Baker Joins Senate Republican Leadership Team

(HARRISBURG) – As part of the new Senate Republican Caucus leadership team for the 2023-24 legislative session, today, Senator Lisa Baker (R-20) was appointed by Interim Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-39) to serve as the Senate Majority Caucus Administrator.

In the position of Senate Majority Caucus Administrator, Baker will have a greater role in shaping and advocating solutions and reforms. She will take the place of Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46), who will serve as Caucus Secretary for the upcoming session.

“I am honored to be appointed to serve as a member of the Senate Republican Leadership team for the 2023-24 session,” Baker said. “Being the sole member from the northeastern portion of our state, I will have the chance to be an even stronger voice for the communities that I am privileged to represent.  I am excited about this new opportunity to help determine the General Assembly’s agenda and engage in bipartisan work to accomplish results for the people of Pennsylvania.”

With the start of the new legislative session in January, Senator Baker will begin serving her fifth term representing the 20th Senatorial District, which includes substantial parts of Luzerne and Wayne counties and all of Pike, Susquehanna, and Wyoming counties.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Kate Flessner kflessner@pasen.gov 717-787-7428 

Senator Lisa Baker Working to Simplify Grantor Trust Process for Pennsylvania Taxpayers

(HARRISBURG) – Legislation to simplify and streamline the process for irrevocable grantor trusts was unanimously passed by the Pennsylvania Senate, according to Senator Lisa Baker (R-20), who introduced the measure. 

An irrevocable grantor trust is a type of trust that cannot be modified, amended, or terminated, without the permission of the grantor’s beneficiaries.  These types of trusts are often established by someone as a means of reducing taxes and protecting property.  In many cases the grantor, who establishes the trust, wants to pay the income taxes, so that the trust’s beneficiaries are not negatively impacted. Senate Bill 1321 would remove the present barrier, allowing grantors to meet this obligation if they choose to do so.

“This option has been available at the federal level for decades, and we are the only state that does not permit the grantor of a trust to pay any income taxes that may be due,” Senator Lisa Baker said.  “It is our hope that this legislation will increase our competitiveness and encourage establishment of trusts here in Pennsylvania while simplifying the process for taxpayers.”

Senator Lisa Baker noted that the bill was developed with and is supported by the Joint State Government Commission’s Advisory Committee on Decedents’ Estates Laws. 

Senate Bill 1321 has been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Kate Flessner kflessner@pasen.gov 717-787-7428  

VFW Service Officer Available to Help Veterans at Senator Baker’s Dallas Office on November 4

(DALLAS) – State Senator Lisa Baker (R-20) invites veterans to schedule an appointment to meet with a VFW Service Officer at her Dallas office location. 

Senator Baker encourages veterans of all ages and from all service eras to utilize the Pennsylvania Veterans of Foreign Wars Service Officer Network, to receive free information and assistance for government benefits.  This assistance may include VA healthcare, compensation, pension, education and dependent benefits. Surviving spouses can also use these Service Officers at no charge to learn about their eligibility for VA benefits.

“Thanks to the sacrifices of our veterans and their families, we are able to enjoy everyday freedoms that continue to make our country a unique beacon of hope across the world,” Senator Baker said.  “During challenging economic times, many veterans continue to need our assistance, now more than ever.  I encourage any veteran or spouse with questions regarding benefits, to schedule a time to meet with a Service Officer.”

On Friday, November 4, the VFW Service Officer will be available for scheduled appointments at Senator Baker’s office, 22 Dallas Shopping Center, Memorial Highway, Dallas. All veterans, not just VFW members, can request appointments between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. To schedule an appointment at this location please call (570) 675-3931.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Williams Twilliams@pasen.gov 570-675-3931

Senate Approves Measures Expanding Access to Lifesaving Breast Cancer Screenings

(HARRISBURG) – Access to breast cancer screenings would be expanded with no out-of-pocket costs for people at high risk, as part of two measures advanced by the Pennsylvania Senate, according to Senator Lisa Baker (R-20). 

Senator Lisa Baker noted that breast cancer is the second-most common cancer in women in the United States after skin cancers, and early detection is the key to saving lives.

“October is ‘Breast Cancer Awareness Month’, serving as a reminder of the importance of coming together to help combat this deadly disease,” Senator Lisa Baker said.  “The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 1225 and Senate Bill 1330, which will hopefully play a meaningful role in helping to prevent more of our mothers, daughters, sisters and friends from being impacted by breast cancer.  Advancement of these bi-partisan bills represents a continued commitment to ensuring that women who often care for everyone else in their lives, have access to the care that they need and deserve.”

Senate Bill 1225 requires MRI insurance coverage, with no out-of-pocket costs, for all individuals with high-risk factors such as a personal history of breast cancer, family history, dense breast tissue, a genetic predisposition or previous radiation therapy.

Senate Bill 1330 requires insurance coverage of all costs for genetic counseling and genetic testing for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutation if a person is diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer or has a family history of breast or ovarian cancer.

While testing positive for a gene mutation does not mean an individual will get cancer, it does mean they have a much higher risk of developing a hereditary cancer.

