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Pennycuick Bill Would Give Employers Tax Credit for Hiring National Guard Members

Hoping to incentivize employers to hire Pennsylvania National Guard members, state Sen. Tracy Pennycuick (R-Montgomery/Berks) introduced a bill to provide a $1,000 tax credit to employers who hire them.

“The Pennsylvania National Guard is recognized as one of the finest National Guards in the nation, and it’s largely made up of part-time members who work full-time jobs,” said Pennycuick, a U.S. Army combat veteran. “Giving employers an incentive to hire Guard members boosts access to workers with unique skill sets and makes serving in the Guard more attractive to Pennsylvanians.”

Recruitment and retention numbers for the Guard have dipped in previous years, presenting a manpower challenge as the Guard works to remain mission-ready for its dual state and federal responsibilities. Since most Guardsmen serve “part-time,” a key consideration for these dedicated and skilled individuals is obtaining full-time employment while they serve.

There are more than 700,000 veterans and approximately 18,000 members of the Pennsylvania National Guard in the Keystone State. National Guard members are “citizen soldiers” often called up in emergencies in their home states. They usually drill once a month and undergo training for two weeks yearly.

The governor or the president can call upon the National Guard to help with various situations.

Newly-elected Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker has mulled the idea of asking the National Guard to deal with the open-air illegal drug market that plagues Kensington. However, according to reports, Gov. Josh Shapiro is not likely to go along with that idea.

Under the legislation, a $1,000 tax credit would be available if a business hires an active member of the Pennsylvania Guard or if a current employee enlists or re-enlists in the Guard. The tax credit can offset income tax or corporate net income tax liabilities.

Delaware Valley state Sens. Maria Collett (D-Montgomery), Katie Muth (D-Chester/Montgomery), and Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) are co-sponsors of the bipartisan bill.

“With the second largest National Guard in the nation, it’s clear that Pennsylvanians are committed to service,” said Collett. “Employers across the Commonwealth are in desperate need of a dedicated workforce that has the leadership, skills, and character developed by those who serve in our Guard. That’s why I am proud to sponsor SB 985 with Sen. Pennycuick to incentivize employers to hire even more of our Guard members.

“Whether through a deployment or their employment, this bi-partisan legislation underscores how important our National Guard members are to the safety, security, and strength of Pennsylvania,” said Collett.


Pennycuick Hosts First Veterans Appreciation Breakfast

(From a  press release)

State Sen. Tracy Pennycuick (R-Berks/Montgomery) recently hosted her first Veterans Appreciation Breakfast on Saturday, November 4 at Upper Perkiomen High School, as a way to say “thank you” to all our local heroes.

Several hundred were in attendance, which included veterans, veterans’ guests, exhibitors, and guest speakers. Veterans from every American conflict, from the Korean War to Operation Inherent Resolve, were in attendance. Dr. Jim Arcieri of Community Bible Fellowship Church, recited the blessing and benediction and the keynote speaker was state Rep. Timothy J. O’Neal (R-Washington Co.).

“We can never truly thank our veterans enough for their service to our country and community,” said Senator Pennycuick. “This event is a small token of gratitude that carries a big message: we wouldn’t be the nation we are without our veterans. I am pleased so many of our veterans were able to participate and be recognized for their heroic acts.”

Sen. Tracy Pennycuik talks with a veteran.

Veterans also enjoyed patriotic songs performed by the Upper Perkiomen High School Women’s Choir and the National Anthem performed by Upper Perkiomen High School student, Autumn Alderfer. Attendees were also able to obtain veteran identification cards from the Montgomery County Recorder of Deeds.

Various organizations were available to provide veterans with various information and services including: Montgomery County Recorder of Deeds, Montgomery County Veterans Affairs, Norristown Vet Center, PA Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, Tails of Valor, Paws of Honor Program, Inc., The Korean War Memorial America-Korea Alliance Peace Park, Valley Forge Military Academy & College, Veterans Brotherhood, Vets For Vets Healthcare, state Rep. Milou Mackenzie (R-Bethlehem), state Rep. David Maloney (R-Berks), and state Rep. Donna Scheuren (R-Gilbertsville).

