I doubt if any of the spooky movies can rival this unfortunate reality

Article posted on October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!  I had appointments with constituents much of the day.  Most of us have had an experience with a government agency that was not what it should have been.  But, some days I hear stories from folks that make me wonder how anyone gets ahead in this state.  The unnecessary delays and expense incurred on construction projects, the heavy handed tax policies, and government edicts that create the inefficient and ineffective use of tax dollars paint a pretty scary picture of what it’s like to do business in PA.  I doubt if any of the spooky movies on TV tonight can rival this unfortunate reality.


Congrats to the F&BC for a job well done

Article posted on October 30, 2016

Most of what I saw in the papers today was political news and that’s what I expect next Sunday.  One story I caught was on the grades of schools across PA.  I haven’t had a chance to look at the report from the Dept. of Ed yet, but will try to soon.  Before the rain started this afternoon, I attended the ribbon cutting for the Reynoldsdale Fish Hatchery.  The facility was built in 1928 and has gone from dirt raceways to cement.  I visited there on a school field trip when I was a kid and several years back as an elected official, not much changed in between.  But, now they’re a state of the art hatchery.  Congratulations to the Fish and Boat Commission for a job well done.


The laws aren’t any better today thanks to these people

Article posted on October 29, 2016

I got some shooting in with friends this morning after my men’s fellowship group and a pancake breakfast at church.  We did pretty well as a group even though it was windy, but the warm temps were great.  Charlotte and I were in the Hollidaysburg Halloween Parade this afternoon.  We owe an apology to the kiddies along the final few blocks of the parade route; we’re sorry we ran out of candy.  The parade was packed and we just didn’t have enough; we’ll bring more next year.  A bill that did not receive any attention this week was the legislation to strengthen the penalties for and expand the list of eligible perpetrators who commit child sexual abuse.  A small group of people, led by Rep. Mark Rozzi, worked the halls and created enough of an issue that the bill was not brought up for concurrence in the House.  So, while child sexual abuse continues in PA, the victims won’t have the many advantages provided by this legislation.  After all of the attention brought to this issue through the grand jury investigation into the Altoona-Johnstown Catholic Diocese, the laws aren’t any better today than they were before this tragedy came to light thanks to these people.


A governor who fundamentally believes in big, unchecked government

Article posted on October 28, 2016

One point that is being made since the dust is settling on the bills passed or not passed this week, is the fact that, although the Governor said he would support the pension bill, the Democrats in the General Assembly would not vote for it, none of them.  We have been down this road before, and the Governor is unable to deliver any support for legislation from members of his own party.  He did take time today to veto four bills, an attempt to give more authority to the Inspector General (who saves us millions every year), changes to who is allowed to serve on the Philadelphia Parking Authority (I could care less), changes to the Delaware River Port Authority (changes that make the authority consisting of members of PA and NJ more accountable to the people of PA), and a bill that gave more oversight to the legislature over regulations (enough said).  This is what happens when you have a Governor who fundamentally believes in big, unchecked government.


I don’t see the votes to get it done this session

Article posted on October 27, 2016

We ended up staying on the floor until about 12:15 last night.  The House stopped at 11:00 and came back this morning.  They concurred on a number of bills the Senate sent back with changes including a bill that provides some updates to incorporation, partnership, etc. laws; a bill that allows the Game Commission to permit the use of semiautomatic rifles as they see fit, a bill that allows municipalities to offer some local tax incentives to attract volunteer firefighters and ambulance personnel, and a bill that requires the Civil Service Commissioners to operate under the same political restrictions as civil service employees.  A bill to temporarily fix a revenue distribution issue with casinos was changed in the House and awaits Senate action.  The pension issue was put on life support, but I don’t see the votes to get it done this session.


We’ll know soon

Article posted on October 26, 2016

As I write this post, we are still on the floor and expect to be till very late.  We have gone through dozens of bills so far and have more in process.  The House probably won’t vote on the pension changes until 10:00 or so, and we won’t vote on it until after that.  There’s a chance the House won’t pass the pension proposal; we’ll know soon.  I’ll try to provide a recap of the legislation we passed in the next couple of days.


There are a lot of moving parts

Article posted on October 25, 2016

We had another long list of bills on the calendar today.  Most of what we did was concur on bills sent back from the House and amend bills that we’ll finish tomorrow.  We’re also watching bills in the House that must be done to get back to us or get through a committee to get to their floor for a vote tomorrow.  One that many have been watching is the bill allowing local police to use radar.  That bill didn’t make it out of the House Transportation Committee and has run out of time in this session.  Another thing that has happened frequently over the last days is amending language from bills that won’t make it into bills that will.  We did that today with a bill to allow the PA Game Commission to approve semi-automatic rifles for hunting certain game species.  As has been said many times this week, there are a lot of moving parts!


Politics interfered with doing what was right

Article posted on October 24, 2016

As we worked through the session schedule today, word circulated about the sentencing of former AG Kathleen Kane: 10 to 23 months in the Montgomery County Jail and 8 years of probation.  She was also scolded by the judge for her conduct, and the warden at the jail said that she would not receive any preferential treatment.  Sounds like she will be in for a very difficult time.  I am reminded of the Senate’s vote on her removal months ago.  We went into the process in a bi-partisan manner, held hearings, worked through the testimony and legal issues with few problems, but lost the support of the Democrat caucus as it came time to vote.  Her time in office and the continued damage she caused could have been stopped then, but, unfortunately, politics interfered with doing what was right.


We’ll get some good things done

Article posted on October 23, 2016

There weren’t that many stories concerning state government in Sunday’s papers.  The Penn State win (We are…) was the big story for some papers and the Presidential campaign takes up much of the ink.  There were stories about the scheduled sentencing of former AG Kathleen Kane, set for tomorrow.  The consensus is that she will receive jail time, but we’ll see what the judge says.  We go back into session tomorrow for our final week.  I start at 10:00 with a meeting of the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Probation held at the state parole office, then go to the Capitol for a series of meetings and appointments before session begins at 1:00.  Hopefully, we’ll get some good things done.


I hope that is everyone’s agenda

Article posted on October 22, 2016

It was very windy this morning for our pheasant and chukker hunt, but the rain held off.  I missed a couple, but we ended up with 12 of the 20 stocked birds.  I have some wings and feathers for Oakley training.  He’s doing well at the six month mark, but I wish I had more time to work with him.  There is a lot of discussion about what will be done over the last three days of session.  Some of the deals that have been made to see legislation passed are on the rocks, it seems.  You never know how the close votes will go until you make them.  I learned a long time ago that it is much easier to stop a bill from running than it is to push it through.  I’m anxious to get back and get good legislation to the Governor; I hope that is everyone’s agenda.