The two bills have been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Kate Flessner kflessner@pasen.gov 717-787-7428

Senate Appropriations Committee Advances Senator Lisa Baker’s Juvenile Justice Reform Bills

(HARRISBURG) – The Senate Appropriations Committee has overwhelmingly approved a package of juvenile justice reform bills, sponsored by Senator Lisa Baker (R-20).

Senator Lisa Baker explained that the legislation was introduced as a result of the report released last year by the Juvenile Justice Task Force (JJTF).  The JJTF concluded an in depth examination of our juvenile justice system in Pennsylvania and put forth 35 recommendations for change.

“With a total of 30 members on the JJTF, the voices and perspectives of juveniles, probation officers, district attorneys, public defenders and victim and juvenile advocates were all shared,” Senator Lisa Baker said.  “Substantial and impactful changes to long-held policies requires comprehensive examination and focus.  It is critical that we find the appropriate balance to implement fair reforms that institute greater respect, hold juveniles accountable for their actions, and encourage positive growth.”

The four bills advanced by the Senate Appropriations Committee include:

  • Senate Bill 1226 – Addresses JJTF Recommendation 23, by creating a standardized statewide expungement process.
  • Senate Bill 1227 – Addresses JJTF Recommendation 2, by amending the Human Services Code to include both juvenile justice and child welfare funding goals.
  • Senate Bill 1228 – Addresses JJTF Recommendation 16, by keeping youth in out-of-home placement no longer than the timeframe supported by research.
  • Senate Bill 1229 – Addresses JJTF Recommendation 5, by amending the Human Services Code to provide funding for indigent juvenile defense services.

Senator Lisa Baker noted that work on these bills has been a collective effort along with Senator Jay Costa and Senator Steve Santarsiero.

“I am pleased that these bi-partisan reforms have been advanced by the Appropriations Committee, and I look forward to continuing to advocate for these, and other JJTF recommendations in the future.”

Senate Bills 1226, 1227, 1228 and 1229 now advance to the full Senate for consideration.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Kate Flessner kflessner@pasen.gov 717-787-7428  

Senator Lisa Baker Urges Emergency Crews to Seek Funding

(DALLAS) – Local volunteer fire and ambulance services can now apply online for state grants to help fund their operations, according to Senator Lisa Baker (R-20).

Senator Lisa Baker explained that the Volunteer Fire Company and Volunteer Ambulance Service Grant Program is one of the most important that the General Assembly funds each year.  The online application for the grants is available through October 21 at www.osfc.pa.gov. The program is in place to help Fire and EMS cover the rising costs of training, equipment, recruitment, retention and more.

“As the costs for equipment and training continues to rise, it is imperative that we provide support to those who help serve our communities,” Senator Lisa Baker said.  “Our local volunteer fire and ambulance staff deserve our greatest respect and gratitude, and it is my hope that many will benefit from this state funding.”

Grants range from a minimum of $2,500 to a maximum of $15,000 for volunteer fire companies and rescue companies or $10,000 for volunteer ambulance companies.

Volunteer fire companies that also provide volunteer ambulance service are eligible to apply for both a volunteer fire company grant and a volunteer ambulance service grant.

 

MEDIA CONTACT:  Tom Williams Twilliams@pasen.gov  (570)-675-3931

VFW Service Officer Available to Help Veterans at Senator Baker’s Dallas Office on October 14, 2022

(DALLAS) – State Senator Lisa Baker (R-20) invites veterans to schedule an appointment to meet with a VFW Service Officer at her Dallas office location.  Appointments with a Service Officer are available at no charge.  

Senator Baker encourages veterans of all ages and from all service eras to utilize the Pennsylvania Veterans of Foreign Wars Service Officer Network, to receive free information and assistance for government benefits.  This assistance may include VA healthcare, compensation, pension, education and dependent benefits. Surviving spouses can also use these Service Officers at no charge to learn about their eligibility for VA benefits.

“We thank all veterans for providing us with the everyday freedoms Americans enjoy and making sure our country remains a source of hope across the world,” Senator Baker said. “Many veterans continue to need our assistance during challenging economic times, now more than ever.  I encourage any veteran or spouse with questions regarding benefits, to schedule a time to meet with a Service Officer.”

On Friday, October 14, the VFW Service Officer will be available for scheduled appointments at Senator Baker’s office, 22 Dallas Shopping Center, Memorial Highway, Dallas. All veterans, not just VFW members, can request appointments between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. To schedule an appointment at this location please call (570) 675-3931.

 

MEDIA CONTACT:  Tom Williams
                                           twilliams@pasen.gov
                                           (570)675-3931

DCNR Celebrates Addition of First Park in Wyoming County

Tunkhannock, PA – Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn today joined a department celebration of the addition of Vosburg Neck State Park in Wyoming County into the Pennsylvania system.

