A whitewash looks more probable with each passing day

Article posted on January 31, 2010

I hit the office after church and felt better about what I got accomplished today.  The organizational time is needed and productive, but the pile of stuff that was there when you walked in is still there when you walk out.   Today, I got through some of the stuff.  There wasn’t much new in the Sunday papers, the usual political stories, mostly about Gubernatorial candidates, and some about tomorrows start of former Representative Mike Veon’s Bonusgate trial.  Interestingly, tomorrow is the third anniversary of my letter to AG Corbett asking him to investigate the Senate, which now has become known as the Bonusgate investigation.  Although this investigation has grabbed a lot of headlines over the past three years and the Senate has spent hundreds of thousands of tax dollars on legal fees preparing for any question that might be asked of any member, or, possibly, former member, the Senate investigation is essentially nonexistent.  I haven’t given up hope that a fair and balanced look will be given to the political operations of the Senate, but a whitewash looks more probable with each passing day.

– John

We are looking forward to it

Article posted on January 30, 2010

I hit the office all day after my men’s fellowship meeting this morning.  It was one of those days when I spent more time getting organized than getting work done, and that’s not a good sign.  Tonight Charlotte and I are going to the Trough Creek Valley Volunteer Fire Company’s annual dinner in Cassville.  I try to get to all of the fire company banquets, but some are on the same night as others and are too far apart to make both.  I say that because I have not been to this company’s dinner before.  We are looking forward to it and are glad to show our support for the work these people do 24/7.

– John

It was a fun way to learn

Article posted on January 29, 2010

After the Blair County Chamber’s Annual Breakfast this morning, I drove to Harrisburg for a meeting with constituents and Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario.  The Commissioner has been very good to work with since he came to the department.  I arranged my drive home so that I could get to the Juniata Clean Water Partnership Annual Dinner in Huntingdon.  The dinner program was a 3D presentation on GIS/mapping done by a geologist from Penn State.  We all wore the special glasses and learned a lot about the geology of the Huntingdon County area.  It was a fun way to learn, better than the charts and photos I had in school.

– John

People’s lives literally depend on it

Article posted on January 28, 2010

I met a couple of young people today at the South Hills School of Business and Technology.  They are scholarship winners in their field of study, one in business, one in medical technology.  The enthusiasm of the people at the school was telling.  As bad as the economy is these days, many, many people are pursuing the American dream and believe that they will succeed.  We all need to see that and I could see that through these students this morning.  I spent most of the afternoon with, Steeler Great, Dasahe Townsend.  He was in Altoona to learn more about the free health clinic started by Dr. Zane Gates.  He was exceptionally nice and very giving of his time with everyone around him.  I was glad to see him lend his fame and credibility to the efforts of Dr. Gates and others who are making a real difference in the lives of working people who do not have health insurance.  The clinic concept should be our model to capture a significant portion of the uninsured.  We are still pushing legislation on this issue and hope to see progress in the next couple of weeks.  This is one issue that rises above all others, in that people’s lives literally depend on it.

– John

We’ll see how he does

Article posted on January 27, 2010

I’m back home from a long day.  I was up at 5:30, ran 5 miles went to an 8:00 breakfast, an 8::45 Local Government Commission meeting, a 9:00 Finance Committee hearing on the state’s pension problems, a 10:00. Communication and Technology Committee hearing, session at 11:00 and a meeting in my office at 12:30.  I left Harrisburg this afternoon and drove to Johnny’s apartment in Alexandria, VA to pick up a sofa since he’s moving back home in about a week or so.  I’m back in time to put a frozen pizza in the oven and watch the State of the Union Address.  My expectations for the speech are very low.  We’ll see how he does.

– John

They should have that chance

Article posted on January 26, 2010

I’m at my desk at the capitol tonight catching up on some emails and other work.  Today I introduced the Marriage Protection Amendment bill that has been widely discussed since last spring.  Our original idea was to introduce the legislation last year, but the budget problems changed our initial plan.  We still have plenty of time to pass this bill before the end of the year.  The bill has to pass the legislature in two consecutive sessions for the question of whether to include language in our state constitution, defining marriage as being between one man and one woman, will appear on the ballot for the people of Pennsylvania.  31 states have done similar processes and the people of 31 states have decided to define marriage as being between one man and one woman.  The people of this state want the opportunity to decide this question before an activist judge makes the decision for them.  They should have that chance.

– John

Eichelberger Introduces Marriage Amendment

Article posted on January 26, 2010


For Immediate Release

Contact: Jason E. High


866-509-EICH (3424)






SB 707 Protects Definition of Marriage in Pennsylvania


Harrisburg, PA – Tuesday, January 26, 2010, State Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr. formally introduced Senate Bill 707, a joint resolution to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to include the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman..  The bill has 15 co-sponsors, and is expected to be referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.


“Pennsylvania voters have the opportunity to decide how they want marriage to be defined and not allow an activist judge to make that decision for them,” Eichelberger said. “Thirty one other states have already gone through a similar process and in each state, the definition of marriage was upheld.”


SB 707 would insert the following language into Article I of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: “Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid and recognized as a marriage in this Commonwealth.”


As a joint resolution, SB 707 must pass both chambers of the General Assembly in two successive legislative sessions, and will appear as a referendum on the ballot.  If passed, the language will be added to the Constitution.



We don’t get enough of that around here

Article posted on January 25, 2010

We are back in session today for a regular three day period. We haven’t had a normal schedule since last June. We only voted on two bills today (one for Rep. Mike Fleck), but are planning to start to attack the backed up legislation shortly. We talked today about a hearing that will be held on February 10th on the Rules of Conduct for members. It was interesting to hear comments from some of my brethren that didn’t want to talk about any changes to the rules. There is always one reason or another why now is not the time to look at tightening things up. Of course, the entire hearing could be more for show than substance, that will remain to be seen. The important thing is that there is movement for positive change, we don’t get enough of that around here.

– John

Any increase would be disastrous

Article posted on January 24, 2010

I haven’t had a Sunday where I put in as many office hours as I did today for a long time. After church, I went directly to the office and worked until after 9:00 this evening with the only break being a drive to Martinsburg to present a citation to a man, from East Freedom, who turned 100 today. The men from East Freedom are pretty tough, if I say so myself. I did scan our news service for interesting stories from around the Commonwealth and found none. State government news will be in overdrive after the Governor’s budget address in early February. If he rolls out any new spending plan, and I think that he will, there needs to be an immediate and uniform message of opposition from the legislature and the public. We cannot sustain the level of spending we have, any increase would be disastrous.

– John

Don’t bet too much on it

Article posted on January 23, 2010

After a long, but rewarding day in Washington yesterday, I was up early this morning for my men’s fellowship group. I worked when I could today, did a little sporting clay shooting and attended a town hall meeting in Altoona this evening. I didn’t see much new in the newspapers today. The press is gearing up for the Gubernatorial and U.S. Senate elections and focusing on the Veon Bonusgate case. I suspect that tomorrow’s headlines will be more of the same. We start back in session on Monday, maybe we can do something to generate a positive story. Don’t bet too much on it, but maybe we could.

– John