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PA Senate Bill Would Require Armed Officers at Schools

On Aug. 25, a 17-year-old student came to the Cheltenham/Abington football game with a gun tucked into his waistband. That same evening, a teenager was gunned down at a football game in Choctaw, Okla.

State Sen. Mike Regan introduced a ripped-from-the-headlines bill on Tuesday to address fears inspired by stories like these. Senate Bill 907 would require school districts to employ an armed, trained, and vetted security person at every school during school hours.

“Students want to know their schools are safe, and parents want to know their children will come home at the end of the school day. The safety of students, teachers, and school staff should be a top priority. Students deserve a safe environment where they can learn and grow, and teachers should not have the sole responsibility for protecting our kids,” said Regan (R-Cumberland/York).

Abington Police Chief Patrick Molloy said the quick thinking and skill of two of his school resource officers allowed the gun-carrying Cheltenham student to be arrested without incident and before anyone got hurt.

“Thank God for a mother who wanted to remain anonymous, saw the gun in the kid’s waistband,” he said.

He said the youth at the Abington field allegedly had a ghost gun with 30 rounds and two extended magazines with a laser affixed for accuracy.

“God knows what he was up to. But the actions and the planning of those two officers to take him into custody, with very few people even knowing it and escorting him out of there, was remarkable,” said Molloy.

School resource officers have extra training and “want to be with the kids,” he said.

“It takes a special kind of cop that wants to do that,” said Molloy. “I think that’s how we should be recruiting. We should do everything we can. My officers are highly trained. One of them is a SWAT officer. He’s in the school all day. They have all kinds of tools on their belt, but the biggest tool is their ability to communicate and de-escalate.”

“In 30 years, we’ve had school resource officers in Abington Township, and we’ve had no major uses of force,” he added.

Regan’s legislation also aims to enhance safety at school extracurricular activities. It would allow school boards to station armed school security personnel on school grounds during extracurricular events outside regular school hours.

Part of the bill would require any armed school safety personnel to comply with vigorous training and certification requirements, including lethal weapons training and student interaction training.

Sen. Tracy Pennycuick, who represents parts of Montgomery County, applauded the initiative.

“It is unacceptable that our nation’s schools, teachers, and students have become targets for those seeking to perpetrate violence,” Pennycuick said. “Having professionally trained school safety personnel on campus is a commonsense step we can take to better secure our institutions and ensure that there is an extra layer of security keeping our kids safe. Our children are our most cherished treasures, and I applaud my colleague, Sen. Regan, for advancing this important proposal.”

Sen. Jarrett Coleman (R-Bucks/Lehigh) supports efforts to improve and increase school safety but also has not had a chance to read the bill and can’t comment specifically, a spokesman said

But some senators have reservations.

During a podcast interview with DVJournal, Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams (D-Delaware/Philadelphia) said that while he hadn’t seen the bill, he did have some concerns about the concept.

“I don’t know the bill,” said Williams. “I don’t know the limitations or parameters. I don’t know who gets to be armed, or how much training they have. Many of the police officers who do school policing are not necessarily candidates that have graduated from the law enforcement schools.”

He pointed to the death of 8-year-old Fanta Bility who was hit by gunfire from three now-former Sharon Hill officers. They reacted to shots fired by two teenagers who were fighting down the block and fired into people leaving a game.

“Unfortunately, I have to say this, you know, we had police officers that were not trained at a sporting event that led to significant tragedy and the death of a child in Delaware County,” said Williams. “So just having someone there without proper training does not guarantee anyone’s safety.”

Regan argues the state must step up.

