Senator Lisa Baker E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Kayden’s Law Update
  • Senator Yudichak’s Upcoming Retirement from the Pennsylvania Senate
  • Senate Concludes Hearings on State Budget
  • How to Protect Yourself Against Tick-Borne Diseases
  • Access Nursing Home Inspections Online
  • March is National Kidney Month

Kayden’s Law Update

Kayden's Law 

Pennsylvania could soon receive $25 million in federal funding to keep children safe through the passage of Senate Bill 78, also known as Kayden’s Law, which Sen. Steve Santarsiero and I have worked on during this legislative session.  Kayden Mancuso, in whose memory the bill was named, was a seven-year-old from Lower Makefield Township.  In August 2018, her biological father brutally murdered her during an unsupervised weekend visit.  The visit had been ordered by the court in the custody case between the father and Kayden’s mom, Kathy Sherlock, despite evidence of abusive and violent behavior by the father.

Last week, the United States Congress passed the 2022 Reauthorization of Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA), which makes $25 million in new federal grants available to states that modernize and reform their child custody laws.  We applaud Congress for funding state efforts to reform their child custody laws.  We were proud to see our bill, Kayden’s Law, pass the state Senate and hope Pennsylvania can soon take advantage of this new federal funding to protect children. Read our full press release here.

Senator Yudichak’s Upcoming Retirement from the Pennsylvania Senate

This week Senator John Yudichak announced that he will not be seeking re-election to the #PASenate in the 2022 election cycle.  It is no secret that John and I have a terrific working relationship, partnering to advance the interests of the families and communities in Luzerne County.  Our joint efforts have included fixing problems, advancing meaningful legislation, responding to emergencies, advocating for job creation, securing funding for community projects, and resisting the detrimental plans and actions of the Wolf Administration.  This was true no matter which side of the aisle he was on, because John has focused more on delivering results than on making political points.

As a legislator, John is hard-working, full of ideas, and lives up to his word.  He is a persistent battler, never a pushover.  His first question in looking at any issue is: ‘What about the workers?’  As a person, John honors his parents and is devoted to his family, which certainly are highly admirable qualities.

I’m proud to call John a colleague. He will leave public office with a considerable record of legislative advocacy, successful community projects, and exemplary constituent service.  Wherever his professional path next leads, the people-oriented approach he uses will undoubtedly ensure his future success.

Senate Concludes Hearings on State Budget

The Senate Appropriations Committee this week concluded four weeks of public hearings on the proposed 2022-23 state budget.

Gov. Tom Wolf proposed a $45.7 billion budget that would increase spending by $4.5 billion. Based on projections, this will create a $1.3 billion deficit in the following fiscal year and produce a $13 billion deficit by FY 2026-27.

Among the key points from the series of hearings, which began Feb. 22:

  • The Independent Fiscal Office warned that revenue projections Gov. Wolf used to balance the budget could be revised downward due to national and international events.
  • State Treasurer Stacy Garrity sees the potential for sizable deficits in future years that would require tax hikes, new taxes or spending cuts to erase the deficits.
  • A significant portion of department and agency employees continue to work from home with the possibility of doing so permanently. Committee members sought assurances work would still be done efficiently and citizen data would be secure.

The Senate will use findings from the hearings to craft an alternative spending plan to the governor’s, with the aim of enacting a final 2022-23 state budget by the June 30 constitutional deadline.

You can find video and recaps of every budget hearing at PASenateGOP.com.

How to Protect Yourself Against Tick-Borne Diseases

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), along with Wyoming County Conservation District (WCCD), encourage visitors to the Iroquois Trail in Wyoming County, to protect themselves against the rare Deer Tick Virus (DTV), a potentially serious tickborne disease.  In the past several weeks, DTV has been found at high levels for the first time along the Iroquois Trail, a county-owned recreation area near Tunkhannock, and at two other locations across the state.

The Deer Tick Virus is rare in the United States, but positive cases have increased in recent years. Initial symptoms of a DTV infection may include fever, headache, vomiting and weakness. Some people who are infected with DTV experience no symptoms, and therefore infection may go undetected. However, 91% of patients treated for DTV infections develop severe neuroinvasive disease.

Recommended precautions for anyone venturing outdoors include:

  • Apply tick repellents containing permethrin to clothing, and EPA-registered insect repellents such as DEET to exposed skin before entering the outdoors.
  • Wear light colored outer clothing and tuck shirts into pants, and pants into socks.
  • Walk in the centers of trails and avoid wooded and brushy areas with low-growing vegetation and tall grasses.
  • After returning home, remove all clothing, take a shower and place clothing into the dryer on high heat to kill any lingering ticks. Examine gear, such as backpacks, for ticks.
  • Conduct a full-body tick check.
  • Check over any pets exposed to likely tick habitats each time they return indoors.
  • If a tick is found attached to your skin, use tweezers to remove it carefully, including the head. Monitor for symptoms and contact your doctor with any questions.

For more information, view DEP’s press release here.

Access Nursing Home Inspections Online

Pennsylvanians with loved ones in long-term care can access a searchable database of nursing homes to view the results of inspections and complaint investigations.

The database includes patient care surveys, building safety surveys, size of the nursing home, type of ownership and additional information about each of the nursing homes in the state. The Department of Health oversees 688 nursing homes with more than 88,000 beds.

If you see something that may jeopardize patients’ safety or well-being, you can file an anonymous complaint by calling 1-800-254-5164, filling out an online form, emailing c-ncomplai@pa.gov or sending a letter in the mail

March is National Kidney Month

More than 37 million people in the United States are estimated to have chronic kidney disease and nearly 90% of them are unaware.

If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, you are at higher risk for developing kidney disease. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has useful information during National Kidney Month and year-round.

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