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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 6, 2019 12:23 PM
From: Senator Lisa Baker
To: All Senate members
Subject: Require Senate confirmation of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) Director
Please join me in co-sponsoring legislation requiring Senate confirmation of the PEMA Director.

Unfortunately we have all witnessed or experienced in recent memory numerous examples of a natural or weather-related disaster, outbreak of a disease or other health calamity in humans or an agricultural commodity, or a major law enforcement / public safety incident. Any one of these matters can quickly and unexpectantly become the top priority for a community, a county, or the entire state. No one is immune from this possibility.

In many cases, all levels of government must coordinate the incident response and PEMA can be the lead agency. Similar to Cabinet Secretaries when their agency is at the epicenter of a major incident, PEMA then becomes the public’s source of information and de facto command central. Additional review of this individual will improve agency accountability and ensure that there is strong internal and external communication and coordination between the various levels of government when responding to emergencies. As modern government has evolved and for the above reasons, the PEMA Director should be nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the full Senate identical to other agency leaders.

In the 2015-16 Session, this legislation was introduced as Senate Bill 490 and passed both chambers only to be vetoed by the Governor. Last Session, the language from Senate Bill 193 was amended into the working draft of the Title 35 rewrite which lost momentum and not pass. Co-sponsors of SB 193 were Senators Brooks, Folmer, Martin, Scarnati, Scavello, Stefano, K. Ward, and White.

Thank you for your consideration.

Introduced as SB512