“We require our children to attend school; therefore, it is incumbent upon us to do everything we can to secure them while they are there,” Regan said. “Failure to enact this bill would leave our schools, teachers, and students more vulnerable to attack. That is too great a risk that we just cannot take.”

Since 2018, the General Assembly has appropriated $800 million in grant funds to help districts pay for school safety and security upgrades. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, about half of the commonwealth’s 500 school districts have taken advantage of that funding to put armed officers in schools.

“Many school districts haven’t done what is considered by school security experts as the most effective method of deterring acts of violence, and that is putting an armed, trained, and vetted officer in every building. The time to fix that is now, before another school falls victim to a heinous act of violence,” Regan said.

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PENNYCUICK: It’s Not Too Late to Save the State Budget Agreement

Once again, it’s summer, and Pennsylvania is without a new state budget. It’s a story we hear all too often in our state’s capital. I want to take the opportunity to explain why I am a firm supporter of the 2023-24 spending plan that passed the Senate in late June.

The $45.5 billion spending proposal that passed in both chambers has a lot to like. It contains no broad-based tax increases, fully funds state government’s core responsibilities and obligations, and puts money away to prevent future tax increases. It is an expression of our priorities that puts Pennsylvania in a strong position.

The budget provided more funding to help law enforcement keep our communities safe, funds four new State Police cadet classes, and places State Police funding on a more stable footing by moving it from Transportation to the General Fund. This move will free up additional dollars to be devoted to our state’s roads and bridges – nearly $500 million more by 2026.

Equally as important, $500 million was added to our state’s Rainy-Day fund, which is crucial for funding vital services and preventing tax increases during economic downturns. It wasn’t long ago that the Rainy Day fund balance stood near zero, putting our state’s financial future at risk.

But above all else, I firmly support this budget because of the significant new funding for schools. The budget includes more than $1 billion in new funding for public education, including historic levels for basic education, special education, and early learning programs. It also contains significant new funds for career and technical institutes, which play an invaluable role in preparing young people for promising in-demand careers.

These investments build on the previous General Assembly increases for basic education, which increased by $1.05 billion over the last two fiscal years.

This budget puts Pennsylvanians first and was a product of robust negotiations with Gov. Josh Shapiro and included bipartisan compromises on both sides of the aisle on key priorities important to Republicans and Democrats.

Unfortunately, the agreed-upon budget passed by the Senate ran into opposition from special interest groups, which led to Gov. Shapiro announcing he would line-item veto a key budget provision, one he highlighted in his campaign for governor.

That is the Pennsylvania Award for Student Success (PASS) program. This $100 million program, representing 0.2 percent of our budget, is designed to provide a lifeline for students trapped in Pennsylvania’s worst-performing schools. The program is simple: a student attending a school performing in the lowest 15 percent of achievement and living in a household 250 percent or below the federal poverty level ($75,000 for a family of four) can qualify for a scholarship to go to another better-performing school.

The program levels the playing field and gives families the ability to decide what is best for their children. But best of all, it allows thousands of children to escape failing schools and the opportunity to obtain a high-quality education.

Most importantly, the program does not take a single dollar of state support away from public education.

Every day that passes is one less day a child in a failing district has to receive a high-quality education. It is time that we provide hope for these families.

This is a concept that Gov. Shapiro has repeatedly supported and was a central element of his campaign message to the people of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, his reversal on this important educational program leaves the previously reached budget compromise in jeopardy.

House Democrats followed his lead and only passed the spending plan part of the budget, with the promise from the Governor that he would veto the PASS program.

The PASS program is worth fighting for because it has the potential to provide hope and lift children out of poverty without impacting state funding for education.

I agree with the governor when he said Senate Republicans must “give more than they’re used to,” and House Democrats cannot “expect to get everything they’ve wanted over the last decade in one budget.” I believe the Senate Republicans have lived up to their side of this equation, having compromised and included many programs, such as indigent defense, whole home repair, and level-up funding, important to Democrats.

