Senator Baker E-Newsletter

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September Enews

Annual Senior Expo Set For Oct. 3

The annual Luzerne County Senior Expo is set for Thursday, Oct. 3, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wyoming Valley Mall in Wilkes-Barre. I am pleased to join my colleagues – Sen. John Yudichak and Reps. Aaron Kaufer and Jerry Mullery – in once again sponsoring this worthwhile event.

The expo will feature vendors from local, state and federal agencies who will answer questions and provide useful information about programs and services available to seniors. In addition, there will be free refreshments, giveaways and free health screenings. Flu shots will also be available at no cost with an insurance card.

Seniors will also find information related to government services, Social Security, health care, insurance, legal issues, fraud protection, financial concerns, and exercise and nutrition information.

Every year this expo gets bigger as we try to accommodate the increased interest our seniors have shown in having access to so many great programs, agencies, businesses and organizations in one location. I am glad we are able to help our seniors obtain the information they are looking for.

The Luzerne County Transportation Authority is offering bus service to the expo from area senior centers and high-rise apartment buildings. If seniors are interested in this service, please call 570-288-9356.

The event is free and open to the public.

Battle To Save White Haven State Center

9/24/19 - Closure of the Polk and White Haven State Centers

I joined Sen. John Yudichak in providing written testimony at a recent Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing looking into the decision-making process that led to the announcement that the Polk and White Haven State Centers are slated for closing:

“Good Morning. We want to thank Chairman Brooks and Chairman Haywood for convening this hearing before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on the closure of White Haven Center in Luzerne County and Polk State Center in Venango County. Senator Baker and I would like to offer the following written testimony specific to White Haven Center for your consideration.

The Department of Human Services announced closure plans to transition the people that reside at White Haven Center and Polk State Center to community-based care over the course of the next three years.

Ironically, DHS has publicly stated the closure will take as long as necessary to ensure that each person living at the centers has a home of “their choosing.” However, individuals with intellectual disabilities, and the families that love them, will not be able to choose the home of White Haven Center or Polk State Center where they have lived for most of their lives.

For the 111 people that live at White Haven Center, the center is their community. It is their home. It is their choice. The employees that lovingly care for the people at White Haven Center are not employees – they are extended members of their family. These dedicated care professionals have made it a home for the people who reside at White Haven Center.

For families with loved ones at the Center, it is also their community. A community where they can celebrate personal milestones, and find comfort in the loving, compassionate care they know will always be provided to loved ones.

The Borough of White Haven, a small community of 1,200 residents, is also a community to those who live at White Haven Center. People who live at White Haven Center participate in community events, organizations, meetings and parades — they are citizens of White Haven Borough.

The closure of White Haven Center will effectively take away their community and deny these citizens of White Haven, these people with intellectual disabilities, the right to choose their own home.

The 111 residents at White Haven Center, and the families that love them, have chosen White Haven Center as their home.

Why would the Department of Human Services take away that choice from people with intellectual disabilities?

The Department of Human Services should pause its closure decision and gather more legislative input from this hearing process on the staggering negative impact their decision will have on people with intellectual disabilities, their loving families, the employees who care for them, and the communities they call home.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing On Second Amendment Rights, Behavioral Health And Other Gun-Related Issues

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a two-part public hearing recently to hear testimony regarding second amendment rights, behavioral health and other gun-related issues.

You can watch recordings of the proceedings by going to and clicking on the Judiciary Committee link at the top of the page.

To see the agenda, panelists and submitted testimony from the first part of the hearing, click here. To see the agenda, panelists and submitted testimony from the second part of the hearing, click here.

Those still wishing to submit information can do so by going to and clicking on the contact me link.

Do Not Call Registry

The Senate gave final approval of a bill to allow Pennsylvania residents to put their phone numbers permanently on the Do Not Call list, rather than have to re-register every five years. It also requires robocalls to have an opt-out option at the start of the call, allows businesses to put their phone numbers on the Do Not Call list, and bans telemarketing calls on legal holidays. The bill was sent to the governor to be signed in to law. To learn more and to register for the state’s Do Not Call list, click here or call 1-888-777-3406.

National Recovery Month

September is National Recovery Month, a time to spread the word that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those in need to live healthy and rewarding lives. Need treatment for you or someone you know? Call the Get Help Now Hotline: 1-800-662-4357 to speak with a professional. The call is confidential and there are treatment options for the insured, underinsured, or uninsured. Special assistance is also available to connect veterans with a qualified treatment provider to help them begin their journey to recovery. Click here for more information.

Remembering Edward Nulton

Hometown hero and firefighter Edward Nulton Sr. was laid to rest with a procession of apparatus from near and far. The Kunkle volunteer put up a valiant one-year fight following a tragic line of duty accident. End of Watch 9/19/19

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