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Matt Baker


Continuing Fight for Rejection of Federal Health Care Mandate in Pennsylvania
Rest assured, I am continuing my call for passage of the Health Care Freedom Act in Pennsylvania, which would ban governments from forcing people to have health insurance or face fines and penalties. In August, a similar measure passed by an overwhelming 71 percent of voters in Missouri. My legislation, House Bill 2053, protects our 10th Amendment rights provided in the United States Constitution from the ObamaCare mandate and allows for individual choice and freedom of states to reject an unconstitutional mandate to purchase health insurance they may not be able to afford. Specifically, House Bill 2053, the “Health Care Freedom Act,” would uphold states’ rights to not mandate enrollment in a government-run health care plan, would preserve the doctor-patient relationship to make health care decisions and support individual rights to pay directly for health care services and insurance. A similar proposal passed the Missouri House and Senate with bipartisan support and was placed on the Aug. 3 primary ballot. The Health Care Freedom Act has been introduced or announced in 42 states. The legislation has already been enacted in statute form by the Virginia, Idaho, Arizona, Georgia and Louisiana legislatures, and constitutional amendments will appear on the November ballot in Oklahoma, Arizona and Florida. My legislation is part of the House Republican Policy Committee’s Health Care Task Force alternatives. House Bill 2053 is currently in the Pennsylvania House Insurance Committee.

2010-11 State Budget Completed On Time
I am happy to report that the 2010-11 state budget was approved by the House of Representatives prior to the June 30 deadline. This makes the first time under the Rendell administration that has happened. I commend the legislative leaders and governor for working together to get a budget done within a reasonable timeframe. I think it’s important for the people of Pennsylvania to see that we can put our partisan differences aside and work to achieve a common goal. No state budget is perfect and no one gets everything they want; however, House Republicans were instrumental in reducing the governor’s original budget spending number by $1 billion, ending up with a $28 billion state budget; and we were able to help eliminate a host of new and increased taxes as suggested by Gov. Ed Rendell. For more information on the 2010-11 state budget, go to my website and click on “State Budget News.”

Rep. Matt Baker (R-Bradford/Tioga) honored the late Marine Lance Cpl. Michael Plank, who was killed on June 9 in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom, with a House condolence resolution. Baker received special permission to have a United States flag placed on each member’s desk to memorialize and amplify the patriotism and special tribute of Lance Cpl. Plank paying the ultimate sacrifice for his country. Pictured left to right are Baker; Marine Gunnery Sgt. Richard Delacruz; Plank’s mother, Kathleen Parker; aunt Christine Davis; cousins Stephen Jeffers and Dominique Bogaczyk; aunt Jessica Bogaczyk; and Marine Pfc. David Odojewski.

Castle Doctrine Provides Law-Abiding Citizens with Right to Defend Themselves
Every citizen deserves the right to defend themselves and their family in the face of an imminent attack without fear of criminal charges or civil liability. That is among the reasons why I support House Bill 40, known as “The Castle Doctrine.” The bill would clearly allow for the right of self-defense to be used by our citizens in the face of an imminent attack, and not give undue protection to criminals. Our residents have been forced to second guess whether the law would recognize their right to self-defense, and then, face a civil lawsuit as a result of defending themselves and their families. The right of protection should be sacrosanct. This legislation creates a presumption that an attacker or intruder intends to do great bodily harm, and therefore force -- including deadly force -- may be used to protect oneself, family and others in the face of an attack while in the home or within an occupied vehicle. That presumption also applies if a person is trying to unlawfully remove an occupant, against the occupant’s will, from a home or vehicle. The presumption would not apply if the person entering a home was: • • • Another resident of the home. A law enforcement officer. A parent, grandparent or other guardian removing a child from the home or vehicle.

Appointed to New Health Careers Leadership Council
I am happy to announce that I was recently appointed by Republican Leader of the House of Representatives Sam Smith to serve on the newly created Health Careers Leadership Council. As chairman of the House Health and Human Services Committee, I have developed a passion for working to improve the health care industry in Pennsylvania, and this council will provide me with yet another avenue to increase the effectiveness and availability of health care in Pennsylvania. The council is designed to oversee the Pennsylvania Center for Health Careers, which will work to improve work force issues for those in the health care field and help increase the capacity of nursing education in order to advance the Commonwealth’s overall health care system. The Health Careers Leadership Council will specifically: • Determine the organization, procedures and priorities of the center. • Develop initiatives, programs and projects for the center to address the health care work force need of the Commonwealth. • Apply for grants and seek other revenue sources, including the General Fund appropriations. • Submit an annual report to the General Assembly by Jan. 31 of each year.

