Rep. Melissa Shusterman
March 18, 2019
Thank you to my colleagues for passing my House Resolution to designate this Thursday, March 21 as Rosie the Riveter Day in PA. I had the honor of having two Rosie the Riveters, Mae Krier and Ruth Wilson, as my guests in Harrisburg. We would not have won WWII if it weren’t for these courageous women. They didn’t get the recognition they deserved back then, but we made sure they got it today!
March 12, 2019
Chesco, Delco lawmakers urge Wolf to halt Mariner pipeline operations
WEST CHESTER — Pennsylvania lawmakers representing 11 House and three Senatorial districts across Chester and Delaware counties have signed a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf asking him to impose a moratorium on the transmission of natural gas liquids products through the Mariner East pipeline system until the mandated protocols are in place for local responders to properly manage a pipeline emergency.
Chester County Emergency Services and local school districts along the pipeline, including Downingtown Area School District, Rose Tree Media School District and West Chester Area School District have requested Energy Transfer Partners’ subsidiary SPLP to provide its Emergency Response Plan for the Mariner East project, which the responders and school districts need to complete their comprehensive All Hazards Emergency Response Plans and fulfill their statutory requirements under Title 35 of state law.
The letter urges Wolf to preserve the health, welfare and safety of constituents who live, work and raise their families in the high-consequence areas of Chester and Delaware counties within the impact radius of Mariner East. The pipeline also runs through Berks County.
“We have pipelines currently transporting highly volatile products through our communities, and our local first responders are not able to adequately plan their emergency response or mitigate our risk because the operator has failed to cooperate with repeated requests for their Emergency Response Plan,” said state Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester County. “Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco are risking a catastrophe, which is a criminal offense.
“I am grateful to my colleagues for their collaboration on this request. The bipartisan support for this moratorium underscores how important it is to take every possible step to ensure the safety of our communities and our first responders.”
The letter was signed by the following state representatives Rep. Steve Barrar, R-60 of Concord; Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-156 of West Chester; Friel Otten, D-155 of West Whiteland; Rep. Kristine Howard, D-167; Rep. Tim Hennessey, R-26; Rep. John Lawrence, R-13; Rep. Chris Quinn, R-168 of Middletown; Christina Sappey, D-158; Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-157; Rep. Dan Williams, D-74; and Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-161, as well as state Sens. Andy Dinniman, D-19; Katie Muth, D-44; and Tim Kearney, D-26 of Swarthmore.
Mariner East spokesmen did not return a call for comment as yet.
The company is building and operating the controversial Mariner East project, transporting volatile liquid gases across the full width of Pennsylvania, from the Marcellus Shale region to a facility in Marcus Hook.
Residents have opposed the project for years, saying the pipeline never should have been routed through densely populated neighborhoods, in close proximity to schools and senior centers.
Mariner East 1, which is a decades old smaller pipe that has been retrofitted to carry the new materials, has been shut down for weeks since a sinkhole formed in a Chester County neighborhood for the second time.
Mariner East 2 came online the last week of December, albeit not in the form Energy Transfer originally proposed. Mariner East 2 was proposed as a 20-inch pipe, but because of constant delays and other problems, Energy Transfer plugged in a hybrid version of several smaller pipes to fill in the gaps. Completion of the full Mariner East 2 pipeline now likely will not take place until 2020.
Mariner East 2x remains under construction.
In February the state Department of Environmental Protection halted all permits for the Mariner East 2 project, saying Energy Transfer had failed to take proper actions after an accident that caused an explosion in western Pennsylvania.
Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan last month announced he was launching a criminal investigation into the construction of Mariner East 2, noting his belief that state officials had not adequately protected citizens rights and safety. He now is impaneling an investigative grand jury to hear testimony from witnesses and review documents.
March 7, 2019
This issue isn’t about taking from responsible gun owners and hunters. It’s about giving people commonsense reforms that will save lives and protect innocent families. I hosted today’s PA House Democratic Policy Committee hearing to find legislative ways to rid our communities of this senseless violence. We want to thank people from both sides – community members, veterans, current gun owners – for supporting our efforts to find middle ground on an issue that impacts the entire commonwealth.
March 5, 2019
Shusterman introduces bill to help create jobs and boost Pennsylvania’s economy
HARRISBURG, March 5 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman introduced legislation today to ensure that Pennsylvania’s economy is boosted by a state loan guarantee program that assists early and mid-stage businesses.
House Bill 719 would ensure businesses using the Second Stage Loan program will create more job opportunities in Pennsylvania, and would ensure that businesses that receive loan guarantees are not only located in Pennsylvania, but stay in Pennsylvania.
“The Second Stage Loan Program provides vital assistance to help businesses grow and thrive, and we want to make sure we’re boosting Pennsylvania’s economy, too,” said Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery. “I was elected to bring commonsense legislation to Pennsylvania. This bill would provide a stronger economy and create sustainable jobs in my district and around the state.”
The Second Stage Loan Program is a loan guarantee administered by the Commonwealth Financing Authority that guaranteed loans made by commercial lending institutions to life science, advanced technology, or manufacturing businesses. The program provides banks with an extra measure of security to encourage them to provide early stage companies with working capital.
February 25, 2019
Letter to the editor: Commit to 100 percent renewable energy
I want to thank the following Pennsylvania House representatives for co-sponsoring Rep. Chris Rabb’s House Bill 2132, to transition Pennsylvania to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. If passed in the Pennsylvania House and Senate, it will add 380,000 good-paying jobs to Pennsylvania’s existing 60,000 clean-energy jobs, while saving all of us more than $12,000 per year, by 2050.
This well-thought-out bill is currently co-sponsored by Patrick Harkins, Adam Ravenstahl, Austin Davis, Carol Hill-Evans, Jeanne McNeill, