Category Archives: Government

Bipartisan Panel States Nation in Need of Centralized Leadership and Major Reform to Strengthen Biodefense

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 28, 2015) — Today, the bipartisan Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense, co-chaired by Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and former Governor and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge (R-PA), released the first comprehensive examination of U.S. biodefense efforts in over a decade, calling for major reforms to strengthen America’s ability to confront intentionally introduced, accidentally released, and naturally occurring biological threats.

 

 

The report, A National Blueprint for Biodefense: Leadership and Major Reform Needed to Optimize Efforts, details America’s vulnerability to bioterrorism and deadly outbreaks and emphasizes the need to transform the way our government is organized to confront these threats. Biodefense recommendations include centralizing leadership in the Office of the Vice President; establishing a White House Biodefense Coordination Council; strengthening state, local, territorial, and tribal capabilities; and promoting innovation through sustained biodefense prioritization and funding.

 

 

“The U.S. government has worked to address myriad security challenges since September 11, 2001,” said Senator Joe Lieberman. “Unfortunately, biological threats are not given the same level of attention as are other threats, leaving us significantly underprepared – but this does not have to be the case. Dramatic improvements are within our reach if we follow a national blueprint for biodefense, demand strong leadership, and build on the good work already underway.”

 

 

“The U.S. is vulnerable to biological threats because we lack strong centralized leadership at the highest level of government,” said Governor Tom Ridge. “We need one person – a leader with the charge, authority, vision, and expertise – to pull together more than a dozen departments and agencies, as well as the private sector, to defend against biological threats to the Nation. Biodefense touches many aspects of society and as such, requires a complex enterprise approach, something we currently lack.”

 

 

The comprehensive report includes specific and pragmatic legislative, programmatic, and policy actions in the form of 33 urgent recommendations and close to 100 action items. The panel scrutinized the status of prevention, deterrence, preparedness, detection, response, attribution, recovery, and mitigation – the spectrum of activities deemed necessary for biodefense by both Republican and Democratic Administrations, and many policy experts. They identified substantial achievements, but also found serious gaps that continue to leave the homeland vulnerable to biological threats.

 

To read the full study visit http://www.biodefensestudy.org/ 

GOV. TOM RIDGE ON AWARDING THE 2016 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION TO PHILADELPHIA

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The Honorable Tom Ridge, Pennsylvania’s 43rd Governor, today issued the following statement on the decision by the DNC to award the 2016 Democratic National Convention to Philadelphia:

 

“When it comes to large-scale events, few do it better than Philadelphia. As my friend and former Governor Ed Rendell and I have been telling anyone who would listen, Philadelphia showcases the perfect blend of American history with cosmopolitan appeal. Philadelphia put on quite a show for the Republican Convention 15 years ago and will no doubt do the same when the Democrats come to town. Congratulations to Mayor Nutter and all those who worked tirelessly to prepare and submit the winning bid.”

President Obama signs bill sponsored by NJ Rep. Pascrell to conduct research on brain injuries

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President Obama signed legislation today sponsored by U.S. Rep Bill Pascrell reauthorizing the government to help those suffering from traumatic brain injury and to conduct research into the issue.

 

The measure was sponsored by Pascrell (D-9th Dist.) and U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). The original law was passed in 1996 and revised versions were enacted in 2000 and 2008.

 

Pascrell singled out military veterans and athletes as two groups particularly affected by brain injuries.

 

It was one of 11 bills signed into law by Obama right before Thanksgiving.

 

Traumatic brain injury afflicts about 2.5 million Americans annually and approximately 5.3 million live with long-term disabilities due to brain injuries, costing the U.S. $60 billion a year, according to Pascrell, who founded the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force. He said that 360,000 troops received traumatic brain injuries during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

 

Approximately 2.5 million Americans experience traumatic brain injury each year and an estimated 5.3 million Americans are living with long-term, severe disabilities as a result of brain injury. Another 176,000 men and women have sustained a TBI in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

The legislation “will help improve our ability to prevent, detect and treat brain injuries,” Pascrell said. “This reauthorization will bring us one step closer to providing those suffering from these devastating injuries with the resources they need to live healthy lives.”

 

The bill was written to help those suffering from traumatic brain injuries and their families obtain rehabilitation programs, long-term care and support services. Under the legislation, the Health Resources and Services Administration will help states develop and expand services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will provide prevention and public education programs and the National Institutes of Health will do research.

 

Full article may be found HERE.

Today on the Hill

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House Judiciary
10:00am
Bellefonte Courthouse Annex, 3rd Floor Conference Room, 108
Public hearing on Pennsylvania Department of Corrections staffing levels

 

Independent Regulatory Review Commission
10:00am
14th Floor Conference Room, 333 Market St., Harrisburg
To consider the following regulations:

  •         Reg. No. 3076 State Board of Education #6-332: Student Attendance (Final-Omit)
  •         Reg. No. 3077 Municipal Police Officers’ Education & Training Commission #17-76: Retired Law Enforcement Officers Identification & Qualification Cards (Final-Omit)
  •         Reg. No. 3056 Department of Banking & Securities #3-52: Debt Management Services Continuing Education

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today on the Hill

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House Game & Fisheries
9:30am
Informational meeting to receive an update on chronic wasting disease from the PA Game Commission & PA Department of Agriculture

 

House Urban Affairs
10:00am
Informational meeting on current governmental resources for addressing homelessness

 

 

 

 

 

Today on the Hill

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Senate Game & Fisheries
9:00am
Tom Ridge Environmental Center, Erie
Public hearing on Lyme disease, Erie Tick Task Force, DCNR, Presque Isle Park, Act 89 Spending Plan, & other updates from Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today on the Hill

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Independent Regulatory Review Commission
10:00am
14th Floor Conference Room, 333 Market Street, Harrisburg
To consider the following regulations:

  • Reg. No. 3050 Department of Agriculture #2-179: Pesticides; Third Party Transactions
  • Reg. No. 3011 PA Gaming Control Board #125-170: Table Games Rules of Play
  • Reg. No. 3028 State Board of Examiners in Speech-Language & Hearing #16A-6807: Continuing Education
  • Reg. No. 3055 Department of Transportation #18-450: Display of Registration Plates
  • Reg. No. 2963 State Board of Pharmacy #16A-5424: Pharmacy Internship
  • Reg. No. 3012 Department of State #16-56: Lobbying Disclosure Registration Fee

 

House Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness
11:00am
Information meeting to discuss the state’s preparedness for the treatment of persons infected with Ebola on both a limited & mass casualty basis