Congrats to Joe and thanks for all you’re doing

Article posted on February 28, 2015

Day two of the Jaffa Sports Show attracted another large crowd. I spoke with many people about issues including property tax reform (SB 76), the deer population, the law enforcement capability of Game and Fish Commission Conservation Officers, the deer population, a federal constitutional convention, the executive order authority of the President, the importance of the 2nd Amendment, more questions about what I think of Governor Wolf, and did I mention the deer population? Tonight I attended the Annual Central Blair Recreation and Park Commission Dinner. The keynote was Franco Harris. He was very well received. He has ownership in the Pittsburgh Passion, a women’s football team and he brought some of the players and coaches with him. They’ve won two national championships in their brief history. The Commission also took time to honor Joe Reed, who has done a lot for this community, particularly in the way of youth sports. He has been a critical component of The Miracle League since its inception. Congrats to Joe and thanks for all you’re doing.

-John

I’m looking to forward to seeing folks

Article posted on February 27, 2015

I attended a Governor’s Advisory Board for Probation meeting this morning in Harrisburg. It went a little longer than usual as we discussed funding problems with county probation departments. I got back to the Jaffa Shrine by mid-afternoon. I spoke with hundreds of people there about many different subjects. The most frequently asked question is how the new Governor is doing. I also spoke with people about Game Commission policies and Fish Commission policies, Sunday hunting, school spending, school taxes, and a list of national issues. We, of course, heard a lot from people about the show’s exhibits and what their hunting and fishing interests are. I’m looking to forward to seeing folks tomorrow.

-John

It’s Sports Show weekend!

Article posted on February 26, 2015

I was part of a panel of four Senators who spoke at a meeting of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber this morning. You may have caught it on PCN. It was a nice venue and the folks in charge kept it moving. I had a couple of appointments at the Capitol then went to the Governor’s Mansion for lunch. Governor Wolf is having small groups of legislators in to discuss issues. As it turned out, the House was in session, so our group was very small, two House members and two Senators. We had a productive discussion. I give him credit for attempting to build relationships with the legislature, despite the political registration differences. I made it back to the Hollidaysburg office to get some work done before heading to a dinner in Huntingdon. I’ll be up early again tomorrow and drive to Harrisburg for a meeting then hurry back to the Jaffa. It’s Sports Show weekend, hope to see you there!

-John

Another full schedule

Article posted on February 25, 2015

The Senate State Government Committee passed my Paycheck Protection bill today. We now have both the statutory and constitutional amendment bills through the committee. It was a good morning. I met with more cabinet nominees today and had a town hall in Hustontown tonight. We had a good crowd and lots of questions. Topics included the hog farm permit in Fulton County, the cabinet nominees, pension reform, liquor store privatization, paycheck protection, cyber charter school payments from public schools, SB 4, emergency service radio and 911 funding, the Pike/Bike Trail, and other issues. I drove back to Harrisburg afterwards so that I can get to a 7:30 speaking engagement tomorrow morning. I have another full schedule tomorrow including a visit with the Governor.

-John

Hope to see folks there

Article posted on February 24, 2015

We had a long afternoon in caucus and session working through nominees for Bucks County Court and the 26 names Tom Corbett sent over before he left office. The plan tomorrow is to run most of the former Governor’s nominees, after agreeing with Senate D’s to strike 9 or 10. Of course, there is no guarantee that the new names Governor Wolf sends over will be confirmed for the 9 or 10 appointments. I have a town hall tomorrow night at the Hustontown Fire Hall. Hope to see folks there, if they can make it.

-John

What the governor does with these bills remains to be seen

Article posted on February 23, 2015

The Senate is not wasting any time in moving good legislation through the chamber. Today, we voted out my consumer protection bill on requiring Navigators to register with the PA Insurance Dept. and undergo a criminal background check. It was a party line vote of 30 to 19. We also moved Paycheck Protection legislation out of committee, not my bill, a constitutional amendment sponsored by Senator Scott Wagner, which I co-sponsored. This is scheduled for an Appropriations Committee vote this week, as well. We passed a bill in Approps this afternoon to require welfare recipients to prove citizenship. This, again, was pretty much a party line vote. I hope this trend continues as we address the pension problem, liquor store privatization and a host of other important challenges. The House is working on a liquor privatization bill this week that should be passed by Friday. And I attended a news conference this morning for the Taxpayer Protection Act legislation that received support from both the Pro Tem and the Speaker at the event. What Governor Wolf does with these bills remains to be seen. But he’ll have to answer to the people of this state if he kills common sense reforms.

-John

Then again, maybe there isn’t

Article posted on February 22, 2015

The big story in the papers this Sunday is about problems with the two nominees for the PA Supreme Court. One nominee has an email under scrutiny and one had a complaint in his file concerning discrimination at his place of work. I had a call from a Harrisburg reporter Friday evening asking me if the Judiciary Hearing on their confirmation, scheduled for this week, was postponed. I hadn’t heard about that myself at that point and still had the hearing on my schedule. I told him that there could have been a decision to change the hearing and I just didn’t see it yet. I’ll find out tomorrow. These are agreed to, bipartisan nominees, not people the Governor sought out. The court will be hearing cases in March, so there is an effort to confirm them soon, or then again, maybe there isn’t.

-John

They never let the facts get in the way of their message

Article posted on February 21, 2015

The snow just kept coming. I thought it was supposed to stop this afternoon, oh well. I saw a letter to the editor in a local paper today that accused me of taking money and being controlled by “the Koch brothers.” I don’t know the man who wrote the letter, but I feel certain that he got this message from a public sector union boss. I have heard this same attack from the public sector unions on anyone who doesn’t advocate for their agenda. I never received any money from them, but they never let the facts get in the way of their message.

-John

What a February!

Article posted on February 20, 2015

I attended an announcement this afternoon at DelGrosso’s Amusement Park in Tipton. They are constructing a major addition to their water park and the group assembled was excited about the news. It’s millions invested and well over 100 more jobs. I congratulated the family and staff for their commitment to the area and willingness to risk their own money to continue the work of their parents and grandparents at the park. I met with U.S. Senator Bob Casey this afternoon in Duncansville. He was pushing his legislation to change the federal guidelines on depreciation for small businesses. It’s a bipartisan bill that he expects to pass in this or the next session. I drove to Camp Hill tonight for a dinner. A dinner scheduled tomorrow tonight in Hustontown has already been postponed due to the weather forecast. I should make it back okay tonight before the snow hits again. What a February!

-John

The long-term prognosis for our deer population is not good

Article posted on February 19, 2015

I was on the road again today. This afternoon, I joined Rep. Paul Schemel and a room full of volunteers and supporters for a media day event to promote this year’s Flannery’s Pub Run. This will be the 3rd Annual Half Marathon to raise money for the Tuscarora Area and Greencastle-Antrim School Districts. I ran in this race last year and spoke today about how well done the race was from start to finish. They expect more runners in 2015 and I believe that as the reputation of the race grows, so will the numbers. I left Greencastle for a Penn State Extension dinner in Huntingdon. The speaker tonight was a deer biologist from the Game Commission who spoke about Chronic Wasting Disease. This is a devastating disease that has no cure. Given what has happened in other states, particularly Wisconsin, but the long-term prognosis for our deer population is not good.

-John