Senator Lisa Baker Takes Oath of Office, Begins Her Term Voting for Open and Accessible Government

Harrisburg – State Senator Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne) took the oath of office in the State Capitol on Tuesday this week, beginning her first term representing citizens of the 20th district.

“I am honored to serve and look forward to a productive legislative session,” Baker said. “We have many challenges facing us, including property tax reform, making health care more affordable and bringing more jobs to this area. I am eager to get to work on these and many other issues of concern to our region.”

Baker was recently appointed to serve as chair of the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee. She will also sit on the Public Health and Welfare, Education, Community and Economic Development, and Communications and Technology Committees.

One issue she will be pushing hard for in the coming session is reforming government to make it more answerable to the citizens of Pennsylvania.

As part of her push for greater transparency, she voted for a set of changes to the rules governing how the Senate operates. The new rules, developed with bipartisan input, are designed to make the Senate process more open and accountable to the public.

“This reform package is a major step forward in making the Senate more open and visible and restoring public confidence in the legislative process,” Baker said. “As a new member who is committed to change, I feel that it is crucial that we have clear rules that will make the process of governing more open and accountable.”

Under the new rules:

  • Amendments will be posted to the Internet before being offered on the Senate floor.

  • Session times will be limited to between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m.

  • The Senate will wait at least six hours before voting on an amended bill or a conference committee report.

  • All roll call votes will be posted on the Internet as soon as possible after a vote, but always within 24 hours of a vote.

  • Committee votes on bills will be posted on the Internet within 48 hours of the vote.

  • The Senate’s Legislative Journal – which includes the full text of all floor debates – will be posted on the Internet upon Senate approval of the Journal or within 45 days, whichever is earlier.

  • An updated fiscal note will be prepared if a bill is amended after consideration by the Senate Appropriations Committee, if the amendment has a fiscal impact.

Prior to being elected to the state Senate in 2006, Senator Baker held various leadership positions within Pennsylvania state government. Senator Baker served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Governors Tom Ridge and Mark Schweiker, Director of Tom Ridge’s Northeast Regional Office, Chief of Staff to State Senator Charles Lemmond and Research Analyst to State Senator Robert C. Jubelirer. In each of these roles, she worked with officials from federal, state and local governments, the business community, and other concerned citizens, to create a better Pennsylvania.

Senator Baker most recently served as the Executive Director of The Blue Ribbon Foundation, which was established in 2002 to support health and wellness initiatives in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.

Active in community and civic organizations, Senator Baker currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Children’s Service Center, the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations, the United Way of Wyoming Valley, and the Advisory Board of Penn State Wilkes-Barre. She is a past-member of the Board of Directors of Leadership Wilkes-Barre, the Council of Trustees of Shippensburg University, and served as Chairperson for the United Way of Wyoming Valley’s 2004-2005 Community Campaign.

Senator Baker is a graduate of Dallas High School and Shippensburg University where she received a B.A. in Government Administration. She is a graduate of the Anne B. Anstine Excellence in Public Service Series, the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and the Strategic Leadership for State Executives program at the Governor’s Center at Duke University.

Senator Baker resides in Lehman Township, Luzerne County, with her husband of 21 years, Gary, and their son Carson, a ninth-grade student at Lake-Lehman High School.

 Contact: Brian Grove
bgrove@pasen.gov
(570) 675-3931