In addition, the presumption would not apply if a person was using their home or vehicle to further criminal activity. This bill eliminates the duty to retreat before using lethal force outside of your home if the attacker displays or uses a lethal weapon. However, a citizen would have to demonstrate a reasonable belief that they were in imminent danger in order to use lethal force. The bill also offers specific protection against civil liability for the lawful use of force in self-defense. Your home is your “castle,” and the same should apply to your occupied vehicle. I find it unacceptable that the criminal should have all of the advantages, and it is long past time to put these solutions and rights into law. House Bill 40 has garnered approval from the House Judiciary Committee and currently awaits a full debate on the House floor.

Deadline to Apply for Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program Extended
I would like to let residents know that the deadline to apply for the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate program for 2009 has been extended to Dec. 31, 2010. Eligible participants can receive a rebate of up to $650 based on their rent or property taxes paid in 2009. The program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians who are 65 years or older, widows and widowers 50 years or older, and those 18 years or older with disabilities. Eligibility income limits for homeowners are set at the following levels, excluding 50 percent of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, and Railroad Retirement Tier 1 benefits: • $0 to $8,000, maximum $650 rebate (Homeowners and renters) • $8,001 to $15,000, maximum $500 rebate (Homeowners and renters) • $15,001 to $18,000, maximum $300 rebate (Homeowners only) • $18,001 to $35,000, maximum $250 rebate (Homeowners only) Residents are reminded to provide all the necessary income, property tax or rental information required to process claims quickly and accurately. Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim forms are available by contacting my district offices or by visiting my website at


Two Free Senior Crime Prevention Seminars
Call to Reserve at Your Se Today!

Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Wellsboro Fireman’s Annex East Avenue, Wellsboro

Presented by the Office of the Attorney General, topics covered during the seminar will include identity theft, home improvement rip-offs, foreign lottery schemes, telemarketing fraud and sweepstakes scams. Seating is limited, please RSVP to Baker’s district office at (570) 724-1390 by Sept. 22.
*Event sponsored by Rep. Baker and Elder Services Work Group of the Tioga County Partnership for Community Health

2010 Senior Expo a Success!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the vendors who participated in my Senior Expo at Wellsboro Area High School in June. The expo was a great success and we were able to provide a great deal of information about services and programs available for older adults to more than 850 senior citizens across the district. Also, “thank you” to all who attended and helped make the day fun, as well as informative!
Rep. Baker enjoyed speaking with Dick and Laverna Vargeson during the expo.

It was a great turnout at this year’s senior expo with more than 73 vendors participating.

Rep. Baker and his staff pose for a photo following the senior expo. Pictured left to right are Wendy Nason, Rhoda Grabowski, Dottie Gardiner, Baker and Wendy Ribeca.

272 is New Overlay Number for 570 Area Code
The 570 area code currently serving our area is expected to be exhausted sometime in 2011. In expectation of this, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) approved an overlay plan to provide service relief in the 570 area code. The North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), a neutral third-party area code relief planner for Pennsylvania, announced that the new three-digit area code number will be 272. Once implemented, 10-digit local dialing would then apply to all telephone calls (area code plus the seven-digit telephone number), as required by the Federal Communications Commission.

Fire, Ambulance Services Eligible for Grant Funding
Volunteer fire and ambulance services throughout Bradford and Tioga counties are once again eligible to apply for funding through the Volunteer Fire Company and Volunteer Ambulance Services Grant Program. First established in 2000, the program provides grants to support construction or renovation of a unit’s station, the purchase or repair of equipment, training or debt reduction. Maximum grants are $15,000 for volunteer fire companies and $10,000 for volunteer ambulance services. Applications will become available no later than Sept. 7, and must be submitted by 4 p.m. on Oct. 22. The grant program is administered by the Office of the State Fire Commissioner.


Local School Students Visit State Capitol

Liberty Elementary School

Wellsboro Elementary School 

New Covenant Academy

My district offices are here to help you. Services my staff and I provide include: Assistance with PennDOT paperwork (lost cards, changes, corrections, Assistance special registration plates, vanity plates, parking placards for disabled persons, applications for driver’s license and vehicle renewals) PACE and PACENET applications for seniors Property Tax and Rent Rebate applications Voter registration forms and absentee ballot applications Provide state tax forms State maps and state park information Copies of legislation Tours of the State Capitol Referrals to agencies to resolve state-related matters
If you need help with any of the above or with any other state-related matter, please do not hesitate to call.

District Office Services

Representative Matt Baker... Serving the 68th Legislative District
74 Main Street, Wellsboro, PA 16901 Phone: (570) 724-1390 Fax: (570) 724-2168


430 Canton Street, Suite 6, Troy, PA 16947 Phone: (570) 297-3045 Fax: (570) 297-5551

108 Ryan Office Building, P.O. Box 202068 Harrisburg, PA 17120-2068 Phone: (717) 772-5371 Fax: (717) 705-1835