You can do the math

Article posted on May 31, 2016

This morning I joined DCNR Secretary Cindy Dunn at Greenwood State Park to recognize the staff and volunteers that helped Standing Stone Trail become the PA Trail of the Year for 2016. They had a large group of volunteers who all had stories about the trail. Congrats to this hard working group. This afternoon, I got some office work done and a meeting in the office. Tomorrow, my first event is a speech to the Carlisle Area Chamber of Commerce at 7:30. The location is a two hour drive from my house; you can do the math to see what time I need to get up.

-John

God bless our veterans and their families

Article posted on May 30, 2016

I hope everyone had a good time today at a parade or in the back yard with a picnic. I also hope everyone took time to remember the veterans who died while protecting our freedoms. I spoke at the Morrisons Cove Memorial Park this morning at the program held by the Martinsburg VFW. We had a full house, which included a Cub Scout Pack up to people I know are well into their 80’s. Everyone was very nice and I appreciated being asked to serve as their speaker. The veterans’ organizations do a lot for the vets and for their communities. God bless our veterans and their families.

-John

This business practice must end

Article posted on May 29, 2016

The most written about subject today in the Sunday papers was the recent discovery of the FBI sting that nabbed a former Ed Rendell aide. The stories weren’t as much about him as they were about the lobbying firm the FBI hired to work their scam, Long, Nyquist and Associates. The stories talked about the influence this firm has and the fact that only two lobbying firms in PA perform both lobbying and campaign management. These stories explained that this combination of services presents an undo influence on the legislators involved. What the stories failed to mention is that I have sponsored legislation for the past two sessions prohibiting any lobbying firm from engaging in campaign activity. I’ve seen, first hand, how these firms have leveraged their relationships with members of the legislature to vote on matters important to their clients. This business practice, that has made both of these firms hundreds of thousands of dollars, and compromised the integrity of the legislative process, must end.

-John

Keep singing the same old song

Article posted on May 28, 2016

After complaining about all of the rain earlier in the week, we’ve had a string of beautiful days. I was outside most of today, it was hot, but, hey, it’s Memorial Day weekend. Although there are some positive signs concerning the budget, there is not agreement on new revenue generation. The House has been working on gambling expansion that could produce about $200 million, but hasn’t arrived at language that can pass. Pension reform is still on the front burner, but the proposals get weaker with every new version. I wasn’t happy about where we ended up last year and we couldn’t even get that done. We’re also looking at municipal pensions, but are having a tough time there also. The D’s listen to the union bosses and won’t agree to almost any change to current law. This position contradicts what most employees want, a portable plan. I’ve seen an entrenched mindset many times with bureaucracies. Despite having the financial information that foretells disaster, and a workforce that is demanding change, the union bosses keep singing the same old song.

-John

‘Nuff said

Article posted on May 27, 2016

I was in Mercersburg this morning with Rep. Jesse Topper for a meeting with residents concerned about the proposed food waste application on farm land from Enviro-Organics Technologies. I’m guessing the crowd to be about 25 people and all appeared to be against approving the proposal. This is an emotional issue for some who live close to the applicant’s property. I wanted to be certain people understood the laws pertaining to this situation and what could be done and what couldn’t. We came away with some things to check out for this application and a couple of ideas to improve existing laws, which will take a much longer time period. Although the initial application was denied by the township, the applicant is expected to reapply, so this situation is not going away. The news out of Harrisburg today was the resignation of Chuck Ardo, AG Kathleen Kane’s spokesman. Since she took office in 2013, he was the 8th person to have that job. He said today that he handled, “an unfolding series of crises that were just never ending.” ‘Nuff said.

-John

If he works with us fairly this year, we can get a budget wrapped up soon

Article posted on May 26, 2016

The rain generally held off again today and the warm dry weather was appreciated by all. I had a ribbon cutting and a meeting at the Blair County Court House, so my schedule allowed me to get my mowing done for the holiday weekend. Johnny is coming home tomorrow night, first time since Christmas, so I only committed to one event on Memorial Day. I didn’t see much of interest in the news today. The Governor said in his radio program that “there is a new tone” in the budget discussions this year. He said that the legislature is more willing to work something out and avoid a long delay. I agree with that statement, but would point out that he was the sticking point last year. His unwillingness to reach a reasonable compromise kept up the stalemate for nine months past the due date. If he works with us fairly this year, we can get a budget wrapped up soon, but if he insists on higher taxes and unheard of spending increases, we’re back to the same standoff as last year.

