Senator Pennycuick E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Mobile Office Hours
  • FREE Senior Expo
  • We Need Your Help to Close the Digital Divide
  • FREE License Plate Replacement Event
  • New Hanover Township’s Traffic Garden
  • Senate to Reconvene to Work on Finalizing State Budget
  • New Website Reports Cost and Quality of Hospital Care
  • PA 529 Fees Waived Again
  • New CDL Skills Test Intended to Attract More School Bus Drivers
  • Free Hunter-Trapper Education Course Available
  • Recognizing International Overdose Awareness Day
  • Sign Petition to Support Students in Failing Schools

Mobile Office Hours

FREE Senior Expo

Rep. Milou Mackenzie and I are hosting a Senior Expo on Friday, September 15 at the Upper Perk YMCA (1399 Quakertown Rd, Pennsburg, PA 18073). This event will include community resources, health screenings, educational information, and a wide variety of exhibitors!

More information about this event can be found on the flyer. I encourage you to share the flyer with your loved ones and those in your community.

To pre-register we kindly request you visit my website at I hope to see you there!

We Need Your Help to Close the Digital Divide

We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to close the digital divide in Pennsylvania and we need your help! The internet has become a vital part of our society, and its use only continues growing. Fast and reliable connections are integral in how we communicate, run our businesses, access services, and educate our children. But homes and communities in our area and throughout the Commonwealth still face challenges getting – and staying – online.

Pennsylvania is slated to receive billions of dollars to help close the digital divide in our community. Right now, the state is putting together a plan that will guide the allocation and programming of these dollars. As the Chair of the Senate Communications and Technology Committee, I am inviting you to a public meeting I am hosting with my co-chair, Senator Dillion, to speak with community members and residents about PA’s Digital Equity plan.

**Your participation in this meeting is essential in supporting our collective interests in fast, reliable high-speed internet service for everyone. Our meeting is scheduled for September 5th, 6:00pm, at Montgomery County Community College Pottstown Campus’ North Hall building, Room 202, located at 16 East High Street, Pottstown, PA 19464.**

Please RSVP for the meeting by using this link.

This meeting is part of a larger strategic effort led by the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA). Through a robust meeting series, the PBDA will connect with a diverse array of Pennsylvanians and use the public input to help develop plans to address broadband service needs in unserved and underserved communities. The plans will help ensure everyone has the skills, technology, and capacity needed to benefit from our digital economy.

Please note:  

FREE License Plate Replacement Event

In an ongoing effort to better serve my district, I will be hosting a License Plate Replacement event on Thursday, October 12 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm at Upper Gwynedd Township Police Department.

Need a new license plate? Register NOW!

New Hanover Township’s Traffic Garden

Congratulations to New Hanover Township on the opening of their Traffic Garden! This unique space serves as an educational tool for children where they learn the importance of traffic safety, while having loads of fun! This initiative was funded through the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s preventative health and human services block grant. Be sure to check it out!

Senate to Reconvene to Work on Finalizing State Budget

Next week, the Senate will return to session to work toward finalizing the 2023-24 state budget. Because the budget bill itself has been passed, the focus will be on legislation necessary to implement the budget. I hope the House of Representatives will also reconvene before its scheduled return on Sept. 26.

Decisions we make now will have a big financial impact for years to come, so we are committed to taking the responsible long-term approach. Doing so will provide certainty for Pennsylvanians in uncertain times.

Watch session live here on Wednesday, Aug. 30, at 1 p.m.

New Website Reports Cost and Quality of Hospital Care

Pennsylvanians have a new tool to research the cost and quality of health care in their area.

The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, an independent state government agency, redesigned its website to better showcase its quality-related reports. It offers data to help people compare hospitals by procedure, condition, specialty and cost.

View the free public reports and browse the data here.

PA 529 Fees Waived Again

In addition to the usual state and federal tax advantages, people who use PA 529 plans to save to attend a technical school, community college or four-year college – or enter an apprenticeship – will also enjoy reduced fees for the second year in a row.

Asset-based fees will again be waived for PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan (GSP) owners. Fee waivers will be funded by PA 529 GSP surplus earnings.

State fees will decrease by 0.5 basis points effective Sept. 1 for PA 529 Investment Plan (IP) account owners. This reduction and one announced last month will result in a savings of more than $800,000 for account holders throughout this fiscal year.

New CDL Skills Test Intended to Attract More School Bus Drivers

Beginning Monday, Aug. 28, a modernized commercial driver’s license (CDL) skills test will be implemented at all Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) driver license centers that offer CDL skills tests and at all third party CDL driving skill testers.

Applicants who will take the test after Aug. 28 are encouraged to review updated materials here.

As some schools are already back in session and others are scheduled to start soon, there is a pressing need to ensure the availability of school bus drivers. According to PennDOT, these measures will streamline the school bus endorsement process and hopefully attract new drivers – alleviating Pennsylvania’s school bus driver shortage.

Free Hunter-Trapper Education Course Available

All first-time hunters and trappers, regardless of age, must successfully complete hunter-trapper education training before they can buy a Pennsylvania hunting or trapping license.

A free in-person hunter-trapper education course is available to anyone 11 years and older. It covers responsible hunting behavior, firearms basics and safety, basic shooting, wildlife conservation and management, outdoor safety and survival, hunting techniques, trapping and fur taking basics, and hunting safety.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission also has three online hunter-trapper education courses: online hunter education for $34.95, NRA free online hunter education course and interactive online hunter education for $50. Learn more and register for a course here.

Recognizing International Overdose Awareness Day

Sadly, the opioid epidemic still impacts communities all across our state. It affects people regardless of age, race, socioeconomic status and gender – threatening our families and the safe communities we all want to enjoy.

As International Overdose Awareness Day approaches on Aug. 31, Senate Republicans remain committed to fighting the epidemic. The Senate unanimously passed legislation allowing EMS providers to leave life-saving naloxone, or Narcan, with the on-scene caregiver of a patient who overdosed on opioids but was revived.

Senate Republicans also passed a bill banning  official “injection sites,” which do not help to overcome addiction and instead encourage the continued use of illegal and often deadly drugs. Injection sites normalize drug use and send a powerful, dangerous and incorrect message from government that illegal drugs can be used safely.

Sign Petition to Support Students in Failing Schools

Senate Republicans and Democrat Gov. Josh Shapiro compromised on a state budget agreement for the 2023-24 fiscal year. That agreement included an increase of more than half a billion dollars to fund public education in Pennsylvania.

In addition to the substantial public education funding, the budget deal also reflected the reality that many students are trapped in failing public schools. It included $100 million for the Pennsylvania Award for Student Success (PASS) Program, which would give thousands of students increased educational opportunities.

Unfortunately, after House Democrats pushed back against this bipartisan plan, the governor abandoned his own priority and the agreement he pledged to support. Please make your support known for PASS scholarships by signing the petition here.


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