Senator Baker E-Newsletter

View this email in a browser

In this Update:

  • Work Continues on the 2024-25 State Budget
  • New Law Modernizes Professional Licensure for Engineers, Surveyors and Geologists
  • Report on Flood Insurance Access and Affordability in Pennsylvania
  • Opening Senate Session with Prayer
  • Bill Limiting Smartphone Use in Schools Passes Senate
  • Senate Advances Bill to Allow Year-round Motorcycle Inspections
  • Scenes from the 20th District Featured Photo:  Old Farm on 42nd Street, Dallas

Work Continues on the 2024-25 State Budget

Our Senate Republican Caucus remains committed to producing a pro-growth budget which will empower Pennsylvanians and is equally honest with taxpayers about our state’s fiscal health both now and in the future. We have been diligently working to come to consensus on a final product. Additional session days will be added as needed to complete the budget as quickly as possible.

Learn more about the process of enacting the 2024-25 state budget and watch the Senate in session here.

New Law Modernizes Professional Licensure for Engineers, Surveyors and Geologists

Legislation I sponsored modernizing the Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law was recently signed into law.

Senate Bill 403 – now Act 32 of 2024 – resolves long-standing issues and updates critical provisions to align the law with current professional standards and practices. It permits the required four years of work experience for obtaining a professional engineer or professional land surveyor license to be completed either before or after receiving an engineer intern or surveyor-in-training certificate. This change enables the state oversight board to recognize and evaluate an applicant’s professional experience regardless of when it was obtained, thereby streamlining the licensure process.

Modernizing our professional licensure laws ensures that Pennsylvania remains at the forefront of engineering, surveying and geological sciences. I am proud of the collaboration and perseverance throughout several legislative sessions to get this bill to the governor’s desk.

The act now allows distance learning courses to count toward continuing education requirements if they relate to professional licensure and have verifiable hours of instruction. This update supports modern learning methods and ongoing professional development. It also includes technical changes, ensuring clarity and coherence in its application and enforcement.

Report on Flood Insurance Access and Affordability in Pennsylvania

The Flood Insurance Premium Assistance Task Force presented its Flood Insurance Premium Assistance Task Force Final Report, which includes recommendations designed to improve the affordability and accessibility of flood insurance, bolster flood resiliency, increase flood risk mitigation and protect Pennsylvanians. I was proud to serve as a member representing the Senate Republican Caucus.

The many destructive weather events experienced across Pennsylvania over the past decade present difficult challenges for communities and families. The frequency of high damage events and the rising costs of recovery efforts are roiling insurance markets. 

In other states, we have seen insurance companies pull out, restrict coverage, and raise premiums beyond the ability of many households and small businesses to pay. This is a crucial juncture for us to consider some fundamental changes before our situation deteriorates into crisis. 

There are broad questions about flood protections, mitigation measures and financial coverage that require practical and effective answers. This task force was a good avenue for giving all sides the chance to participate, raising the discussion above partisan or philosophical considerations.

The report’s recommendations encompass key pillars of affordability, risk mitigation, incentives, and education and outreach. The Task Force is recommending:  

  • Establishing an Office of Community Rating System Assistance (CRSA) and Expand Grant Funding within the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA)
  • Improving Disclosures During the Home-buying Process. 
  • Incorporating Continuing Education Credits Across Professional Roles.  
  • Enhancing Education and Outreach.  
  • Incentivizing Home Mitigation through Tax Credits.  
  • Enhancing Coverage for Water Damage. 
  • Incorporating Flood Resiliency into Building Codes. 
  • Proposing a Pennsylvania Flood Insurance Relief Act; and  
  • Studying Further Innovative Solutions. 

Offering the Opening Prayer for Senate Session

Bill Limiting Smartphone Use in Schools Passes Senate

The Senate this week approved legislation to improve students’ mental health and academic performance by limiting their use of smartphones in school.

Since the early 2010s, there has been a steep decline in mental health in children, and their academic performance is suffering. Children’s compromised mental health, social skills and academic performance directly correlates to the rise of smartphones and social media apps.

Senate Bill 1207 would establish the Cell Phone Lockable Bag Pilot Program until Dec. 1, 2026. The School Safety and Security Committee would award grants to purchase secure, lockable smartphone bags in which students would deposit their mobile devices until the end of the school day.

The bill would also require schools participating in the program to create and post online a policy prohibiting the use of smartphones during school time. It must include exemptions for students who have a documented medical condition – such as diabetes – that requires the use of a phone.

Senate Advances Bill to Allow Year-round Motorcycle Inspections

The Senate passed legislation to allow safety inspections to be performed year-round on motorcycles registered in Pennsylvania.

Even though motorcycles can be purchased and driven on Pennsylvania roadways throughout the year, the state Vehicle Code currently only allows safety inspections to be performed from March to October.

Senate Bill 1147 would eliminate that restriction so motorcycle operators have more opportunities to complete required inspections. Motorcycle registration with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation would continue to be tied to the month the vehicle is to be inspected.

Scenes from the 20th District Featured Photo:  Old Farm on 42nd Street, Dallas

The first featured photo from the Scenes from the 20th District Photo Gallery was submitted by Neal Gallagher of Luzerne County.  “Old Farm on 42nd Street, Dallas” captures the beauty and unique character of the community.

Use the online submission form to showcase your photography skills and submit your best photographs that highlight the natural landscapes, community events, historical landmarks and everyday life within the district.


Please do not reply to this email. If you would like to contact Senator Baker, submit a web contact form here:

Facebook Twitter/X Instagram Website

2024 © Senate of Pennsylvania | | Privacy Policy