It is my hope that Gov. Shapiro will change course and again support this pivotal program so that we can finish the 2023-24 budget. We have an obligation to ensure that this budget works for all Pennsylvanians, especially for those left behind in failing schools.

Pennycuick Vows to Keep Fighting Against PA Puppy Mills

The Delaware Valley is home to two kennels listed on the Humane Society of the United States horrible 100 puppy mills.

The HSUS says 10,000 puppy mills are active, with 500,000 dogs kept solely for breeding. Once their useful lives are over, those dogs are often killed or abandoned. Some 2.6 million puppies sold each year come from puppy mills.

But state Sen. Tracy Pennycuick (R-Bucks/Montgomery) wants to take a bite out of the puppy mill business through Victoria’s Law. It would ban pet stores from buying puppies from puppy mills.

Pennycuick, who introduced the bill in 2021 when she was a state representative, is now backing the legislation in the legislature’s upper chamber. She previously said Victoria’s Law would help ensure that reputable breeders can continue operating but would end “the deplorable conditions, overbreeding, and perpetuation of poor health traits for which puppy mills have become known.”

Pennycuick said recently, “I still have Victoria’s Law and will possibly introduce it in the fall.”

“I am also sponsoring a predatory financing bill so pet stores cannot charge up to 151 percent financing of a dog or cat,” said Pennycuick. “People who need to finance a dog or cat often cannot afford the vet bills required to care for a pet. Sen. Elder Vogel (R-Beaver) has a bill that would rework some of the current dog laws to bring the costs in line with today’s cost of living. This would allow for more inspectors for kennels.”

Grace Kelly Herbert, president of Finding Shelter Animal Rescue, had owned Victoria, a German Shepherd bred for 10 years by a puppy mill and passed down a genetic disorder to more than 100 puppies.

“This is something we have to fix,” said Herbert. “I am so thankful for every single legislator who is stepping up.”

The annual HSUS Horrible 100 report seeks to increase awareness of puppy mills and to stop buyers from purchasing dogs bred there, where there are diseases, a lack of sanitation and food, and mistreatment of the animals.

“In puppy mills, mother dogs spend their entire lives in cramped cages with little personal attention. When the mother and father dogs can no longer breed, they are abandoned or killed. Due to poor sanitation, overbreeding, and a lack of preventive veterinary care, the puppies frequently suffer from various health issues, creating heartbreaking challenges for families who should be enjoying the delights of adopting a new family member.”

Neither Blissful Paws in New Providence nor Woodland Puppies in Honey Brook, listed in the HSUS report, could be reached for comment.

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Pennycuick Unveils Capitol Display Commemorating PA Women Veterans

From a press release

Sen. Tracy Pennycuick (R-Bucks/Montgomery) unveiled a display at the state Capitol commemorating women veterans as Pennsylvania prepares to observe the first official Women Veterans Day on June 12.

The event in the East Wing Rotunda paid particular tribute to the heroic women of the Commonwealth who, after their time in the military, continued their commitment to serve in the state legislature and administration.

“Next Monday will mark the first time the Commonwealth will observe this important day since Act 129 of 2022 was signed into law,” said Pennycuick. “As a U.S. Army combat veteran, I authored the legislation establishing June 12 as Women Veterans Day in Pennsylvania because I thought it was past time to recognize this burgeoning category of patriots.”

While women have served in the American military since before the United States was established as a nation, it was not until 1948 that women were recognized as military members or veterans. Until then, only women nurses and secretaries received full veteran benefits.

(From left) Brig. Gen. Maureen Weigl, Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity, Command Sgt. Maj. Shannon Cullen, McHugh, Col. Robin Hightower,Sen. Tracy Pennycuick and former state Rep. Karen Beyer.

President Truman signed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act on June 12, 1948, allowing women to serve as permanent, regular members of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force.

By 2040 it is estimated that women will make up roughly 17 percent of the total veteran population.

