

Sep 27 2018

40mins

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Rank #2: Episode 47: Abuse in the church, and other stories

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In recent weeks, there’s been a lot of talk in Harrisburg about what the legislature might do to reform statute of limitations laws. It’s a discussion that’s been especially active in the last year, in the wake of a massive report on abuse and cover-ups in the commonwealth’s Roman Catholic dioceses.

We bring you two angles on that this week: a look at some of the people who have used church-provided compensation funds, from WHYY’s Laura Benshoff, and a story explaining why some abuse survivors can’t do that, from WITF’s Brett Sholtis.

We’ll also bring you stories about redistricting, the impact climate change might have on Pennsylvania’s birds, and a new development that affects a contentious proposed constitutional amendment.

Oct 11 2019

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Rank #3: Episode 48: More on Marsy’s Law

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This week we’re focusing on a topic that has come up a lot lately, and with good reason: Marsy’s Law. If you’re not familiar, Marsy’s law is a proposed amendment to Pennsylvania’s constitution that will be on the ballot for a statewide referendum on November 5th.

Versions of the proposed law have been adopted in a bunch of states. In Pennsylvania’s case, it would basically insert an existing bill of rights for crime victims into the state constitution.

As it stands, that bill of rights already does a lot for victims. It gives them the ability to make impact statements, to almost always be present at trial, and to be notified if a perpetrator gets out of prison. Putting those rights in the constitution is designed to give a victim more recourse if they feel they’ve been mistreated. They would be able to motion a court for a new or extended trial if, say, they weren’t given time to make an impact statement.

But the American Civil Liberties Union is adamantly opposed to Marsy’s Law—saying it’s too broad, too vague, and could set up conflicting rights between victims and the accused. The state chapter of the ACLU is also bringing a lawsuit, arguing Marsy’s should be multiple amendments, and is unconstitutional in its current form.

WITF’s morning show Smart Talk, hosted by Scott Lamar, recently had on several of the people who have been most vocal on Marsy’s. So in the interest of spreading the word on this potential amendment as much as possible, we’re re-broadcasting a particularly informative part of that episode.

Oct 22 2019

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Rank #4: Episode 38: What a state-run insurance marketplace means for you

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Pennsylvania is officially on track to take over the online marketplace that sells health insurance as part of the Affordable Care Act. It’s a move that will give the commonwealth more control of the exchange, and the state is predicting lower premiums, too. WITF health reporter Brett Sholtis joins us this episode to explain how …

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Jul 08 2019

17mins

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Rank #5: Episode 35: Staying mum on the minimum wage

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Lawmakers are busy negotiating the budget for next fiscal year, which starts July 1. By all accounts, things are going relatively well. But a few major proposals are still up in the air. One of those is the minimum wage. Pennsylvania’s wage is at the $7.25 federal minimum—lower than any neighboring state. It’s been a …

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Jun 14 2019

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Rank #6: Episode 32: Rachel Carson and the fall and rise of the peregrine falcon

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This week on State of the State, we’re celebrating Memorial Day and the return of nice weather with a story about the impact—good and bad—people can have on the natural world. First, a re-airing of a feature on a group of peregrine falcons living on the Rachel Carson State Office Building. Their nest-placement seems fated. …

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May 24 2019

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Rank #7: Episode 46: Air quality, child abuse, and the Sacklers’ Pa. resort

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We take a look at some of our most important stories of the last week.
This week, for your convenience, we have a roundup of the top stories we’ve been following lately.
First, we hear from PA Post reporter Ed Mahon, who traveled to Erie last month to talk to the people who live there about a plant that turns coal into a crucial ingredient for steel manufacturing. It creates a lot of jobs for the area, but also has a long history of air quality violations.
We also looked into an unusual situation that has unfolded in York County, at Roundtop ski mountain. It’s not a big mountain, and it’s known mostly to people in the area. But it’s wrapped in a much bigger story about opioid addiction and some of the people who have profited off it. Brett Sholtis, with WITF’s Transforming Health project, had that story.
Finally, we have a story from Capitol reporter Katie Meyer (the host of this fine podcast) who looked into renewed debate over changing statute of limitations laws to let victims of child sexual abuse sue more easily. The proposed overhaul has a lot of support, but it has always gotten held up in the state Senate—and it’s unclear if that will change.

Oct 08 2019

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Rank #8: Episode 41: Pennsylvania’s big gun debate

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Much of this week’s political conversation has been dominated by questions about guns. Questions like, who should be able to use them? What characteristics should we should allow them to have? And is it ever OK for the government to be able to take them away? The weekend of August 3rd saw two major shootings. One …

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Aug 12 2019

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Rank #9: Episode 8: The election is over; what lies ahead for Pennsylvania?

