We’ll keep trying until we get it done

Article posted on January 31, 2015

We got word this evening that we have a nonvoting session again this Monday. Last week’s weather forecast turned out to be wrong. The Southeast didn’t get hit as forecast. This time, our region is supposed to get the worst of it. Hopefully, the meteorologists will blow this one, too. I spent a lot of time rescheduling my calendar last week and here we go again. I haven’t heard what the House is doing. My first appointment Monday morning was to be a bi-cameral Pro-Life Caucus meeting and it was rescheduled from last Monday. But pro-lifers are tough, we’ll keep trying until we get it done.

-John

What a mess

Article posted on January 30, 2015

The news out of the state capital keeps coming. The Governor’s request to delay next week’s hearing on the firing of Erik Arneson as director of the Open Records office was granted, for only one day. This isn’t what the Governor hoped for. The bigger news is about Treasurer Rob McCord. One day after his announcement to resign and “return to the private sector,” he agreed to plead guilty to felony charges. He admitted that he threatened two potential campaign contributors, who do business with the Commonwealth, by telling them that he could make future work difficult if they didn’t contribute. This guy was the front-runner for governor early on in the primary and was the darling of the PSEA. Despite the Democrats winning the governor’s race and controlling all three state row offices, it’s been a bad 2015 for that party. A grand jury recommends charges against the Attorney General, the Treasurer pleads guilty to multiple felonies, and the Governor is immediately embroiled in various battles including one lawsuit filed against him six days after taking the oath. What a mess.

-John

Senator Eichelberger Offers Service Hours in Cumberland County

Article posted on January 30, 2015

HOLLIDAYSBURG (January 30, 2015) – Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr. (R-Blair) today announced he will expand services for the people he represents in the 30th District.

Staff are now going to be available in the Newville Borough building, 4 West Street, Newville, Pennsylvania, every Wednesday from 9:00 to 5:00 (closed for lunch). The staff will be in the Borough Council chambers which can be entered through the door on the side of the building. In addition, Senator Eichelberger will meet with constituents there on a scheduled basis. The toll-free phone number to reach Senate staff Monday through Friday is 1-866-509-EICH(3424).

“Our office greatly appreciates the generosity of Newville Borough,” said Senator Eichelberger. “We look forward to helping the people of Cumberland County with their state-related problems.”

 

For additional information, please call Patrick Schurr, Executive Assistant, at 814-695-8386 or email pschurr@pasen.gov.

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I enjoyed visiting with the school choir members, parents and teachers

Article posted on January 29, 2015

The big news out of Harrisburg today was the surprise resignation of State Treasurer Rob McCord. He simply said that he wanted to go back to the private sector. There were stories speculating about his rocky relationship with the new Governor and if that had an impact on his decision; both are Democrats. This evening a news report said that he is the subject of a federal investigation concerning the theft of “campaign and other funds.” Maybe we’ll learn more tomorrow. The Governor’s attorney wants a delay in the Erik Arneson firing case. They want more time to prepare and want to depose Erik before going to court. Erik’s attorney has asked the court to continue with their hearing scheduled for next week. There should be an answer on this soon. I was in Fulton County to meet with constituents this morning and afternoon and spoke at a Catholic Schools Week event in Lakemont this evening with the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese Bishop. I thanked all of those gathered for their great work in preparing students for productive lives and enjoyed visiting with the school choir members, parents and teachers.

-John

The ones that don’t can wreak havoc

Article posted on January 28, 2015

We didn’t have a formal announcement yet, but the Finance Committee will be holding a hearing on SB 4 next Wednesday afternoon.  This is the constitutional amendment legislation, which would clarify that the responsibility to define charitable tax exemptions rests with the legislature, not the courts.  Something that is spelled out in the constitution already, but has gone awry, thanks to an activist judge.  Most of the judiciary does an outstanding job; the ones that don’t can wreak havoc.

-John

He’s off to a rocky start

Article posted on January 27, 2015

13 of the nominees Governor Corbett sent to the Senate before he left office were approved by the Rules Committee today on a party-line vote. Despite the recall order from Governor Wolf, the Senate is moving ahead with most, if not all, of the nominations. It appears that historically, new Governors work out the remaining names on the Executive Calendar, but not this Governor; he sent over a recall letter on his first full day in office. He also is weighing in on a constitutional amendment bill concerning which branch of government establishes the definition of charitable exemption, the court or the legislature. The bill proposes amending the constitution to clarify that this is the role of the legislature. Wolf apparently prefers the court despite existing constitutional language to the contrary. The Senate Appropriations Committee moved this bill out this afternoon. He’s off to a rocky start.

-John

That might be a new record

Article posted on January 26, 2015

The Senate Republican Caucus filed suit against the Governor today to block the firing of newly appointed Office of Open Records Director Erik Arneson. Erik was a long-time Senate staffer who worked on the legislation that created the office he was appointed to. By most accounts, the appointment by Governor Corbett was ill-timed (since it happened in his last few days), but was legal and binding. Governor Wolf fired him immediately, which raised some eyebrows, as well. The legal question before the Commonwealth Court is about the independence of the office. The OOR has judicial oversight over elected officials, including the Governor. The Director of the office has a six-year term so that no Governor could time appointments around his or her term. The office was designed to be independent with its own budget. This is part of the argument to counter Governor Wolf’s statement that the Director is an at-will employee and serves at his pleasure. If that would be the case, any Governor could remove or threaten to remove a director who is reviewing a matter concerning his conduct. A lawsuit from the legislature within his first week– that might be a new record.

-John

No matter what happens outside, we go to work

Article posted on January 25, 2015

The Sunday newspaper stories were focused more on AG Kane’s problems than anything else. She was a media darling for a long time, now she can’t get a positive comment even from the most liberal papers. The big news for the General Assembly today was the weather. We all got word this afternoon that neither chamber would have a voting session tomorrow. In other words, there will be a brief session called so that the bills on the calendar will all move up one day, but no votes will be taken, and no members need be on the floor other than the Majority Leader to run the desk. Since we’re only a couple of days into session, no votes on bills would have been taken anyway. I had a full schedule tomorrow, so I spent part of my day on the phone with other members and staff reworking what was planned. I don’t control the Senate schedule, but for my office, we don’t have “snow days.” No matter what happens outside, we go to work.

-John

Wolf’s first week was fraught with personnel issues

Article posted on January 24, 2015

I was out early for my men’s fellowship group this morning and appreciate the good work the road crews did with the snow. I got caught up on some office work, and a few phone calls that I needed to make. I read a few news stories that I didn’t see over the last couple of days including more on the Director of the Office of Open Records firing. Erik Arneson, a former Senate staffer was appointed to this post late in the Corbett administration. Governor Wolf promptly fired him this Thursday. Friday, he showed up for work anyway. Apparently there is a legal battle brewing over his termination. Wolf’s first week was fraught with personnel issues and from what I can see, it’s only going to get worse from here.

-John

Most of the people who visit the pages are great, but…

Article posted on January 23, 2015

After reviewing the utilization of my official and personal Facebook pages this week, I am going to try to post my blog on both. It is always posted on my website, senatoreichelberger.com, as well. I have heard from people who don’t always see the post or aren’t sure where to find it, so this should help. My Senate and legislative news, photos, events, etc. will always be posted on my official page. If you have not checked it out yet, search Facebook for Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr. and “Like” the page. As a reminder, comments by readers are welcome, even if they do not agree with my position. However, I will delete comments that are disrespectful to me or others, contain lies or misinformation, or are vulgar. Most of the people who visit the pages are great, but unfortunately, there are a few crazies out there.

-John