“That’s why I’m sponsoring bipartisan legislation to establish the Task Force on Women Veterans’ Health Care in Pennsylvania,” said Pennycuick. “The task force will study health issues facing women veterans and make recommendations to the governor and General Assembly for implementation.”

The honorees today included PA Treasurer Stacy Garrity, former state Rep. Karen Beyer, Rep. Nancy Guenst, Rep. Natalie Mihalek, Adj. Gen. Jessica Wright (Retired), PA Civil Service Commissioner Pam Iovino, Brig. Gen. Laura McHugh, Brig. Gen. Maureen Weigl (Retired), Col. Robin Hightower (Retired) and Command Sgt. Maj. Shannon Cullen.

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DelVal’s Pennycuick Introduces Kratom Consumer Protection Act

Since the 1960s, Americans have consumed a lot of mind-altering substances in an effort to, as Timothy Leary said, “turn on, tune in, drop out.”

The latest mind-altering craze is kratom, a lightly regulated hallucinogenic substance used in the Delaware Valley and elsewhere.

Radnor Township fought a court battle to keep a CBD Kratom shop from opening at a former Starbucks on Lancaster Avenue in the heart of Wayne. Residents loudly objected to the store, located near two schools, which flaunted a giant marijuana leaf on its window. That litigation continues after Radnor won the first round and CBD Kratom appealed.

“We are still engaged in litigation with Radnor Township but are hopeful for an amicable resolution down the road, especially with the changing perception and education regarding kratom and hemp-derived cannabinoids,” a store spokeswoman said.

John Rice, Radnor Township solicitor, said, “The court denied their preliminary injunction request last October, but they are pursuing a final hearing. They are also attempting to open without selling the two restricted products, Kratom and Delta-8.”

Now state Sen. Tracy Pennycuick (R-Bucks/Montgomery) has introduced the Kratom Consumer Protection Act (Senate Bill 614) to prohibit the sale of kratom to children. She calls kratom a “hallucinogenic and potentially addictive substance.” This bill provides a regulatory framework to protect consumers.

“Kratom is a legal substance that is readily available and commonly sold as a pill, capsule, or extract in many convenience stores across Pennsylvania,” Pennycuick said. “There are very few laws currently on the books that govern this potentially dangerous substance. The commonsense measures I am proposing will help to put regulatory guardrails on this substance, prevent purchases by minors and ensure that consumers know exactly what is in the product they are buying.”

Kratom is derived from a tropical tree (Mitragyna speciosa) native to Southeast Asia. The leaves contain compounds that can cause hallucinatory effects and can be addictive since the results are similar to that of opioids and stimulants.

Kratom can be deadly if abused, critics say. A West Chester family sued a company that distributes kratom after the 2019 death of their 25-year-old son. Advocates have since called for imposing greater restrictions and regulations on the drug.

Pennycuick’s legislation would prohibit the preparation, manufacture, sale, or distribution of kratom products mixed with unsafe ingredients and the sale or distribution of kratom products to people under 21. Kratom product packaging must also include adequate consumption directions, including a recommended serving size.

“CBD Kratom is proud to support the efforts being made by Sen. Tracy Pennycuick regarding SB 614 to regulate the sale and production of kratom products in the state of Pennsylvania. This language will ensure that kratom products on the market are held to safety and purity standards while simultaneously keeping these products out of the hands of minors. This legislation will support the kratom industry and provide much-needed transparency and confidence to kratom consumers in Pennsylvania,” said Spencer Owners, government affairs specialist with CDB Kratom.

Kratom does not fall under the Controlled Substances Act, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve it for medical use. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration recently listed kratom as a “Drug and Chemical of Concern.”

“Kratom is garnering national attention for its potential for abuse,” Pennycuick said. “Now is the time to put guardrails in place to help ensure that the public is protected.”

Pennycuick’s bill has been referred to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee for consideration.

