Hope everyone has a great New Year’s Eve

Article posted on December 31, 2014

There has been some good news lately from the courts and I would add today’s decision to that list. A federal judge dismissed a request by “social service advocates” for an injunction to stop the implementation of Healthy PA on January 1st. Governor-Elect Wolf has spoken against the plan, as well, and vowed to expand Medicaid instead. I don’t know yet if this ruling will affect his thinking or not. But for the time being, this plan will stand. I ran the Twilight Run at Lakemont Park again this afternoon and finished the 5K with a time of 19:34. I’m not sure the distance is real accurate on this course, but the time sounds good anyway. I don’t know how well I did comparatively; I’ll have to check the YMCA’s website later. Hope everyone has a great New Year’s Eve and is safe out there.

-John

He will have to answer to the people of Pennsylvania

Article posted on December 30, 2014

I was in Fulton County this afternoon doing some Pheasant and Chucker hunting with friends. It was a nice day for it, albeit a little cold toward dusk. We did pretty well and enjoyed watching three Springer Spaniels work the fields. I have been working on several legislative issues this past week. It’s a transitional time in Harrisburg, but there is a sense of solidarity in the legislature. I hope that we will pass meaningful legislation this session regardless of what the Governor does with it when it hits his desk. We know what issues are a priority and should address them immediately. If Governor Wolf vetoes a bill, he will have to answer for it to the people of Pennsylvania. Maybe he will be a little less likely to veto the next bill that awaits his signature.

-John

That’s an entirely different situation

Article posted on December 29, 2014

After reading all three articles in the series the Altoona Mirror put together on charter schools, the second two were much better than the first. Some of my blog comments about the first article were covered in the second story. I can never quite understand why the government schools are so afraid of competition, but as you can see in these stories, they are. I read a Capitolwire piece today on the new school funding commission issues. PA is in the top 7 states for what is spent per pupil; in fact, I’ve seen a report that had us in the top 3. In their quest to get even more money, the schools are asking for an “equitable” funding formula. The legislature has been open to this issue, but what we’re learning is that reallocating money to address what’s fair across the Commonwealth is not what they really want; their plan is for everyone to get more, with some getting more than others. That’s an entirely different situation.

-John

I could have guessed

Article posted on December 28, 2014

I wasn’t surprised, but hated to see the story in the papers today about Attorney General Kathleen Kane filing for divorce. I haven’t agreed with her professional decisions much, but I feel badly that she is in this personal tragedy. There really weren’t many other stories dealing with our state government. The Harrisburg Patriot had their wish list in for the coming legislative session. It was chockfull of higher spending, higher taxes and a left wing social agenda. I could have guessed.

-John

The schools’ mission should never be to shut down opportunities for our children

Article posted on December 27, 2014

After my men’s fellowship this morning I got a hundred rounds of sporting clays in with a few friends. The weather was ideal; we couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I was disappointed in an Altoona Mirror story today about charter school funding. The government schools misrepresent this issue and the paper didn’t bother to dig into the facts. The schools talk about a dollar amount they “pay” to the charter schools. This figure is comprised largely of money the state gives the school to educate that child. Since they are not educating that child, they are expected to pass that money along to the charter school that is. Then they argue that they don’t see savings from servicing fewer students. In several of the situations locally where elementary schools were closed, the school kept all of the employees, with the exception of a few through attrition. No business operates that way and neither should our schools. My last point in this blog about charters is that kids and parents want choices. The government schools’ mission should never be to shut down other opportunities for our children.

-John

It looks like the decision will stand

Article posted on December 26, 2014

Johnny left today for a stop to see other relatives in Ohio, then back to Houston. We will miss him until the next visit. An important story that hasn’t had much local attention is about a court decision last Friday, which allows a state appointed receiver to take control of the York County Schools. The schools have been in tremendous fiscal difficulty and the quality of education was also an issue. The receiver was attempting to convert the schools into charters and the teachers union and the School Boards Assoc. didn’t like it. These groups filed to stop the receiver from carrying out his plan, but the court ruled in favor of the receiver and the taxpayers. There may be an appeal, but from the initial decision, the receiver’s plan to help the students and taxpayers looks like it will stand.

-John

May God’s peace be with you on this very special day

Article posted on December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas everyone! We had a wonderful day with family and too much to eat. It’s great to spend the day with Johnny. I know of several families who just lost loved ones and are going through a tough time. I keep them in prayer and hope they have good Christmas memories to get them through. Charlotte and I have a lot to be thankful for and our faith, family and friends are at the top of the list. May God’s peace be with you on this very special day.

-John

May you have a blessed Christmas Eve

Article posted on December 24, 2014

Johnny was home today and we spent the morning and early afternoon together. He’s only home for three days and with our schedules, we might not see each other till Easter. So, we’re squeezing in as much as possible. Things were slow in the office today and not much was in the news. Most folks are focused on family and celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. May you have a blessed Christmas Eve.

-John

Interesting

Article posted on December 23, 2014

At this time of the year, it’s tough to get work out. Everyone you need to talk to is out or their office is closed altogether. Staff and I came to the realization this afternoon that several things we are working on will be on hold until next Monday, after the folks we need come back to their desks. Fortunately, most people are understanding of the situation and don’t blame us for the delay. I don’t want to sound like a broken drum on this subject, and I’ll be brief, but there are more stories out over the past couple of days about the problems surrounding AG Kathleen Kane. A couple of the stories concern a renewed request from State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe for her impeachment. This story was out months ago and was dismissed by the media as one conservative House member blowing smoke. Today, the story is looked upon seriously with real questions about how and why this could happen. Interesting.

-John

I will speak to the PIAA

Article posted on December 22, 2014

I read a Christmas story to a mixture of young children and senior adults today at the Allegheny Lutheran Social Ministries building in Altoona. Both age groups share the building and do certain activities, like this, jointly. It’s a nice approach to day care that benefits all involved. I spent most of the day on the phone taking care of various things. I thought this would be a slow week, but it didn’t start out that way. I have received complaints from people about the behavior of the opposing team at the state A football championship. I didn’t see the game, but have heard about how badly they behaved at the end. These are high school kids playing football. They should remember everything that entails and think about the example they are setting for others in this televised game. The BG players handled it like gentlemen. I will speak to the PIAA and see what I learn.

-John