Senator Pennycuick E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Senate Defends Use of Taxpayer Dollars with Careful Budget Review
  • Cybersecurity Resources for Local Governments
  • Seeking Women Veteran for Capitol Commemoration
  • Youth Fishing Derby!
  • Local Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program Assistance
  • Help Available to Fight Drug and Alcohol Abuse
  • 2024 Adult Trout Stocking Schedule Available

Senate Defends Use of Taxpayer Dollars with Careful Budget Review

The Senate Appropriations Committee continues its review of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s budget proposal, which totals more than $48.3 billion. His plan would increase state spending by more than $3.2 billion, or about 7.1% above the current year’s budget. Projections indicate it will be all but impossible to balance budgets in the next five years without deep spending cuts and massive tax increases.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) hearing focused on what the administration is doing to ensure the commonwealth’s power grid can handle increased demand for electricity. Members also had questions about why the current year’s budget for DEP included funding for 15 new positions specifically to reduce permitting delays but serious waits – a year and a half and longer – still exist.

At the Department of Human Services budget hearing, the committee sought an explanation about the Shapiro administration’s plans to spend billions of new taxpayer dollars to expand Medicaid to cover services that do not pertain to physical or behavioral health. Examples include moving expenses and household items like pots and pans, furniture and air conditioning units for eligible recipients, including recently released prison inmates.

The Department of Transportation hearing covered ongoing concerns about the sustainability of the Motor License Fund and commonwealth transportation funding. Replacing funds lost to electric vehicle use remains a challenge as the phasing-out of State Police from the Motor License Fund continues. The committee received a status update for the replacement of the six interstate bridges that were included a replacement program opposed by Senate Republicans.

At the Department of State budget hearing, the committee asked about the department’s requested $5.2 million increase for “Voter Registration and Education” activities throughout the commonwealth. Committee members sought assurances that the outreach would occur in rural areas as well as urban and suburban.

Find the recordings of budget hearings, daily recaps and video from prior hearings at

Cybersecurity Resources for Local Governments

Despite the perception that local governments are too small to be the target of bad actors online, Pennsylvania’s thousands of municipalities are at risk of cyberattack. In fact, 69% of state and local governments reported being hit in 2023 by ransomware – malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.

To combat these attacks that often come with costly consequences, local governments should conduct a cyber assessment and make sure municipal employees understand the importance of using strong passwords and spotting suspicious emails. The initiative grew out of a January hearing held by the Senate Communications and Technology Committee, chaired by myself, and the Senate Local Government Committee, chaired by Senator Rosemary Brown, focusing on cybersecurity threats faced by local governments and municipal authorities.

Funding opportunities exist to support cybersecurity efforts through the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, which administers a program that distributes federal funding. Local governments can learn more at the new Senate Republican Cybersecurity Resources for Local Governments webpage.

Seeking Women Veteran for Capitol Commemoration

As a member of the Pennsylvania Senate and a United States Army Combat Veteran, I want to make sure my colleagues, and all of Pennsylvania, recognize the important role that women play in our military.  I am proud that legislation I sponsored to designate June 12 of each year as Women Veterans Day in the Commonwealth was passed in 2022.

To pay tribute to the groundbreaking day when women were acknowledged as essential to the war effort, serving as permanent, regular members of the United States Armed Forces,  I will be hosting a commemorative ceremony at noon on Monday, June 10, 2024, in the East Wing of the State Capitol Building.

If you, or a member of your family, is a female veteran, you are invited to participate.  As part of the event, I am working to develop a temporary exhibit featuring our women soldiers.  This exhibit will be showcased in the East Wing Rotunda on June 10, and will be posted to a special women veterans website we are creating.

Please use the registration to register with us.  By completing and submitting this form, you are granting permission to allow us to feature your likeness and a short biography among the other females who have served our Commonwealth.

Youth Fishing Derby!

I am excited to announce I will be hosting my annual Youth Fishing Derby at Bergey Park (675 Bergeys Mill Road, Schwenksville, PA 19473) on Saturday, April 27, 2024 from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM.

