Senator Lisa Baker is pleased to retain her position as chair of the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee and is planning a busy schedule of public hearings and consideration of bills.
“There is a lot of important work to be done for our veterans, for emergency responders, and for community protection. The issues this committee handles involve concerns I hear about constantly, from families, from local officials, and from service providers,” Baker said.
“We intend to aggressively follow up on the challenges facing many of our veterans – joblessness, homelessness, insufficient access to higher education or job training. Although strengthened efforts by government and private organizations are producing some needed progress, the many returning veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq are going to place additional strain on the system. We have to be prepared to meet our obligations to those who have honorably served our nation,” she stated.
“The damage suffered when Hurricane Sandy struck in late October was the latest reminder that there is always more to do in terms of emergency planning, community protection, and disaster response,” she pointed out.
Baker cited a new wellsite safety law, expanded firefighter grants, and the newly established Veterans Trust Fund as major accomplishments during the last legislative session where her committee did substantial groundwork on a bipartisan basis.
Senator Baker’s other committee assignments are:
Appropriations – “The Appropriations Committee is where you can really find out what the hundreds of proposed bills considered are likely to cost, and to begin to make a judgment on whether the spending can be justified by the results or not. The other advantage is the chance to question department and agency heads about programs and priorities during the annual budget hearings. It is a good place to give meaning to public demands for greater accountability in state government.”
Aging & Youth – “With all the emphasis on controlling state spending in recent years, which will continue in 2013, we have to ensure that the quality and access to programs vital to children and seniors are not diminished.”
Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure – “This committee has primary jurisdiction over the Public Utility Commission, which means work will be done here on consequential issues such as pipeline standards and oversight. Although we did extend federal safety standards to most pipelines last session, those same requirements need to be expanded to Class 1 lines, which are located where much of the drilling is occurring.”
Game & Fisheries – “There are a lot of active sportsmen and women in our area, and their interests go beyond the traditional hunting and fishing issues to include matters such as water quality and woodland protection. I am fortunate to have dedicated individuals serving on an advisory committee, who provide perspective and suggestions that are very helpful in avoiding conflicts and solving problems.”
Public Health & Welfare – “This committee will have a say on many of the recommendations for upgrading state standards and practices for protecting children from abuse that have emerged in the wake of the Sandusky scandal.”
Contact: Jennifer Wilson