2017-01-10 / Local

State Rep. Matthew Baker takes oath of office for 13th term

Baker reappointed as chairman of House Health Commitee

By Nathan Brown

Staff Writer

State Rep. Matthew Baker, R-68, took the oath of office as he prepares to serve Tioga, Bradford and Potter counties for his 13th term.

“I am honored to have been re-elected to serve as state representative for the people of Tioga, Bradford and Potter counties,” said Baker. “It continues to be a pleasure to represent the views and interests of the folks living and working in the Northern Tier.”

Along with continuing to serve the 68th Legislative District of Pennsylvania, Baker was reappointed as the chairman of the House Health Committee by Speaker of the House Mike Turzai, R-28.

“We have ushered through many important bills in the House Health Committee that have been signed into law, such as my legislation to make oral anti-cancer medications more affordable and my bill to ensure more patients of the baby-boomer generation are informed by their doctors about the risks of Hepatitis C,” said Baker. “The committee looks at a number of vital health care issues each year and we have been successful in getting many of these bills signed into law that will help improve health care in the Commonwealth.”

Baker stated that the House Health Committee deals with issues such as abortion, disease management, stem cell research, health savings accounts, hospital-acquired infections, medical assistance, patient safety, pharmaceutical issues, telemedicine and much more.

He added that the committee has been and will continue to be, one of the most active committees within the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

In the 2015-2016 session alone, the committee saw over 100 bills come across its table.

Ten house bills that were passed through the committee, were enacted into law, following approval of the Pennsylvania State Senate. Four of those were authored, in full or in part, by Baker.

Approximately 18-to-20 of the over-100 bills that entered the committee were sent on to the state senate where the senate did not act on them prior to the end of the session. Baker stated that those bills will re-enter the committee and will ultimately be sent back to the senate, dependent on re-approval by the house.

“I look forward to the 2017-18 session, when we are sure to take up bills concerning opioid addiction and changes from the federal government that are sure to impact Obamacare,” said Baker. “This is a committee that is highly active and that I am honored to lead.”

Additionally, Baker will continue to push for the fair compensation of landowners in terms of gas well royalties.

“We’ll be pushing that right out of the gate,” stated Baker. “It’s high on the priority list.”

Baker, along with state Rep. Tina Pickett, R-110, serve as co-sponsors of the bill, formally known as Act 1391, as state Rep. Garth Everett, R-84, is the prime sponsor.

At this point, Baker stated that the speaker of the house cannot reintroduce bills until the committees are reorganized. He added that the organization will take place on the week of Jan. 23.

Baker related that many of the representatives and bill sponsors who are reintroducing bills have already done the drafting. Once the organization of committees take place, bills will then be reintroduced.

Nathan Brown can be reached at (570) 265-2151 ext. 1639 or email: nbrown@thedailyreview.com.

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