They need to make sense and be applied fairly

Article posted on August 31, 2017

I got some things done at the office this morning before heading to Fulton and Franklin Counties for a ribbon cutting and a meeting.  I heard a lot today about regulatory problems, particularly pertaining to the environment.  People not only complain about the amount and cost of federal and state regulations, but if they have significant problems complying, they question the consistency of how they are applied and the lack of a fair appeal process.  Some of the regulations require approvals from local, state and federal agencies, and that can really get dicey.  Accountability for government errors, omissions, or abuse becomes difficult to administer in massive bureaucracies and from a legislator’s standpoint, I’ve seen the bureaucracy write regulations that do not follow legislative intent.  The bottom line is that regulations are part of our government system, but they need to make sense and be applied fairly.

-John

Thanks for your prayers for everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey

Article posted on August 30, 2017

Had a good talk with the folks at 103.7 this morning in Chambersburg.  One subject that came up was the stories about some House members finding left over money in accounts from last fiscal year.  I texted with a House member today who is involved in the work to identify that money.  I respect this person and better understand that this is a legitimate effort involving significant dollars.  There are still issues surrounding what can be done, but it’s encouraging to see this work to prevent tax increases on Pennsylvanians.  Probably my last blog comments on Johnny’s situation in Houston: He had no damage and is safe, and we are thankful for that.  He has friends that are not as fortunate and has a couple moving in with him until they can get resettled.  They have to be evacuated by boat before he can pick them up and take them to his new house.  I’m proud of him for helping them and others around him in need.  Thanks for all of your prayers for him and others affected by Hurricane Harvey.

-John

Thanks to the fire co. and the folks who came

Article posted on August 29, 2017

Town hall meeting in Newburg on Tuesday, August 29, 2017.

Had some office appointments this morning then stopped at the Altoona Office of Vocational Rehabilitation for their annual meeting, which focused on their 2 year modification of their vocational rehab services.  It was done through video conferencing, which went okay.  I left there to get to the Huntingdon County Chamber’s Business After Hours event in Orbisonia before driving to the Newburg-Hopewell Volunteer Fire Co. for a town hall.  We had a small group tonight; six souls braved the rain to come out.  We had questions about the budget, redistricting, taxes, Sunday hunting, and funding Planned Parenthood clinics.  Thanks to the fire company for providing the space and the folks that came.  Johnny’s been safe and hasn’t incurred any damage to his home.  His office is to be closed again tomorrow, but he may be able to get out of his neighborhood for the first time since Friday.

-John

Senate Committees to Hold Local Blight Roundtable

Article posted on August 29, 2017

HOLLIDAYSBURG (August 29, 2017) – The Senate Majority Policy Committee will host a local Blight Roundtable at the request of Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr. (R-Blair).

“We’ve invited representatives from various government entities to talk about the impacts of blight on the communities in our area,” said Senator Eichelberger. “Stakeholders will be able to describe some of the problems local governments face, share success stories and best practices, and suggest possible legislative solutions.”

WHEN:      Wednesday, September 6, 2017

     10:00 AM to 11:30 AM

WHERE:   Hollidaysburg Area Public Library

     1 Furnace Road

     Hollidaysburg, PA 16648

“I thank the Senate committee chair and members for agreeing to hear firsthand from the folks who are on the front lines of making our communities even better places to live,” said Senator Eichelberger.

MEDIA RSVP IS APPRECIATED. Please contact Patrick Schurr, Executive Assistant, at 866-509-3424(EICH) or pschurr@pasen.gov.

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Advocates for children

Article posted on August 28, 2017

At Murrell Dobbins Career & Technical Education High School in Philadelphia on Monday, August 28, 2017.

I travelled to Philadelphia today to meet with a parent group called The Educational Advocates Reaching Today’s Hardworking Students.  I met two of the leaders of this group when the Education Committee held a hearing at West Chester University a few months ago and then I met with a few of the members in my office at the Capitol where they asked if I would come to Philly and hear their concerns.  Although they had problems specific to their schools, a lot of the problems discussed are typical of what I hear around the state.  A common theme is that parents feel they are not welcome in the schools and aren’t properly informed about school policies.  This group provides information to parents and are advocates for children; I appreciated my time with them.  Johnny had a second night of heavy rain late in the evening that caused the water to rise close to his home, but none got inside.  Although it has rained all day, it hasn’t rained hard enough to pool or flood by his home at the time of this post.  He explained that, generally, the areas of Houston closest to the bayous are where the worst flooding is happening. The rain is expected to continue till Thursday, so, again, your prayers are appreciated for everyone in that region.