“DCNR is extremely excited to welcome Vosburg Neck into the state parks system – the first state park in Wyoming County,” Dunn said. “I look forward to seeing the impact this beautiful new park will have in this region as it will provide tremendous new outdoor recreation opportunities. Thank you to Governor Tom Wolf and the state legislators who supported this new park and the continued investment in our public lands.”

Vosburg Neck is 669 acres being acquired with the assistance of the North Branch Land Trust. The park offers scenic hiking opportunities, including a climb to an impressive westerly oriented vista, pleasant strolls along a former railroad bed, invigorating shared use trails, and significant public access for water-based recreation to the North Branch of the Susquehanna River. 

“The North Branch Land Trust is tremendously excited that the Howland Preserve will join Pennsylvania’s award-winning state park system,” North Branch Land Trust Board Chair Christina Taylor said. “We have been honored to protect and steward this uniquely beautiful property for almost 20 years. Now, we are proud to be a part of this historic moment as Wyoming County receives its first state park. We have every confidence that the Howland Preserve will become an important destination and provide outdoor recreation opportunities for residents and visitors alike.”

Vosburg Neck, previously known as the Howland Preserve, joins Susquehanna Riverlands in York County and Big Elk Creek in Chester County as the three new additions to Pennsylvania’s state park system, bringing the total number of state parks to 124. The names are temporary, as final names for the state parks will be decided during the planning process.

Including the addition of Washington Crossing to the state park system in 2016, Governor Wolf has added four parks to the system during his eight years in office. This is more than any governor has added in the past 40 years.

“What a great moment for all the individuals and groups who have advocated and worked tirelessly to have the first state park established in Wyoming County,” state Sen. Lisa Baker said. “This is a significant victory for conservation and recreation and solidifies the area’s reputation for featuring natural attractions and outdoor activities.”

In keeping with the state park selection process, each of the new locations has criteria that warrant conservation. The Vosburg Neck site will be Wyoming County’s first state park, while the Big Elk Creek location is under significant pressure from residential and commercial development. In York County, the Susquehanna Riverlands site adjoins and builds on large tracts of already preserved open space. Also, each site is within a half-hour of heavily populated areas where land for recreation use is often at a premium.

People can access Vosburg Neck and the other new state parks; however, all have limited visitor amenities such as parking and trails. A master planning process for each park will include evaluation of natural resources, visitor amenities, and recreation opportunities, and the chance for the public to provide input.

Find more information about Pennsylvania state parks on the DCNR website.

VFW Service Officer Available to Help Veterans at Senator Baker’s Hawley Office on October 6, 2022

(HAWLEY) – State Senator Lisa Baker (R-20) invites veterans to schedule an appointment to meet with a VFW Service Officer at her Hawley office location.  Appointments with a Service Officer are available at no charge.  

Senator Baker encourages veterans of all ages and from all service eras to utilize the Pennsylvania Veterans of Foreign Wars Service Officer Network, to receive free information and assistance for government benefits.  This assistance may include VA healthcare, compensation, pension, education and dependent benefits. Surviving spouses can also use these Service Officers at no charge to learn about their eligibility for VA benefits.

“Veterans are the backbone of America and we owe them all a debt of gratitude for their service and sacrifice,” Senator Baker said.  “Many veterans continue to need our assistance during these challenging economic times, now more than ever.  I encourage any veteran or spouse with questions regarding benefits, to schedule a time to meet with a Service Officer.”

On Thursday, October 6, the VFW Service Officer will be available for scheduled appointments at Senator Baker’s office, 2512 Route 6, Hawley. All veterans, not just VFW members, can request appointments between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. To schedule an appointment at this location please call (570) 226-5960.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Williams twilliams@pasen.gov (570) 675-3931

Section of Road Named in Honor of Fallen Firefighter

 

(DALLAS) – Signage designating a section of SR 309, located between SR 1026 in Luzerne County and SR 29 in Wyoming County, as the Edward L. Nulton Sr. Memorial Highway was unveiled on Monday, September 26, 2022, according to Senator Lisa Baker (R-20).

Nulton, a Kunkle firefighter, was hit by a dump truck while directing traffic at an accident scene in Monroe Township, Wyoming County in 2018. Having never fully recovered from his injuries, he tragically died one year later.

The bill to honor Nulton with this designation was sponsored by Senator Lisa Baker and passed by the General Assembly last year. 

“A dedication such as this has a purpose beyond giving life to the name and memory of someone who contributed in exceptional and indispensable ways to public safety,” Senator Lisa Baker said. “It serves as a reminder of the tragic consequences when traffic safety laws and driving awareness are not adhered to, more powerful than the customary road signs.”

Senator Lisa Baker, Representative Karen Boback, Representative Aaron Kaufer, PennDOT, Pennsylvania State Police and Mr. Nulton’s family, friends and fellow Kunkle Fire and Ambulance volunteers came together to take part in Monday’s unveiling.

“You could always count on Ed to be here, ready and willing to serve those in need within our community,” Kunkle Fire Chief Jack Dodson, said.  “This highway designation will be a way in which we can continue to remember our courageous friend, whose presence is greatly missed.”

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Williams Twilliams@pasen.gov (570)-675-3931