Pennsylvania Senate Republican News Brief

“Hurricane Katrina demonstrated the red tape that doctors, counselors, and funeral directors had to endure in order to help those in need. We have learned from that tragic experience, which claimed the lives of 1,836 people, and are acting to ensure that Pennsylvanians have immediate access to health care during the most critical times.”

Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee Chair Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne) on her legislation to streamline interstate cooperation during disasters.


Senate Session Monday at 1 p.m. 

The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, chaired by Sen. Don White (R-Indiana), and the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, chaired by Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), will hold a joint hearing on changes to the National Flood Insurance Program and the impact on Pennsylvanians. (Tues., 9:30 a.m., N. Office Bldg., Room 1)

The Senate Law and Justice Committee, chaired by Sen. Chuck McIlhinney (R-Bucks), will hold a public hearing on Senate Bill 1182, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, sponsored by Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon). (Tues., 10:30 a.m., Room 8E-A)

The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Sen. Mike Brubaker (R-Lancaster), will hold a public hearing on expansion of the Pennsylvania Lottery. (Wed., 9 a.m., N. Office Bldg., Room 1)

The Senate Economy, Business and Job Caucus, chaired by Sen. Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery), and the Senate Manufacturing Caucus, chaired by Sen. Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland), will hold a joint hearing on the Strategic Early Warning Network (SEWN). (Wed., 9 a.m., Room 8 E-B)

Senate Committee Schedule
Watch hearings live at


Baker Bill Improves Disaster Response through Interstate Cooperation

Pennsylvania would have a streamlined system for accepting help from neighboring states during natural disasters under a bill introduced by Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne).

The legislation, Senate Bill 1235, will allow doctors, veterinarians and other health care workers to provide immediate emergency health care to victims of a declared disaster by creating a Volunteer Health Practitioner Registry System.

For more on the legislation, please see In the Spotlight, below.

Special Election Set for 28th Senatorial District

Lt. Governor Jim Cawley set Tuesday, March 18 as the date for a special election to fill the vacancy of the 28th Senatorial District in York County.

The seat was left vacant by the Jan. 12 resignation of Senator Mike Waugh, who represented the district from 1998 to 2014. Governor Tom Corbett announced that Waugh will be the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Farm Show.

The district covers parts of York County including the City of York.
For more on former Senator Waugh, see Fast Facts, below.

In the Spotlight

After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, many states enacted legislation similar to Senator Baker’s proposed bill. The measures allow health care professionals to enter states that have suffered a declared disaster and provide services without having to scale a host of legal and licensing hurdles. During and after many major crises, licensure boards have been overwhelmed with requests or have closed temporarily because of the disaster.

Under the Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act (UEVHPA), the Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) would be able to regulate the length of time and the geographic area in which volunteer emergency health practitioners can serve.  To ensure quality care, the health practitioners would have to be licensed and in good standing in their home state.

The language was developed by the Uniform Law Commission and has been adopted in 14 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  The bill is endorsed by numerous health, legal and emergency response organizations, including the American Red Cross, the ASPCA, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and the United Way of America.

Senator Baker: “A failure to plan has frequently made a big disaster even bigger. This bill is designed to prepare for the worst by paving the way for the best doctors and nurses to come in to help, and will better position Pennsylvania to receive aid should a major tragedy overwhelm our resources.”

Fast Facts

Highlights of Senator Mike Waugh’s Career

First elected to represent the 28th Senatorial District in November of 1998.\

Prior to being elected to the State Senate, served in the State House of Representatives for six years beginning in November 1992.

Was a managing partner of his family’s business, Waugh Construction Company.

Active volunteer firefighter and EMT, serving as assistant fire chief with the Shrewsbury Volunteer Fire Company from 1981-1993.

Was elected as a township supervisor in Shrewsbury Township and served in that capacity from 1989-1992.

Served in Senate Leadership as the Majority Caucus Chairman.