Bedford County LEAD

Article posted on January 31, 2008

Another long day in the district.  I just got back, at 10:00, from a meeting in Bedford County.  We had another LEAD session tonight  (LEAD stands for Local Economic Activities Discussion).  Things went well; we discussed topics like the Chesapeake Bay initiative, leasing the turnpike, a new pipeline coming through our area and telecommunications.  I went to the Bedford County Convention and Visitors Bureau’s open house before the meeting and met with a constituent in the Bedford office before that.   I had a full day of other meetings and media interviews today starting at 7:10 this morning.  People are interested in the Open Records bill and my new bill, the Conscientious Objection Act. Tomorrow I am going to the Huntingdon SCI for a tour in the morning with a student who is shadowing me for the day.  We are supposed to get some icy weather starting overnight and continuing throughout the morning.  Lucky I have the truck.  

– John

Open Records

Article posted on January 30, 2008

I’m back from Harrisburg, it feels good to be home, Lillie missed me.  The big legislative news today was the passage of the Open Record Act, SB 1, in the Senate.  I thought that the House would take it up tomorrow but I learned tonight that they will not be voting on probably anything tomorrow.  This is a very complex bill that changes the way information is handled by all government entities in PA.  The primary change is that the presumption of access is reversed meaning that all government records are believed to be public information with certain exceptions instead of the current law that allows the government to define what is a public record and all others are not.  In addition, stronger penalties are in place for violators, the time allowed to respond to a request for information is shortened and the appeal process for someone who has been denied a request is streamlined.  This is a good bill, not perfect, but much, much better than existing law.  This is the first substantial improvement in public record access in PA for 50 years.  Domenic Pileggi and his staff deserve a lot of credit for crafting a solid bill and seeing it through a tough process. 

– John

I hope this year’s budget is better

Article posted on January 29, 2008

Another day in Harrisburg with some progress on a few issues and not a lot to report on others.  I did something that I haven’t done for a while, gave blood.  There was a drive on at the capitol and I offered to give.  I am sorry that I haven’t made time to give for a while but am glad I did this morning.  I had a number of meetings today, a long caucus, session, several media interviews, several receptions and a dinner.  I am glad that the day is over and I am back in my hotel room.  I am not sure what direction we are headed into the budget address next week and am not shocked that we don’t have a real plan.  We need to get tougher with some of our responses to the Governor and not compromise.  We should have our own agenda and not back down from our conservative ideas and proposals.  Saying no is not a negative response, it is the responsible answer to outrageous spending and increased taxes.  People expect us to protect their interests, not cave in.  Last year was a marked improvement from the previous budgets, I hope that this year is even better.  The taxpayers can’t afford anything less. 

– John

Conscientious Objection Act

Article posted on January 28, 2008

I’m back in Harrisburg and I introduced my first bill of this new year, the “Conscientious Objection Act”.  This bill would allow health care professionals to make decisions regarding abortion and contraception without fear of legal or employer reprisals.  The Abortion Control Act does not adequately address today’s morning after pills and emergency contraception.  There is a grey area regarding this issue and at some point, either through regulation, an activist judge or statute, this subject will be addressed.  My bill would set forth protection for health care professionals and health care institutions by holding them harmless in the event that they choose not to participate in providing products or services related to abortion or contraception.  My bill provides a solution to this problem and should go through the process quickly, should.

– John

Senator Eichelberger Gives Voice to Health Care Providers and Institutions with ‘Conscientious Objection Act’

Article posted on January 28, 2008

Protects right to decline participation in services that violate conscience

 Harrisburg, PA – Monday, January 28, 2008, Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr., introduced the ‘Conscientious Objection Act’ to protect the fundamental right of conscience for individuals and institutions that provide health care products, services, and procedures such as those related to abortion and contraception.

“Health care providers and institutions should not be required to participate in any service that violates their conscience. This bill will protect those professionals throughout the Commonwealth, from being forced to go against their religious, moral or ethical principles,” John says.

Any phase of medical care, treatment or procedure relating to abortion, artificial birth control, emergency contraception, artificial insemination, assisted reproduction, human cloning, human embryonic  stem-cell research, fetal experimentation and sterilization is included in the bill.

The bill has nine co-sponsors in the Senate.

