Senator Pennycuick E-Newsletter

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Dear Friends,

I hope you had a wonderful Independence Day with family and friends! In Harrisburg, we continue to work on a state budget. My focus remains on empowering families and small businesses, all while keeping taxes stable. I am encouraged by the ongoing dialogue between the Senate, House, and Governor and hopeful a responsible budget will be signed into law soon.


In this Update:

  • Work Continues on the 2024-25 State Budget
  • Free Event: Scam Jam – July 11, 2024
  • Local Property Tax/Tent Rebate Assistance Continues in July
  • Bill Limiting Smartphone Use in Schools Passes Senate
  • Senate Advances Bill to Allow Year-round Motorcycle Inspections
  • Bill Expanding First Responder Service Dog Fee Exemptions Receives Senate Approval
  • Senate Passes Bill Discounting Hunting and Fishing Licenses to Volunteer Firefighters
  • New $20 Million PBDA Program to Provide Laptops for Libraries, Non-Profits, & Community Institutions Across Pennsylvania
  • New Foal at Nolan’s Horse Farm in Perkiomenville

Work Continues on the 2024-25 State Budget

Our Senate Republican Caucus remains committed to producing a pro-growth budget which will empower Pennsylvanians and is equally honest with taxpayers about our state’s fiscal health both now and in the future. We have been diligently working to come to consensus on a final product. Additional session days will be added as needed to complete the budget as quickly as possible.

Learn more about the process of enacting the 2024-25 state budget and watch the Senate in session here.

Free Event: Scam Jam – July 11, 2024

Learn to protect yourself from fraud and identity theft by joining me and the Lower Salford Township Police Department, PA Banking and Securities, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, and AARP’s Pennsylvania Office for our Scam Jam event on July 11 at 9:30 AM.

Hear from experts on how to protect your finances and personal information. Plus, there will be games, prizes, and refreshments!

This is a free event, but space is limited, so register now!

Local Property Tax/Tent Rebate Assistance Continues in July

My office will be holding more workshops in July to provide assistance to residents applying for the state Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program and urges interested area seniors to make an appointment. The deadline has been extended to December 31, 2024.

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.

“This program is a valuable resource for residents, especially during these challenging times” said Pennycyick. “We encourage everyone who may be eligible to take advantage of this extended deadline and reach out to our office for assistance with the application process.”

Residents can call Pennycuick’s office at 215-541-2388 or visit online to schedule an appointment for one of the following dates:

July 16, 9AM – 12PM
Longswamp Township Building, 1112 State St, Mertztown, PA

July 9 & 23, 9AM – 12PM
Towamencin Township Building, 1090 Troxel Road, Lansdale, PA

July 9 & 23, 1PM – 4PM
North Wales Borough Hall, 300 School Street, North Wales, PA

July 10, 15, 17, 22, 24 & 29, 1PM – 4PM
MCCC-Pottstown, 16 E High Street, Pottstown, PA

July 22, 1PM – 4PM
Trappe Borough Hall Building, 525 W Main Street, Trappe, PA

July 24, 9AM – 12PM
Amity Township Building, 2004 Weavertown Road, Douglasville, PA

July 24, 1PM – 4PM
Bally Borough Hall, 425 Chestnut Street, Bally, PA

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

Bill Limiting Smartphone Use in Schools Passes Senate

The Senate this week approved legislation to improve students’ mental health and academic performance by limiting their use of smartphones in school.

Since the early 2010s, there has been a steep decline in mental health in children, and their academic performance is suffering. Children’s compromised mental health, social skills and academic performance directly correlates to the rise of smartphones and social media apps.

Senate Bill 1207 would establish the Cell Phone Lockable Bag Pilot Program until Dec. 1, 2026. The School Safety and Security Committee would award grants to purchase secure, lockable smartphone bags in which students would deposit their mobile devices until the end of the school day.

The bill would also require schools participating in the program to create and post online a policy prohibiting the use of smartphones during school time. It must include exemptions for students who have a documented medical condition – such as diabetes – that requires the use of a phone.

Senate Advances Bill to Allow Year-round Motorcycle Inspections

The Senate passed legislation to allow safety inspections to be performed year-round on motorcycles registered in Pennsylvania.