This free event is a fantastic opportunity for children (14 and under) to enjoy a fun morning of fishing in the park’s scenic stream while learning about Pennsylvania’s diverse wildlife and the importance of environmental conservation.

Participants will have the chance to learn from experts, compete for prizes, and enjoy snacks/refreshments. Educational material will also be provided. Please find the event flyer here.

Pre-registration is required and can be completed online or by calling my Red Hill office at (215) 541-2388.

Local Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program Assistance

I urge interested area seniors to make an appointment now to attend one of several events in March providing assistance in applying for the state Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program.

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is open to residents age 65 or older, widows and widowers age 50 or older, or anyone age 18 and older who is 100% disabled, with a household income of $45,000 or less, counting only half of Social Security. Rebate amounts are calculated based on 2023 income and the amount of property tax or rent paid in 2023, with rebates ranging from $380 to $1,000.

Income limits and refund amounts have been increased so residents who did not previously qualify for this relief might now be eligible. My office will be happy to assist you with filling out the required forms needed to apply for your rebate. Residents can call my office at (215) 541-2388 to schedule an appointment or online for one of the following dates:

March 18, 20 & 25, 9 a.m. – noon
Montgomery County Community College-Pottstown
101 College Drive, North Hall, Room 224, Pottstown

March 19, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Longswamp Township Building, 1112 State, Mertztown

March 21 & 28, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Boyertown Multi Service Center, 200 W. Spring St., Boyertown

March 25, 1 – 4 p.m.
Trappe Borough Hall Building, 525 W. Main St., Trappe

March 26, 9 a.m. – noon
Towamencin Township Building, 1090 Troxel Road, Lansdale

March 26, 1 – 4 p.m.
North Wales Borough Hall, 300 School St., North Wales

March 27, 9 a.m. – noon
Amity Township Building, 2004 Weavertown Road, Douglasville

March 27, 1 – 4 p.m.
Bally Borough Hall, 425 Chestnut St., Bally

The following documents are required to complete the process:

  • Total Social Security/Railroad Retirement
  • Proof of SSI or Disability
  • Proof of Age/First Time Filer Driver’s License or Photo ID
  • 1099 Pension Statement
  • 1099 Interest Statement
  • 1099 Dividend Statement
  • Proof of W-2 or Other Income
  • Voided Check showing Routing Number & Account Number if you wish to have payment received by direct deposit.

Property owners will need proof of taxes paid, either stamped or signed by their local tax collector. Renters need a rent certificate filled out and signed by their landlord.

More information on the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program can be found at

Help Available to Fight Drug and Alcohol Abuse

State assistance is available for nonprofit organizations, government entities, community groups and parent groups that work to prevent the consequences of drug and alcohol abuse from harming Pennsylvanians.

Funding can be used to reduce the demand for, or provide an alternative to, drug and alcohol abuse and the violence and other consequences these substances can cause. It can also be used to prevent drug and alcohol abuse and associated problems through educational programming.

Apply for the grant of up to $2,000 through the Office of Attorney General Community Drug Abuse Prevention Grant Program.

2024 Adult Trout Stocking Schedule Available

The 2024 adult trout stocking schedule is now available. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will stock approximately 3.2 million adult trout in 695 streams and 128 lakes open to public angling. An additional 1.2 million trout will be stocked by cooperative nurseries.

The trout stocking schedule is searchable by county, lists the waterways in alphabetical order, and indicates stocking dates, meeting locations for volunteers, and the species of trout that are planned to be stocked at each location. Pennsylvania’s statewide Opening Day of Trout Season is April 6. A single, statewide Mentored Youth Trout Day will take place March 30.

Trout to be stocked will include approximately 2.3 million Rainbow Trout, 702,000 Brown Trout, 132,000 Brook Trout and 14,000 Golden Rainbow Trout. As with past practice, the average size of the trout produced for stocking is 11 inches in length.


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