This is no way to do business

Article posted on January 31, 2011

I, and three other senators, had a meeting set up with two new cabinet appointees to discuss a pressing issue for our Commonwealth. We found out today that our new Governor issued an order that his cabinet appointees are not to meet with legislators to discuss policy issues until they are confirmed. Therefore, our meeting is cancelled. I guess that anything important will have to wait until maybe March or April to discuss. I was surprised by this decision and tried to understand Corbett’s thinking. I guess that if the administration is disorganized to the extent that he doesn’t want people to discuss policy without knowing his position first, I question when that will change and how we ever present anything new. My other thought was that he might be trying to pressure the Senate to get his appointments through quickly and is playing hardball to do it. In either case, or for whatever the reason, this is no way to do business.

-John

Maybe cooler heads will prevail in the future

Article posted on January 30, 2011

This was one of those weekends where I was out at events and kept getting information from people that I needed to relay to staff. I sent emails out and got some answers back, which means that they are monitoring their email accounts. I appreciate that. Of course, Michele posts my blog for me every night so she always checks hers. There were only three stories sent to me today by our news service and none were worth discussing. The big story of the week, that always gets rehashed in the Sunday papers, was the blow up in the state House between the Republicans and the Democrats. From what I’ve read, no one looks too good over this. I’ll be watching to see if there are any long term effects from it. Maybe cooler heads will prevail in the future.

-John

I am always concerned when I hear inaccurate information

Article posted on January 29, 2011

Last evening a went to a banquet in Huntingdon where the speaker was from Trout Unlimited and spoke about Marcellus Shale drilling. Having heard from friends of mine in TU about Marcellus issues before, I expected the presentation to be far from pro drilling. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but I felt that there was some inaccurate information given in the Q and A afterwards. I am always concerned when I hear inaccurate information about any subject. I know how difficult it is to have a reasoned debate on the issues of the day. When people get bad information, it is often impossible.

-John

This is a clear example of what people are crying out against

Article posted on January 28, 2011

I got an email this week from a constituent who thought that I should know about an effort in the 12th Congressional District to influence the reapportionment process. This Political Action Committee or PAC is hiring a lobbyist to try and preserve some sort of congressional district with Johnstown as a focus. To make matters more interesting, they are contracting with Mike Long, a former senate staffer to my predecessor, who, according to the email, was “a major architect” in the last two rounds of redistricting. If you don’t know, Mike Long also is the key figure in the management of Republican Senate campaigns (with me being an exception). I have always felt that being a registered lobbyist and managing the campaigns of those you lobby gives that lobbyist far too much influence. This is a clear example of what people in our state and across the nation are crying out against on the street and in the voting booth, the good old boys club.

-John

We found common ground in many other areas

Article posted on January 27, 2011

I started and ended my day in Huntingdon County. I heard from the Commissioners at breakfast and the school districts this evening. The schools in Huntingdon and Fulton don’t like SB 1, (surprise, surprise) but we had a reasonable discussion on the subject and all survived. We found common ground in many other areas. Given how heated this voucher debate may become, I considered this to be a very productive evening.

-John

The Turnpike operation needs fixed from the ground up

Article posted on January 26, 2011

It was a slow drive back from Harrisburg as the snow fell. I took the Turnpike thinking that it would be better cared for, that was a mistake. I should have learned from my experience last February when they got behind in snow removal and it took about 6 extra hours to get home from Erie. I-99 was in better condition when I got off in Bedford. Given the ratio of staff between the Pike and Penndot, it’s ridiculous. The Turnpike operation needs fixed from the ground up and I’m hopeful that with a new administration and a new Transportation Committee Chair in the Senate, we can get something done about it.