Even though motorcycles can be purchased and driven on Pennsylvania roadways throughout the year, the state Vehicle Code currently only allows safety inspections to be performed from March to October.

Senate Bill 1147 would eliminate that restriction so motorcycle operators have more opportunities to complete required inspections. Motorcycle registration with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation would continue to be tied to the month the vehicle is to be inspected.

Bill Expanding First Responder Service Dog Fee Exemptions Receives Senate Approval

The Senate approved Senate Bill 82 to extend license fee exemptions to service dogs integral to fire departments, sheriff’s offices and rescue services. This exemption currently applies only to municipal and state police departments. The bill was sent to the governor to be signed into law.

Service dogs detect threats, aid in search and rescue missions, and provide critical support during medical emergencies. The exemption from licensing fees aims to minimize financial barriers for agencies relying on these highly trained animals.

Additionally, the measure addresses challenges created by a revision to the state’s dog law that prohibited out-of-state residents from boarding their dogs in Pennsylvania-based kennels.

Senate Passes Bill Discounting Hunting and Fishing Licenses to Volunteer Firefighters

The Senate approved a bill that would enable volunteer firefighters to obtain discounted hunting licenses and fishing licenses in Pennsylvania.

Resident adult hunting licenses cost $20.97 and fishing licenses cost $27.97. The legislation would reduce the cost of each to $1 for volunteer firefighters who served at least the previous 12 months in the commonwealth.

Pennsylvania in the 1970s had as many as 300,000 volunteer firefighters. There currently are approximately 38,000 volunteer firefighters in the commonwealth.

New $20 Million PBDA Program to Provide Laptops for Libraries, Non-Profits, & Community Institutions Across Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA) announced that the application period for the new Digital Connectivity Technology Program is now open and will be open through Monday, August 19, 2024. Online applications can be made through the PBDA website.

Through the new program, the PBDA will purchase and distribute $20 million in laptops for eligible public-facing institutions such as libraries, municipalities, workforce training organizations, not-for-profit organizations, and other community anchor institutions located in areas where affordability has been identified as a barrier to broadband adoption and use who will then make them available to individuals who lack the technology needed to access the internet.

The PBDA will begin reviewing Digital Connectivity Technology Program applications on August 20 and anticipates announcing the grant awards in November. Projects are expected to begin in early 2025. Grant recipients are required to make digital skills training available through their own program or the free options on the PBDA website, however end users are not required to participate in a training program. 

Across Pennsylvania there are currently 286,000 households, businesses, schools, and libraries that either have no access or insufficient access to broadband. The funding for the Digital Connectivity Technology Program was made available through the American Rescue Plan Capital Projects Funding, announced by the PBDA in March 2024.

Through the federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program the Commonwealth will receive more than $1.16 billion in federal funding to expand broadband in unserved and underserved areas to make sure every Pennsylvanian has access to affordable, high-speed internet. In May, the PBDA received federal approval of its Volume II BEAD Initial Proposal, an important step forward in Pennsylvania’s efforts to invest $1.16 billion in federal funding. The Volume II BEAD Initial Proposal outlines the Commonwealth’s plan to expand internet service for unserved and underserved Pennsylvanians.

In addition to the Digital Connectivity Technology Program and BEAD funding, the Commonwealth also received:

  • $204 million in funding through the Capital Projects Fund Broadband Infrastructure Program to connect unserved/underserved areas, and
  • $45 million through the Multi-Purpose Community Facilities Program for community projects to construct, acquire, or improve facilities that are open to the public and will directly enable work, education, and health monitoring. 

​ ​For a detailed look at the Digital Connectivity Technology Program, please view this helpful program overview and this video presentation.

Visit the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority’s website ​to learn more about its work to close the digital divide in the Commonwealth.  

New Foal at Nolan’s Horse Farm in Perkiomenville

Great news from Jim and Jan Nolan’s horse farm in Perkiomenville, PA! I visited last week, and today they shared the exciting news that they’ve welcomed a new foal to the farm. Congratulations to the Nolans on this wonderful addition!


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