Good choice

Article posted on April 30, 2017

I got to the Central PA Bible Conference this morning at Faith Baptist Church in Altoona.  The speaker was Dr. Jimmy DeYoung from Prophesy Today Ministries.  He gave a thought-provoking message at this first service of the Spring conference.  I got a little bit of office work done then drove to an Eagle Scout ceremony near Newville.  I’ve seen all kinds of projects from these boys; this Scout planted a small apple orchard at the church where the ceremony was held and also where the community food bank is located.  In a few years, the apples will help supply the food bank; nice planning.  There wasn’t much in the Sunday papers today.  Most stories were about the President’s visit to the Farm Show building yesterday.  I can’t blame our Commander in Chief for skipping an annual press corps event and coming to PA; good choice.

-John

Although it’s hectic, we’ll do our best

Article posted on April 29, 2017

We had more rain this morning than expected, but I got my mowing done anyway.  It was thick and wet, so it took a little longer to cut.  Sometimes, I don’t have the luxury to wait out the weather because of my schedule.  And speaking of my schedule, we have a backlog of requests for appointments in both the district and Capitol offices.  After discussions with staff this week, we’re going to see who can meet with my staff, and work in the others as time permits, although that might be weeks.  We’re not in session this coming week, but I have two trips out of the district planned, one for a school visit and another for a hearing.  As we get closer to the budget deadline, we’ll have more session days and more committee meetings.  Since I serve on six Senate committees and a number of other boards and committees as a representative of the Senate, these meetings take a considerable amount of time.  Not only do you have the time in attendance, but travel is often involved and time preparing can be extensive, depending on what’s on the agenda (often, there are meetings to prepare for a meeting).  Anyway, although it’s hectic, we’ll do our best to work everything and everybody in.

-John

God’s blessings for their selfless endeavors

Article posted on April 28, 2017

I was on the road most of the day.  As much as I like the warmer weather, I would like it better if the air conditioning worked in my truck.  I’ve been too scheduled to get it fixed; I’m hoping for sometime next week.  This afternoon I was honored to be recognized by Key Fellowship, a Christian organization, for my relationship with them and work with the Christian community.  I appreciate the work they do for the Lord and their prayers for me as I work in the Senate.  As I’ve said before, there are many people in our communities who care deeply about the welfare of others and spend much of their time and money quietly helping those in need.  I am thankful for these folks and wish them God’s blessings for their selfless endeavors.

-John

The Governor should know better

Article posted on April 27, 2017

We had our second and final 2017 A.B. Ross Leadership Program today at B & D Farm in Warriors Mark.  Keeping with the theme of additional income opportunities in agriculture, we toured a dairy farm this afternoon that also had honey bees, makes maple syrup, and sells eggs.  Maple Kroft Farm was vary gracious in hosting us for a tour.  The kids were outstanding, as usual.  Special thanks to Andrea from my office for all of her work on this program.  I have been hearing from people about all of the misinformation from the press and the Governor surrounding SB 300.  Planned Parenthood and their extreme supporters have a difficult time recognizing the truth, but the Governor should know better.

-John

There would be unanimous support

Article posted on April 26, 2017

My bill to set priorities in funding for family planning services passed the Senate Finance Committee this morning.  The meeting room was packed with Planned Parenthood advocates, who required the Senate Security’s attention from time to time.  The provisions of this bill would help women and families secure better and more comprehensive health care by directing more of them to clinics offering a broad array of health services including: Federally Qualified Health Clinics, hospitals, and Rural Health Clinics.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Planned Parenthood provided data on areas of service provided by FQHC’s and Planned Parenthood; FQHC’s provided 13 areas of care, PP clinics provided 3, and the 3 were more limited in scope.  If the number of services offered by these providers were reversed, the PP advocates would be asking for the funding to be changed so more people would be directed to their clinics.  If this was just about health care, and that’s what my bill addresses, there would be unanimous support.

-John

Senator Eichelberger’s Priorities Bill Passes Senate Committee

Article posted on April 26, 2017

HARRISBURG (April 26, 2017) – Senate Bill 300, sponsored by Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr, (R-Blair), passed favorably out of the Senate Finance Committee this morning. Following the vote, Senator Eichelberger offered these statements:

“This important legislation improves the system of publicly funded family planning services for women and families in Pennsylvania in two ways. It will prioritize funds so that service providers offering the broadest array of services receive the most funding, securing that the women and families who seek these services will have better care. Secondly, because the health care provided will be generally more comprehensive and delivered directly, it will save on the long-term costs of health care.”

“As was discussed at the hearing, Planned Parenthood, a current provider in this system, when compared to FQHC’s, provides only 3 of 13 areas of service identified by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. They provide no prenatal services in Pennsylvania. This level of service is unacceptable for our citizens.”

 

Please contact Patrick Schurr, Executive Assistant, at 1-866-509-EICH(3424) or email pschurr@pasen.gov for additional information.

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It’s their biggest conference to date, with about 4,000 attendees!