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The election is over, and you may have heard, Pennsylvania Democrats picked up some new congressional seats–and helped flip the U.S. House of Representatives. Meanwhile, Democrats in the state House and Senate also made progress. The Senate flipped at least five seats and ended a Republican supermajority–and the House snagged at least eleven–thought to be …

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Nov 09 2018

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Rank #10: Episode 7: Pittsburgh

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On Saturday, eleven people were murdered in a Pittsburgh synagogue, and six others were injured. A man named Robert Bowers was arrested and has been charged with anti-Semitic hate crimes. He has pleaded not guilty. In the days since, members of Pittsburgh’s robust Jewish community have been grappling with the sudden deaths of their own, …

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Nov 02 2018

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Rank #11: Episode 6: Countdown to the midterms

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At the time of this podcast recording, we’re less than two weeks from an important election. Nationally, Democrats are trying to take back the congressional majority—and Pennsylvania is a huge part of that effort. This week, WITF and Keystone Crossroads reporter Emily Previti joins us to explain how voter registration is shaking out in the …

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Oct 26 2018

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Rank #12: Episode 5: Legislative session ends, election run-up (and polling) intensifies

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The state House and Senate ended their legislative session with a bang Wednesday night. Negotiations on a priority statute of limitations bill—which aimed to make it easier for victims of child sexual abuse to sue abusers—melted down. Plus, polling!

Oct 19 2018

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Rank #13: Episode 4: Congressional races that should be on your radar

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Joining us to explain which congressional races to watch is Associated Press political reporter Marc Levy. Public radio reporters Lindsay Lazarski (of WHYY) and An-Li Herring (of WESA) will also give their input on a couple of interesting, individual races they’ve been following.

Oct 12 2018

33mins

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Rank #14: Episode 3: Does PA owe the poor better criminal defense? An investigation.

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When it comes to funding public defense for poor—or indigent—people, Pennsylvania is an outlier. The commonwealth leaves that funding totally up to the counties, and provides no statewide oversight. Reporters Emily Previti, Lindsay Lazarski, Annette John-Hall, and Min Xian join us to explain the situation.

Oct 04 2018

46mins

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Rank #15: Episode 39: There’s a reason PA’s congressional maps are weird

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By just about every measurement you can make, Pennsylvania is particularly susceptible to gerrymandering. At least, that was PA Post reporter Emily Previti’s conclusion after taking an extremely detailed look at the factors that lead to gerrymandering in various states. Pennsylvania is one of the only states that doesn’t have standards like compactness or contiguity …

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Jul 16 2019

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Rank #16: Episode 33: State forest drilling and the gas cash impasse

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For months now, Democratic Governor Tom Wolf has been battling Republican lawmakers over how Pennsylvania should fund infrastructure improvements. Wolf wants to implement a $4.5 billion plan funded by a tax on natural gas drillers. Republicans have adamantly opposed such a tax for years, and are casting Wolf’s plan as a nonstarter. Now, two GOP …

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Jun 03 2019

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Rank #17: Episode 37: The (sometimes tumultuous) path to passing PA’s budget

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Pennsylvania officially has a budget for the new fiscal year, and it was—mostly—signed into law two days ahead of deadline. As far as budgets go in Harrisburg, it was a breeze—after all just four years ago, an impasse over funding dragged on for nine months. But still, there were some hiccups this year. An argument …

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Jul 01 2019

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Rank #18: Episode 34: Telling the story of a Pennsylvania soldier rescued on D-Day +1

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This week, we’re marking the anniversary of D-Day by investigating a famous photo with a Pennsylvania connection. For months, WITF News Director Tim Lambert has been unraveling the story behind a scene that happened on Omaha Beach in Normandy 75 years ago. It was immortalized in a picture taken on D-Day +1 — June 7th, …

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Jun 06 2019

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Rank #19: Episode 44: The senator has resigned

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Former state senator Mike Folmer vacated his seat last week after an arrest for alleged child pornography possession. We discuss what happens now.

Late last Tuesday, the state attorney general released a statement saying the office had arrested state Senator Mike Folmer and charged him with possession of child pornography. By the next afternoon, the Republican had left office.

The episode shook the Capitol. It also left a hole in one of the Senate’s highest-profile committees. As head of the Senate State Government Committee, Folmer had been intricately involved in negotiations on a major push to overhaul redistricting, and had been helping piece together a package of significant changes to state election law.

This week, PA Post reporters Ed Mahon and Emily Previti join us to explain how Folmer’s abrupt resignation affects those initiatives.

Sep 24 2019

14mins

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Rank #20: Episode 40: Congressional cash

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The 2020 election is still more than a year away, but Pennsylvania’s eighteen congress women and men are already well into the fundraising that they hope is going to get them another two-year term. This week, we took a look at the quarterly reports the commonwealth’s incumbents and challengers have been filing to see how …

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Aug 05 2019

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