I wish all a fun-filled and safe evening

Article posted on December 31, 2010

It’s New Year’s Eve and I was out and about most of the day. The office was closed, but I still got a little work done. The streets were busy and Charlotte tells me that the stores were jammed. Maybe the economy is picking up? I have a race this afternoon and a couple of friends coming over tonight for dinner. I wish all a fun-filled and safe evening.

-John

Don’t look for them to slow down anytime soon

Article posted on December 30, 2010

I read a story today about all of the “holiday” resolutions that are done in the PA legislature. These are the resolutions, always passed unanimously, commemorating some special day. We recognize many diseases, historic events, people of local notoriety, sports teams, etc. Proponents claim that they are an opportunity to bring attention to certain causes that deserve the lime light. Opponents think that they are a waste of the taxpayer’s time and money. There are hundreds introduced every session. In fact the article said that they accounted for 15% of the legislature’s work over the past couple of years and that each “holiday” resolution goes through the legislative drafting process of review by attorneys and proof readers before coming to the floor of either chamber for voting and speeches. I have never introduced any of these resolutions because I lean more toward the opinion that the legislature has better things to do. I have fallen short of condemning these actions, but do believe that some are more appropriate than others and that many are simply grandstanding exercises of the sponsoring member. Don’t look for them to slow down anytime soon, or as long as there is cable TV coverage on the floor of the House and Senate.

-John

So much for any sense of decorum

Article posted on December 29, 2010

Charlotte and I were up last night with Keano, our 12 year old Airedale. According to the vet this morning, he apparently had a mild heart attack. He is a lot better today with some medicine and food supplements. After losing his brother this summer, we were pretty concerned. I read an article today about candidates lining up for the late Senator Mike O’Pake’s seat. It didn’t take long for these stories to appear. I understand the circumstances and how things work, but the man is not even in the ground. So much for any sense of decorum.

-John

You never know what God’s plan is for any of us

Article posted on December 28, 2010

The arrangements for Senator Mike O’Pake’s funeral were announced today. There will be a viewing on Sunday with a viewing and funeral service on Monday. I remember the first time I met Mike, it was at the Farm Show in 2007. We both attended the legislative luncheon that week and ended up in the food line together. He was very gracious. He must have noticed my trepidation as a newbee and said something like, “you’ll do fine in the Senate”. Coming from one of the senior members and from someone of the other party to boot, it made an impression on me. I worked with Mike on one rules issue and always saw him as a gentlemen. I never thought that when we left the capitol in November, that I wouldn’t see him again. But, you never know what God’s plan is for any of us.

-John

My prayers go out to his family

Article posted on December 27, 2010

A couple of days ago a local paper ran an editorial about Governor Rendell’s final veto. He killed a House Bill that included three separate county government provisions. They considered his action essential for freedom of information. One of the three provisions protected certain sensitive facts about deaths that coroners did not want released to the public. The vast majority of the General Assembly voted for the bill and I assume understood this particular language. After it was passed, the PA Newspaper Association lobbied the Governor for his veto and got it. This veto can, and evidently is, viewed by the newspapers as a victory for freedom. Others, including law enforcement and the families of brutal crime victims, will consider it an invasion of privacy and in some cases, a “get out of jail free” card for a murderer. You be the judge. I just received word that my colleague Senator Mike O’Pake died today. More information will be forthcoming about the circumstances of his death and funeral arrangements. My prayers go to his family.

-John

I’ll be writing more about this process

Article posted on December 26, 2010

It’s another slow news day as we enjoy this quiet time of the year. There were a couple of stories about the upcoming redistricting process. The articles focused on congressional districts, which is now getting all of the attention, although, they won’t be on the agenda until after the state legislative districts are finished. Not having been through reapportionment before, I am learning about the process and what to expect otherwise. Since one party has control of every step of this situation, pundits are claiming that a lot of politics will be played. That remains to be seen. I have an appointment in January to look at the computer generated maps and see what ways might be possible to make up lost population in the 30th District and the additional population that will be added to each senate district due to the state’s overall growth. I’ll be writing more about this process as we start into it next year.

-John

Merry Christmas!

Article posted on December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas! I hope that everyone had time with family and friends. Charlotte, Johnny and I joined my family and a couple of friends at my mother’s house. We had plenty to eat and a good time together. May the peace and joy of this season be with you all.

-John

I wish everyone a blessed Christmas Eve

Article posted on December 24, 2010

I got my truck back this morning for the weekend, but will have to bring her back to the shop next week when a part comes in. We’re getting closer. The office was closed today and there wasn’t much in the way of news. Earlier this week, the House released their new committee chair list. The appointment getting the most attention is the State Government Committee to be chaired by conservative reformer Darryl Metcalfe. Darryl is the polar opposite of the former chair, Babette Joseph from Philadelphia. I look for good things coming out of that committee for the next couple of years. This could be a real turning point in the legislature’s ability to advance many reforms. We’ll be in church this evening and spending the remainder of the time together as a family. I wish everyone a blessed Christmas Eve.

-John

I can use the time

Article posted on December 23, 2010

It was another day without my truck. Did I say that it was somewhat liberating to be without transportation, I would like to retract that statement. The four-wheel drive is making noise, occasionally, and it does not engage and disengage consistently. With as many miles as I need to put on the truck this winter, I can’t afford to find myself in bad weather with no four-wheel capability so I thought it best to get it fixed now. I hope they can find the problem and fix it in the morning, I really need it back. I got more done at the office today than yesterday. I got to some emails and calls and memos that should have been done last week. We’re closed tomorrow for Christmas, and that will give me a chance to get caught up a little more. I can use the time.

-John

It’s tough to get to the finish line

Article posted on December 22, 2010

My truck was in the garage all day so I was trapped in the office. I haven’t been without wheels for quite a while. It was confining, yet liberating. I didn’t have to “run out” anywhere. I got through a few things, but didn’t really get through much more than I would have normally. That’s the way it always seems to go. At this time of the year, there aren’t as many things going on, but the situations we’re involved with are usually time sensitive and hurried. And with people in the offices we’re dealing with taking vacation days, it’s tough to get to the finish line. We’ll keep trying.

-John