Having taken the oath of office to begin her second term, state Senator Lisa Baker says the hard work of problem-solving needs to begin immediately.
“Dealing with the substantial budget deficit is going to require a lot of time and difficult choices. But there are numerous matters, ranging from transportation funding to juvenile justice reform, where responsible agreement was not reached under the Rendell Administration. These issues are automatically part of the agenda,” Baker said.
Baker kept her chairmanship of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee. “This committee serves some very important constituencies – veterans, firefighters, emergency responders – and deals with significant issues. It has been an active and productive committee, in terms of moving legislation, holding public hearings, and investigating problems, and that will continue to be true in the new session.”
“There are very few areas of state government that will be off-limits as we search for savings and cost cuts to deal with an enormous multi-billion dollar budget deficit. But we cannot in good conscience cut corners on the services and care promised to Pennsylvania’s veterans. I feel strongly on this point – they did their duty, and now it is time for us to meet our obligations,” she added.
In her role as part of the Corbett transition team, Baker has submitted recommendations for overhauling and redirecting the state’s homeland security effort.
Legislative and community debate over the economic benefits and environmental consequences of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale is ongoing. “New regulations have helped, but that is not the full answer. We have to find a way to reach agreement on getting money to protect communities and the environment from the effects of natural gas drilling,” she stated.
Baker will reintroduce bills to implement recommendations from the Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice.
The Senate is likely to take early action on a package of reform bills that died in the House last session. The change of leadership in the House improves the prospects for reform proposals becoming law.
Contact: Jennifer Wilson