In this Update:
Pennycuick Joins Senate Committee to Examine Student Opportunities for Success
(Sen. Tracy Pennycuick speaks during the recent Senate Education Committee hearing on Student Opportunities for Success.)
The testimony I heard during a recent Senate Education Committee meeting was nothing short of compelling. Parents and advocates continued to make the case that their children’s deserve expanded learning opportunities to meet their individual needs. Every child has potential, but not every child has opportunity. The PASS (Pennsylvania Award for Student Success) program has the potential to give every child the opportunity they deserve.
The version of the 2023-24 state budget, approved by a bipartisan majority in the Senate, contains $100 million to fund the PASS Program, which would provide low-income students in low-performing schools with scholarships to attend another better-performing school. Gov. Josh Shapiro has threatened to line-item veto this funding after previously voicing support for the program. Funding the PASS Program would empower parents and families in the education of their children and would not take a single dollar away from public schools. The state budget passed by the Senate also includes a $567 million increase in basic education funding.
Pottstown Hospital Celebrates 50th Anniversary
Pottstown Hospital celebrated its 50th anniversary with a community celebration at its East High Street location. Pottstown Hospital has served exceptional patient centered care to multiple generations and has responded to the community’s evolving health care needs. It was an honor to present a Senate citation to commemorate this great milestone achievement!
Dog Days of Summer Open House
Please join me for our Dog Days of Summer Open House that welcomes you to bring your favorite canine friend. I will be joined by Rep. Milou Mackenzie along with other community partners. We look forward to providing you with information and answering your questions. Looking for a new friend? There will be an Adoption Meet & Greet with Harley’s Haven Dog Rescue. We will also be collecting donations for the local rescues. Additional community partners at the event include:
The kids can play B-A-R-K-O and the dogs can enjoy the park, all while you get access to important resources. And maybe, you find a new furry friend to add to your family! Be sure to RSVP here. I look forward to meeting you!
Mobile Community Food Drive
This time of year marks a critical time for food banks and pantries. Please help us care for our neighbors by donating to our mobile community food drive! Our collection trailer is located at the Limerick Fire Department, 390 W Ridge Pike, Limerick, PA. We will be accepting perishable and non-perishable food items that have not passed their expiration date, as well as personal care items. The community food drive will benefit The Daily Bread Community Food Pantry.
The Daily Bread Community Food Pantry is the fourth largest food pantry in Montgomery County, serving approximately 250 families or 1,000 individuals each month. Thank you to our community partners, Limerick Fire Department and Zenon Janicki for assisting with this effort.
Mobile Office Hours
My mobile office hours are a great opportunity to connect with my staff, discuss legislation, and receive help with state resources. Find a location near you!
Hedwig House Inc. Back to School Supply Drive
With proper resources students find the confidence to return to school and are empowered to do their best work. We must ensure our children effective and equitable learning environments. Items can be dropped off at my district office at 56 W 4th Street, Red Hill PA 18076.
PA State Universities Hold the Line on Tuition
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) board of governors voted to freeze tuition for the fifth consecutive year, a decision made possible by the financial support provided in state budgets passed by the General Assembly.
The budget passed by the House and Senate would provide an increase of $33 million, or 6%, to PASSHE universities. Offering Pennsylvanians education empowerment and access has been and will continue to be a Senate Republican priority.
The cost for students, had it kept pace with inflation since 2018, would be 21% higher today. In addition to keeping in-state undergraduate tuition at $7,716 for the sixth year, PASSHE students will receive $125 million in university-funded financial aid to help them afford their education.
REAL ID Extension Allows Access Through May 2025
Pennsylvania residents will be able to use their current driver license to access federal facilities through May 7, 2025, under an extension granted by the federal government last week.
REAL ID is a federal law that affects how states issue driver’s licenses and ID cards if they are going to be acceptable for federal purposes, such as boarding a domestic commercial flight, or entering a military installation or federal facility that requires ID.
REAL ID-compliant driver licenses and identification cards are available now to consumers who wish to obtain them. Learn more, including whether you need a REAL ID and what information you must provide if you do, here.
Free Help Available to PA Small Businesses
There are 15 Small Business Development Centers in Pennsylvania that provide free, confidential consulting and low-cost training to small businesses across the state. Trainings cover a range of business issues including testing a new business proposition, shaping a business plan, investing funding opportunities and more.
Whether you have an idea for a new business, want to improve your existing business or would like to buy or sell a business in Pennsylvania, experienced business consultants are available to help you. Read more here.
Observing World Day Against Trafficking in Persons
Sunday, July 30, is World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. By observing this solemn day, we hope to raise awareness of this disturbing exploitation and how to spot trafficking in action. If you suspect human trafficking, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or the ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313.
The Senate unanimously voted to help child human trafficking victims by granting them full access to appropriate services and support. Tragically, under current Pennsylvania law, any minor who is exploited for commercial sex must identify their third-party perpetrator to be considered a victim of human trafficking, unless their purchaser is charged as a trafficker.
Senate Bill 44 would ensure that third-party control is never a consideration for access to services, and Senate Bill 45 would eliminate the third-party control requirement to access victim services under the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline Notification Act.
Connecting PA Veterans with the Benefits They Earned
Ensuring Pennsylvania’s 700,000 veterans get all of the benefits they have earned is an important mission of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) and state lawmakers.
My office hosts veterans’ outreach hours with the American Legion to assist veterans with issues they may be having accessing benefits and services from the state or U.S. Veterans Administration.
Veterans are encouraged to sign up for the DMVA’s Veterans Registry to get timely information about state benefits, programs and services.
DMVA also offers two Mobile Veterans Outreach Vans that travel the state to give veterans one-on-one assistance so they can learn about and apply for the benefits they have earned. Each van is staffed with accredited veterans service officers and is wheelchair accessible. Learn more about the vans and schedule one for a community event here.
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