-John

Your prayers for these folks are appreciated

Article posted on August 27, 2017

There wasn’t much in the papers today, about state government, that is.  An editorial or two complaining about the budget delay, but that’s it.  There are still rumors out there about the House coming back next week, but that is not what I hear.  What I’m getting is that the House won’t be back until their scheduled Fall session date of September 11th, and that’s what I think is more likely.  Charlotte and I were the guests of Logan Twp., Blair County this evening at a Curve game.  This was the 9th Annual Curve Game Picnic to honor the Volunteer Fire Companies in the Township.  It was nice to meet with many of the families who volunteer their time for the fire service; I appreciate what they do.  A Johnny update: the rains came much harder late last night and he had some water coming into his garage.  It slowed toward morning and has been intermittently harder and slower since.  As of this evening, the rain wasn’t as hard and the standing water mostly subsided, but this is in the area where he lives; he knows of other parts of Houston where the water never receded.  The death toll is now at 5, up from 1 last night.  If the rain is intermittent, he and his neighbors can get through the storm without damage.  If it comes too hard for too long, the water will overcome the drainage systems and do more damage.  Your prayers for these folks are appreciated.

-John

It’s always worth the trip

Article posted on August 26, 2017

With Karen Knight at Tyrone’s Faith Day on Saturday, August 26, 2017.

I was asked to speak at Faith Day in Tyrone today and enjoyed my time with everyone.  My task at the conclusion of my remarks was to introduce my friend, Karen Knight, a talented professional singer who I first met at the Commonwealth Prayer Breakfast years ago.  It’s always worth the trip to hear her music and listen to her message.  On a personal note, I’ve had a lot of people ask me about how Johnny is doing in Houston as Hurricane Harvey hovers in that area.  So far, he’s fine.  He prepared for the storm and is hunkered down in his house.  He said this afternoon that the rain overnight was intermittent, which allowed it to drain off the roads.  It started to come down heavier this evening, however.  Please keep the people in that region in prayer; they have several more days of bad weather ahead.

-John

Congrats to all of the kids who had a successful sale

Article posted on August 25, 2017

The Blair County Drug and Alcohol Program’s Annual Breakfast had a good speaker this morning, Dr. David Loveland.  He presented information about overdose deaths relative to prior immediate circumstances, like prison confinement or residential treatment, and the immediate use of methadone or suboxone with treatment following an overdose.  He said overdoses are fatal between 25% and 50% of the time and confirmed that short term treatment is not nearly as effective as long term, an issue the legislature has been looking at recently.  His perspectives were very interesting.  This afternoon I spoke at the Agora Cyber Charter School’s Professional Development Conference in State College.  I took a look at how many students they have from this Senate District and was surprised that it is well over 1,000.  I spoke with a number of their teachers and administrators before my remarks and got a better grasp of their student population and the size and scope of their services.  One of my interns this summer is an Agora graduate and is doing well in college.  I appreciated the opportunity to be with these folks.  I ended the day by attending the last Livestock sale in my neck of the woods, Williamsburg’s, where I bought another pig.  Congrats to all of the kids who had a successful sale.

-John

One of the best games

Article posted on August 24, 2017

I was a guest this afternoon on Citizen’s Bulletin Radio Talk Show where I was interviewed by Anna McCauslin from Americans For Prosperity.  We talked mostly about education issues and the budget.  I appreciated the opportunity to be on the show, which airs in southeastern PA.  I had a couple of meetings, attended a Blair County Chamber Business After Hours, then drove the truck in the Williamsburg Community Farm Show Ag Parade.  They had a nice turnout with a lot of kids who wanted candy, which I know is shocking.  The Bucs had a tough time against the Dodgers over the past few days, but I caught the last few innings of last night’s 1-0 win, and have to say that it was one of the best games I’ve seen in a long time.

-John

Concentrate on the revenue issue

Article posted on August 23, 2017

I’m hearing a consensus opinion that the House won’t be back until their regular Fall session schedule on September 11.  The Senate is scheduled to be back on the 18th, and I don’t think there is any thought of coming back early unless the House acts.  The Code bills sent to the House were agreed to by four of the five parties involved in the budget negotiations, the Senate R’s and D’s, the House D’s and the Governor.  Of course, not all members of the caucuses agreed to the bills, but the leaders did.  One bill was finished, the Welfare Code, and the Education Code, I understand, has the votes in the House, so we’re down to three codes and the non-preferred bills, which provide an allocation to the state related universities and U Penn’s Vet School.  There might be movement on the Education Code then work could be done on bills that are close.  The big problem of raising revenue remains, but passing a good Code bill gets more rules in place and concentrates everyone’s attention on the revenue issue.

-John