EMS Staffing Waiver

Senator Lisa Baker (R-20) joined with other members of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee for a press conference to highlight legislation that addresses issues faced by the emergency medical services (EMS) community. In the attached video, Senator Lisa Baker underscores the importance of increased funding for EMS, as well as extending a COVID-19 waiver, which would enable emergency responders to help more people. It would allow certified emergency personnel – such as first responders with specific first aid, CPR and emergency vehicle training – to drive ambulances with an emergency medical technician (EMT) on board.

House Bill 2097 would implement the wavier extension, and was unanimously passed by the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee today. The bill now advances to the full Senate for consideration.

Baker, Fritz Announce Herrick Township and Forest City Residents, Visitors to Benefit from Local Improvement Projects

(HARRISBURG) – Today, Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne/Monroe/Pike/Susquehanna/Wayne/Wyoming) and Rep. Jonathan Fritz (R-Susquehanna/Wayne) announced residents of two Susquehanna County communities, and those visiting the area, will soon benefit from the completion of local improvement projects. Herrick Township was awarded $75,334 in state funding for the Herrick Park improvement project as part of the Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program. Forest City Borough will receive $302,879 to complete the Forest City sidewalk project, through the Multimodal Transportation Fund.  The funding was approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA), at its April 21st meeting in Harrisburg. 

Herrick Park Improvement Project

Improvements to Herrick Park include creating a walking path around the perimeter of the park; installing a gravity rail track and play area safety surface; providing ADA-accessible picnic tables and a grill at the pavilion area; and resurfacing the existing connecting pathways and parking lot.

“Our local parks serve as a great asset to our communities as they provide an open space for residents to enjoy the outdoors and for children to take part in recreational activities,” said Fritz. “I am pleased to see that Herrick Park will now be able to make needed upgrades and continue to provide a safer, more inclusive area for locals to take advantage of.”

“Over the past year, the need for outdoor recreational opportunities for families and children has become even more apparent,” Baker said.  “Herrick Park is a true asset to our community, and this investment will help foster a safe space for residents to continue to utilize for decades to come.”

Funds coming from the Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program are used for planning, acquisition, development, rehabilitation and repair of greenways, recreational trails, open space, parks and beautification projects.

Forest City Sidewalk Project

Funding approved for the Forest City Borough sidewalk project will allow for the installation of approximately 4,000 feet of sidewalk along State Route 247. The project will complete the section of sidewalk that connects Browndale to Forest City.  Nearly two-thirds of the sidewalk on the Browndale side was completed last year, but funding ran out, forcing pedestrians to walk on the roadway for the remaining stretch.  The project also includes the installation of ramps, crosswalks, and guide rails. 

“As always, credit goes to the local officials, leaders, and residents who documented the need,” Baker said. “Removing worrying threats to public safety and increasing accessibility to local recreational opportunities lifts the quality of life.  State money allows this project to move from the to-do list toward completion.”  

“I am pleased to see our municipalities benefit and come together through this much needed project,” said Fritz. “Investing locally through these projects allows us to become a better, stronger community that takes pride in where they come from.”

“The awarding of the Multimodal Transportation grant to Forest City Borough for the completion of the sidewalk project linking Browndale to Forest City could not have happened without the support and involvement of Senator Baker and Representative Fritz,” said Linda Zefran, Bayer Corporation Strategic Account Manager.  “They both have been extremely instrumental in supporting this grant to complete the sidewalk project which will undoubtedly benefit the businesses and residents of our community.”

The Multimodal Transportation Fund provides grants to encourage economic development and ensure that a safe and reliable system of transportation is available to the residents of the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) was established as an independent agency of the Commonwealth to administer Pennsylvania’s economic stimulus packages. The CFA holds fiduciary responsibility over the funding of programs and investments in Pennsylvania’s economic growth.  More information regarding programs administered by the CFA can be found on the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development website: https://dced.pa.gov/programs-funding/commonwealth-financing-authority-cfa/

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Senator Baker – Kate Flessner 717-787-7428 kflessner@pasen.gov

Representative Fritz – Abby Chiumento 717-260-6617 achiumento@pahousegop.com         

Senate Approves Liability Assistance for Businesses, Health Care Providers, PPE Manufacturers, Schools, and Nonprofits

 

Harrisburg—Health care providers, schools, businesses, nonprofits and others who followed COVID-19 public health directives would be protected from unfair lawsuits for good-faith actions they took during the pandemic under legislation approved by the Senate today, according to Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20).

“In ordinary times, closing any door to the courthouse would not be a preferred step for many,” said Baker, who authored several key components of the package. “Given the immense challenges we are confronting, it is hard to see how we could responsibly avoid such an action.”

The legislation aims to head off waves of lawsuits that could bankrupt already struggling employers and unfairly harm institutions who did their best to follow the changing and sometimes conflicting guidance provided by state and federal governments.

“When I talk to struggling business owners and nonprofit organizations, they express fear that one lawsuit could be their death sentence,” Baker explained. “Those fighting to stay open do not need to incur litigation costs and potentially get hit with judgments on top of all the other pressures and stresses afflicting them.”

Complete immunity is not provided for anyone. The measure simply ensures that if people or entities follow public health directives, they will not be held responsible for any harm that allegedly occurred. Health care providers, PPE manufacturers, schools, universities, childcare providers, businesses, nonprofits, and governments would still be responsible for any intentionally wrongful or reckless acts.

Liability protection is also offered under the proposal for farmers who want to host agritourism events like hayrides, farm tours, and corn mazes. The site must post specific warning signs, and have a signed, written agreement with visitors that they have acknowledged the risk of participating in a particular activity.

“Not a day goes by without news about business closures, layoffs, and permanent job losses,” Baker added. “If we cannot put a tourniquet on the economic bleeding, the fiscal distress felt by families will deepen and the hill of eventual economic recovery will be steeper.”

House Bill 1737 was returned to the House of Representatives, as amended, for further consideration.