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PA Senate Committee Demands Answers on East Palestine Derailment

Pennsylvania state senators hammered Norfolk Southern Railway’s chef executive Monday over his company’s recent train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. It also affected Pennsylvania residents just across the state line.

The Senate Veteran’s Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, chaired by Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin) and Sen. Katie Muth (D-Berks/Chester/Montgomery), asked Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw a battery of questions about the decision for a controlled burn of rail cars that carried toxic chemicals at the East Palestine derailment site.

“Who specifically in unified command said to do this?” Mastriano asked. “You’re blaming it on the fire chief in East Palestine. Your cars are on fire, it’s your railroad, and you’re going to leave it to the local fire chief who never had to deal with such a catastrophe before? Who said, ‘We’re going to this’?”

Shaw said the decision was made by “unified command” and that “ultimately, the decision falls on the incident commander under consultation with unified command.”

Sen. Tracy Pennycuick (R-Bucks/Montgomery) claimed the committee was “kind of glossing over” the seriousness of the situation in East Palestine just after the derailment.

“I personally think that the fire chief did the right thing,” she argued. “I’ve seen a helicopter explode, and I’ve seen the injuries when we didn’t do a controlled burn and let the fuel out.”

“I’m just trying to see if you can paint a picture for us of what that might have looked like if you had not done a controlled burn,” she said, calling it “important that we all understand what it would have looked like because I think (that) would have been catastrophic in life and property.”

Shaw responded that “the very real concern” at the time “was there would have been an uncontrolled, catastrophic explosion which would have shot vinyl chloride gas which, as you know, is denser than air, throughout the community along with shrapnel.

“So, all the relevant parties got together and modeled the dispersion, the government authorities modeled the dispersion with inputs from a number of sources,” he said.

Shaw added post-burn testing in the area indicated that “it was a success. It worked.” He said Norfolk Southern would compensate residents and businesses for their losses and reimburse them for medical care.

Andrew Whelton, a professor of civil, environmental, and ecological engineering at Purdue University, argued before the committee that the EPA and state agencies are not testing for all the toxic chemicals that might have been released in the incident.

Whelton, who has been studying soil, water, and air samples of the area with a team of volunteer researchers, said if a test is not done for certain cancer-causing chemicals, investigators won’t find them.

“The numbers don’t matter,” he said. “It matters what you test for.”

Mastriano, at one point, claimed that when he visited the site with his staff, their upper respiratory tracts burned and they developed rashes. Residents have told him about various health problems stemming from the wreck, he said.

The committee also heard briefly from railroad accident investigator Robert Comer, who said the railcars that carried the toxic chemicals did not belong to Norfolk Southern but to private companies. He speculated as to whether the railroad had checked those cars for problems before it added them to the train.

A bearing that caught fire is being blamed preliminarily for the derailment. Previously, the National Transportation Safety Board said the train continued running with an overheated bearing for 20 miles before it derailed, despite warning indicators.

Comer said poor track conditions with old, wooden railroad ties could also have played a role in the accident.

Shaw promised to help the residents and clean up the area affected by the derailment.

“I am determined to make this right,” said Shaw. “Norfolk Southern is determined to clean the site safely. We’ll get the job done and help these communities thrive.”

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Chester County Dumps TikTok, State Senate Committee Approves Ban

The video app TikTok, a favorite of teenagers, continues to be under fire in the Keystone State over its connections to China’s communist regime.

A state Senate committee and Chester County’s government are the latest local entities to take action. Previously, state Treasurer Stacy Garrity ordered it removed from her department’s devices while in Washington, D.C. the Biden administration recently gave federal agencies 30 days to get rid of the app.

On Monday, the Senate Communications and Technology Committee announced legislation to protect the information of Pennsylvania state government, including citizen information, by prohibiting state-owned devices from downloading and using TikTok, committee chair Sen. Tracy Pennycuick (R-Bucks/Montgomery) said.