-John

This could signal a new era for the PLCB

Article posted on May 25, 2016

I had a couple of constituent appointments this morning, a meeting with a municipality concerning an issue, got a few other things done then headed to the Franklin County Assoc. of Township Supervisors’ Spring Banquet where I got to catch up with a lot of the local officials and enjoy a nice picnic dinner. The big news out of Harrisburg today was a ruling by the PLCB to grant licenses to 9 applicants for beer sales at locations that sell gasoline. There are three members of the PA Liquor Control Board including one new appointment. The board had been deadlocked on these applicants for months with the Republican member supporting the licenses and the Democrat member opposing. Today, with a full compliment, all three members voted yes after the Governor made public his support for this action. The organization that represents the beer distributors has the PLCB in court over a similar decision. The PLCB prevailed in Commonwealth Court and the Supreme Court has yet to hear the appeal. Of the 9 licenses, only one was for a location close to the 30th Senatorial District, the Sheetz store on Rte. 22 near Huntingdon. This could signal a new era for the PLCB.

-John

That’s poor management, plain and simple

Article posted on May 24, 2016

I was at the grand opening of Laguna Splash Water Park this morning in Tipton. They had the largest crowd I’ve ever been part of for an opening. They had all four restaurants within the park open for free samples and all of the pools operating. Everything was first class. I wish them the best. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale had a news conference today where he released information on his audit of ChildLine, the state’s phone line to report child abuse. In 2015, the unanswered calls totaled 42,000. 22% of the calls went unanswered altogether. This was up from 4% going unanswered in 2014, the last year of the Corbett administration. In this administration’s defense, the call volume was substantially higher because of the new laws passed after the Jerry Sandusky case. However, the argument that the department handling these calls was understaffed doesn’t completely explain this tragic situation. While the department beefed up its staff compliment over the past year, the number of unanswered calls went up and the number of answered calls went down. That’s poor management, plain and simple.

-John

Letting these groups do their dirty work

Article posted on May 23, 2016

The email sent by DEP Secretary John Quigley that one administration official said, “was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” became public today. Using expletives, he chastised environmental groups for not “pushing back” against legislators as we passed a bill that affected DEP’s agenda. He also compromised the Governor by saying that unless they pushed him, he wouldn’t act. I was surprised at the tone of the email and the foul language, but most importantly, this confirmed the suspicions many had about how he and this administration work as one with activist groups, some more radical than others, to orchestrate opposition or advocacy for environmental issues. There are natural alliances on both sides of the aisle, but this smacks of the Secretary controlling these groups. It appears that the department has the luxury of sitting back and letting these groups do their dirty work.

-John

Eichelberger, Topper Take Aim at Concealed Carry Firearm Education

Article posted on May 23, 2016

HOLLIDAYSBURG (May 23, 2016) – When is it a crime to carry a firearm without a license? What are the exceptions for being required to have a license? Do you need a license if you are holding a firearm in plain sight?

Gun owners, or potential gun owners, can get those questions and more answered at the upcoming free Concealed Carry Seminar co-sponsored by Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr. and Representative Jesse Topper.

“Pennsylvania rightly provides the opportunity for law-abiding citizens to carry a concealed firearm,” said Senator Eichelberger. “But in most cases, a license is required. Certain criteria must be met to get a license. And even with a license, there are still places where you cannot carry a concealed firearm. So, a lot of people could really benefit from this educational public event.”

The seminar is being held on Saturday, June 11, 2016, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the MMP&W Activities Center, 20 Veterans Way, Mercersburg, PA 17236. It will feature three concealed carry law experts: Attorney Matt Menges, Franklin County Sherriff Jim Brown, and Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Edward Asbury.

“Our guest speakers have a wealth of knowledge about our state’s laws and will share important details about gun ownership, especially if a firearm owner plans to travel out of state, and the legal implications when a firearm may be used to protect oneself,” said Topper. “I encourage anyone who would like to attend to sign up early, as this event is expected to fill up quickly.”

Pre-registration is required; only those with reservations will be admitted. Please RSVP to Kathleen Gunnell, Legislative Aide to Senator Eichelberger, by calling 717-485-3616 or emailing kgunnell@pasen.gov.

For additional information, please contact Andrea Verobish, Legislative Aide to Senator Eichelberger, at 1-866-509-3424 or email averobish@pasen.gov.

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