HARRISBURG – The state Senate approved legislation yesterday requiring Senate confirmation of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) director, according to Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20) who sponsored the bill. Senate Bill 433 was passed by a bipartisan vote, taking a positive step toward establishing a more robust check and balance system for PEMA. This will increase accountability and ensure the agency is prepared to handle emergencies efficiently and effectively. PEMA is the lead emergency coordination agency in the commonwealth tasked with ensuring the safety of 13 million residents. This includes oversight of 911 centers and the Emergency Alert System, as well as hazardous materials and incidents involving five nuclear power plants. The agency also has responsibility for the coordination and direction of commonwealth resources in response to emergencies and disasters and coordinates and manages numerous federal disaster assistance programs. In the current fiscal year, more than $1.4 billion flowed through the agency. The bill now advances to the House of Representatives for consideration.