“We are talking about the potential of foreign governments having access to Americans’ personal information,” Pennycuick said. “We have many state employees who use TikTok. The opening presented to foreign bad actors to exploit this information is huge. By passing this measure, we will have blocked another potential avenue for cyber incursion and improve state government’s cyber defenses.”

Chester County’s director of information recently sent an email to employees instructing them to remove TikTok from their county equipment.

Delaware County has not taken that step.

“Delaware County has not currently taken any specific action regarding use of TikTok on county-owned phones. Internet policies are continuously under review to help ensure the continued security of the county’s networks and devices,” said Adrienne Marofsky, director of communications.

James O’Malley, a Bucks County spokesman, said, “Like countless other users of TikTok, we have watched the emerging revelations around this company with great concern. While the county uses TikTok as a platform to share information with the public, we will continue to monitor developments in the ongoing national discussion.”

Montgomery County officials did not respond when asked about their TikTok policy.

Neither did Pennsylvania’s two U.S. senators, both of whom are TikTok users. Democrats Bob Casey and  John Fetterman are among just 32 of the 535 members of Congress who, according to a review by States Newsroom in January are using the app. Fetterman joined TikTok last summer, long after the company’s problematic policies were well known.

Casey and Fetterman have declined to respond to repeated requests for comment about their TikTok accounts.

Garrity has been one of the most aggressive elected officials when it comes to TikTok. “Treasury’s computer network is targeted by scammers and criminals every day,” Garrity said when she announced her agency’s ban. “TikTok presents a clear danger due to its collection of personal data and its close connection to the communist Chinese government. Banning TikTok from Treasury devices and systems is an important step in our never-ending work to ensure the safety of Pennsylvanians’ hard-earned tax dollars and other important, sensitive information entrusted to Treasury.”

A TikTok spokeswoman noted Congress passed the ban on federal devices in December but called it “little more than political theater.”

“The swiftest and most thorough way to address any national security concerns about TikTok is for CFIUS to adopt the proposed agreement that we worked with them on for nearly two years. These plans have been developed under the oversight of our country’s top national security agencies, and we are well underway in implementing them to further secure our platform in the United States,” she said.

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Sen. Pennycuick Appointed to State Council on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children

State Senate President pro tempore Kim Ward appointed Sen. Tracy Pennycuick (R-Bucks/Montgomery) to a four-year term on the Council on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunities for Military Children. Pennycuick, a military veteran, said she was honored by the opportunity to serve.

Pennsylvania joined the Interstate Compact in 2012. Its purpose is to reduce and remove educational and emotional barriers imposed on children of active-duty military families because of the frequent moves and deployment of their parents. All 50 states and the District of Columbia are working to provide a consistent set of policies that will make getting started in a new school, joining extracurricular activities, and meeting graduation requirements as easily as possible for military children.

“Having young children during the time of my service has given me firsthand experience in this matter,” Pennycuick said. “The transition for my family was never easy. It is an honor to now bring my personal experiences and those of my children, to the table, and ensure stability and a smooth transition within these children’s lives because they too are making a sacrifice.”

The appointment coincides with Pennycuick’s recently introduced Senate Bill 209, which would extend the Interstate Compact to children of Pennsylvania National Guard and Reservist members.

Pennycuick grew up near Boston. An Army combat veteran, she initially enlisted as a medic. She earned a degree in business and a commission in the U.S. Army. She served as a Blackhawk pilot, including three combat tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Desert Storm where she was awarded the bronze star.

Pennycuick retired as a lieutenant colonel after 26 years of service and settled with her family in Harleysville. She was a platoon leader, operations officer, company commander, aviation group safety officer, brigade human resources officer, executive officer, Department of Defense efficiency expert, and foreign liaison to the U.K. Ministry of Defence.

Before she was elected to the Senate in November, Pennycuick served as a state representative.

Pennsylvania joined the Interstate Compact in 2012.

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