Article posted on April 25, 2017

The Commonwealth Prayer Breakfast went well this morning.  Thanks to my 11 friends from Blair and Huntingdon Counties who made the trip.  Later this morning we had a hearing on the proposal to enter into a leaseback agreement on the Farm Show Building.  I was impressed with the information we gathered, including the fact that the building doesn’t make money; we’re losing about $5 million a year.  We’re also not sure that the leaseback deal would be permitted under IRS rules.  The administration still didn’t know details about this issue, even though they proposed it 2 1/2 months ago.  This afternoon we passed a gun preemption bill, as did the House.  This issue has passed before, but met with problems with the Governor or the courts; hopefully this time it will stick.  This evening I dined with the PA Assoc. of Township Supervisors (PSATS) in Hershey.  It’s the final night of their conference, their biggest to date, with about 4,000 attendees, wow!

-John

If anyone is interested in coming next year, please let me know

Article posted on April 24, 2017

I was honored this morning to receive the Founder’s Award from the PA State Assoc. of Twp. Supervisors (PSATS).  This is their highest recognition and is presented at their annual conference.  I have worked closely with this organization over my tenure in the Senate and appreciate what they do for their constituents.  We had a lot of people in the capitol today including: Chambers of Commerce, city officials, local humane societies, domestic violence shelter and rape crises workers, practical nurses, and school officials, to name a few.  My apologies to the folks who stopped by my office and missed me; between session, caucus, and other commitments, I was in and out all day.  I’m looking forward to seeing a group from Blair and Huntingdon Counties tomorrow morning at the Commonwealth Prayer Breakfast.  If anyone is interested in coming next year, please let me know.

-John

Sen. Eichelberger Receives Township Association’s Highest Honor

Article posted on April 24, 2017

HERSHEY (April 24, 2017) – Sen. John Eichelberger was given the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors’ Founder’s Award for his support of local government and unfunded mandate reforms.  The honor was presented today at the organization’s 95th Annual Educational Conference and Trade Show in Hershey.

The award is PSATS’ highest honor and is only given to those who show exceptional commitment to townships.

“I’m humbled to receive this award from such an important organization,” Eichelberger said. “PSATS represents the hard-working men and women who are truly the backbone of local government and an integral part of state government as well.”

Sen. John Eichelberger, right, receives the Founder’s Award from the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors at its 95th Annual Educational Conference and Trade Show in Hershey. He is shown with PSATS President Shirl Barnhart.

As a former local government official, Eichelberger understands the challenges facing local officials, as well as their dedication to serving their constituents, PSATS President Shirl Barnhart said.  He also understands the need for a strong working relationship between the state and local governments.

“Pennsylvania’s local governments have been strengthened through the senator’s determination and leadership as chairman of the Local Government Commission and former chairman of the Senate Local Government Committee,” Barnhart said. “Sen. Eichelberger’s unflagging support for local government has ensured a better quality of life for all Pennsylvanians.”

Four years ago, the lawmaker led a Senate task force that urged Harrisburg to reverse current unfunded mandates on municipalities and analyze the financial impact before passing future ones.  More than 6,500 such mandates have been imposed on Pennsylvania’s local governments over the past 30-plus years.  Of those, some 800 directly impact townships.

In addition, Eichelberger is a staunch advocate for government accountability and fiscal restraint and has adopted many cost-cutting procedures in his own offices to save taxpayer money.  He drives his own blue pickup truck, does not request reimbursement for eligible in-district mileage, and returns his cost-of-living adjustment to the state each year.  His responsible spending has saved an estimated $1 million over his first two terms.

“While I appreciate the recognition,” the lawmaker said, “it’s an even greater honor to work alongside those township supervisors whose dedication and passion to serve our communities are on display daily. I’m looking forward to continued collaboration with everyone involved as we strive to constantly enrich the quality of life we enjoy here in Pennsylvania.”

The Founder’s Award recognizes individuals or groups whose outstanding efforts on behalf of local governments have resulted in significant benefits to townships.  Past recipients have included Govs. Dick Thornburgh, Robert P. Casey, and Tom Ridge, Lt. Govs. Mark Schweiker and Jim Cawley, and former Cabinet Secretaries Karen Miller and Dennis Wolff.

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The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors represents Pennsylvania’s 1,454 townships of the second class and is committed to preserving and strengthening township government and securing greater visibility and involvement for townships in the state and federal political arenas.  Townships of the second class cover 95 percent of Pennsylvania’s land mass and represent more residents — 5.5 million — than any other type of political subdivision in the commonwealth.

The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors’ Founder’s Award is named for the association’s founder, H.A. “Cappy” Thomson, and recognizes individuals or groups whose outstanding efforts on behalf of local governments have resulted in significant benefits to townships.

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Surprise, surprise, none bothered to check

Article posted on April 23, 2017

Most of the stories today were on the Mike Stack situation.  There were a few over the past couple of days on the Education Committee meeting last week where we passed the bill which would clarify the law on school districts allowing employees to carry guns if they comply with prescribed requirements.  One of the Senators asked repeatedly for a hearing on this bill, saying that he wanted more information.  A previous chairman of the committee still serves on the committee and said that he held a hearing on this bill before.  The senator asking for the hearing said that he wasn’t on the committee then and wanted to delay the vote on this bill until we held a hearing.  After the hearing, I learned that this senator was on the committee at that time and not only attended the hearing, but made public comments about the bill that were reported by the media.  Asking for a hearing on a bill is generally a stall tactic by someone who doesn’t like a bill.  Very few bills have a hearing, and when we hold hearings, many of the members either can’t or won’t attend.  If any of the reporters would have bothered to check on this senator’s history on the bill, they would have dismissed his comments about needing more information; but surprise, surprise, none of them bothered to check.

-John