-John

SB1 is an important first step

Article posted on January 25, 2011

I attended a meeting this morning on Senate Bill 1, the legislation to allow for the transfer of students from a failing school to another school of the parent’s choice. I am a co-sponsor of this bill. With many schools failing across our Commonwealth and around the nation, our children need the ability to leave a failing school for a better opportunity. I don’t know how anyone who is focused on the best academic outcome for our children votes against this. A rally was held for the bill in the afternoon and tonight legislators and others gathered for a private screening of the movie, “Waiting For Superman”. It told a tale of trapped people inside failing schools. It showed how poorly our country ranks against the other developed nations in math, science and language. It presented alternatives to poor education, but pointed out how difficult it is for students to access those programs. It is time to change our education system. SB 1 is an important first step.

-John

Eichelberger Urges Corbett Administration to Aggressively Prosecute All Involved in the Chain of Murder at Philadelphia Abortion Clinic

Article posted on January 25, 2011

** NEWS RELEASE**

Eichelberger Urges Corbett Administration to
Aggressively Prosecute All Involved in the Chain of Murder
at Philadelphia Abortion Clinic

Hollidaysburg, PA – January 21, 2011, State Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr. (R-Blair) responded to the recent reports of deaths and criminal conduct in connection with a Philadelphia abortion clinic: “The grand jury and news reports concerning the conduct of the serial murdering doctor in Philadelphia are so appalling on so many levels that they go to the very core of humanity. Every public official should feel compelled to speak out and take every possible urgent action. No individual in any way connected to this crime should be held without responsibility, including government employees.”

“In my opinion, the individual public employees responsible for regulating the safety of this clinic committed the most egregious violation of public trust I have ever seen,” said Eichelberger. The misconduct of these government employees was so reckless and grossly negligent to the extent that criminal prosecutions may be in order.”

According to the grand jury’s report, public officials and employees had received repeated reports about the abortion doctor’s dangerous practices over the course of two decades. The Pennsylvania Department of Health knew of clinic violations dating back decades. The Pennsylvania Department of State was repeatedly confronted with evidence. Philadelphia Department of Public Health officials regularly visited the human waste-clogged offices. Nearby hospital officials treated some of the pregnant mothers who suffered grave complications. Yet, no action was ever taken. “When an individual has been placed in a position of public trust and taken on the responsibility of acting to protect public safety, a choice not to act clearly can itself be a criminal act,” Eichelberger stated.

“Although this case is about more than the debate over the legality of abortion, we cannot hide from the fact that it does shine a serious light on that debate – particularly on the argument that the legality and regulation of abortion will prevent the kind of backroom slaughterhouses evidenced here,” noted Eichelberger. “

In addition to the regulatory issues, a full investigation into the finances of this clinic should be undertaken with particular attention given to the potential uses of public funds.

“I am calling on my fellow legislators, the Governor of the Commonwealth, and the Mayor of Philadelphia to immediately begin investigating the public employees and their actions as outlined in the grand jury report.”

May God bless them

Article posted on January 24, 2011

This is the anniversary of the Roe versus Wade decision of 1973. Hundreds of thousands of Americans marched today in Washington to remind people of this mistake and pray for women who have gone through abortions, women who may consider abortions and the unborn babies who can’t speak for themselves. I was in session today, so I couldn’t join the march, but my prayers are with those who made that pilgrimage. My prayers are with those who stand up for this fundamental right. May God bless them.

-John

Did I miss something?

Article posted on January 23, 2011

There were a couple of interesting stories today in our Commonwealth’s newspapers. The Philadelphia Inquirer had a piece about the abortion clinic travesty and Ed Rendell’s insistence that he didn’t know anything about it. His comments are nearing the threshold of looking like, “thou protesteth too much”. Word on the street is that there have been infractions of many kinds at abortion clinics across the state for years. There is assuredly much more to learn about what has happened. The other story worth noting is one about our new Governor. Evidently his campaign pledge of giving the legislature a list of reforms on “Day 1” will happen on day 8. A spokesman said that the pledge was not meant to be taken literally. I don’t know how else you’d take it. Did I miss something?

-John