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We need tax cuts

Article posted on January 27, 2008

I had an Eagle Scout ceremony this afternoon in Bellwood.  Everyone of these services are different, and I should know, I have been to a lot of them.  This was a nice service, not too long and well done.  I always meet the families of the boys and their scout leaders.  This Bellwood Troup has 50% of their scouts becoming Eagles, the national average is 3.89% of all scouts.  I worked in the office the remainder of the day and am ready for the week in Harrisburg.  I am introducing a new bill tomorrow that will help Pennsylvania become a better place, if it passes.  It will be interesting to see what kind of agenda items we will address in the Senate since the House sent over the big tax cut bills.  I think we should pass them as well and send them to the Governor.  We need tax cuts.

– John

Appreciating fire companies

Article posted on January 26, 2008

I put in a full day at the office after my men’s fellowship group this morning.  I did paperwork then went to McConnellsburg to speak at a District Scout Banquet.  I left there and went to the Freedom Twp. Fire Company’s annual dinner where I sat with Representative Jerry Stern and his wife Susie.  The fire companies do an amazing amount of work that usually goes unnoticed unless it is a major structure fire with lots of property damage or loss of life.  The Freedom Twp. company had 293 calls last year, down from over 400 in 2006.  Most of these calls were auto accidents but other calls included fuel spills, aircraft accident, trees down, traffic control, alarm responses, various investigations and of course, structure fires.  If you weren’t appreciative of what these people do, you would be if you attended the dinners and heard the stories.  This is real America, this is how people in communities take care of their neighbors.

– John

Busy day in the district

Article posted on January 25, 2008

I started the day at the Blair County Chamber’s annual meeting.  It was at the Casino in Altoona at 7:30.   They had a good crowd.  Last night I was at the Fulton County Chamber annual dinner, tis the season.  Later this morning I went to the Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council meeting at the Hopewell Senior Center in Bedford County.  After that I went to the Southern Alleghenies R.D.&D. meeting at the Arena Restaurant in Bedford.  I was on that council for 11 years when I was a Commissioner.  These guys work hard on environmental issues with little or no money up front and usually very efficient results with mostly private funds; it’s too bad some people in Harrisburg don’t think that way. 

– John

You are only as good as your information

Article posted on January 24, 2008

For those who read yesterday’s posting, I am feeling a little better.  I ran 4 miles this morning and am still sore but I made it through another long day with a little less pain than yesterday.  I wish everyone had the news service I have as a Senator.  I read a lot of different articles during the course of a day and gain a lot of information through them.  I get a listing of news articles from papers all across Pennsylvania that have “state news” “Eichelberger news” and “national news”.  I get several updates each day and some editorial information with the updates.  I get a listing of all or most state meetings including House and Senate Committee meetings, PUC meetings and other state agencies.  One of my staff, Austin O’Neill, does a recap of all of the local papers each day for all of my staff giving us some information about local issues that are important for us to know.  It has been said, you are only as good as your information.  I try to have good information and make good decisions based on it. 

– John

Senator Eichelberger Marches for Life in Nation’s Capital

Article posted on January 24, 2008

With ‘Bedford County Citizens Concerned for Human Life’

100_0026.jpgWashington D.C. – Tuesday, January 22, 2008. On the 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe vs. Wade that legalized abortion, Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr., and three of his staff members traveled to Washington D.C., to march side-by-side with hundreds of thousands of abortion opponents in the 2008 ‘March for Life.’ This was John’s second march.

“I enjoyed the camaraderie among the people in D.C., and the 49 other people I traveled with on the Bedford County bus. It is always an honor to be surrounded by people who take a valiant stand on this issue,” John says.

The march was solemn but spirited. A sea of posters, banners, cheers and prayers brought this issue to the streets of the Nation’s capital.

“I was glad to see so many young people marching. Their signs were creative and powerful and they were very positive. It gives me hope for the future of our country and the abortion issue,” John says.100_0030.jpg

Several other groups from John’s 30th District marched, including Blair County Citizens Concerned for Human Life, St. Patrick’s Church in Newry, St. Mary’s Church in Hollidaysburg, Most Holy Trinity Church in Huntingdon, and students from Bishop Guilfoyle and Altoona Central Catholic Middle School among others.

The theme of the 2008 ‘March for Life’ was “Build Unity on the Life Principles Throughout America. No Exception! No Compromise!” For more information visit www.marchforlife.org.

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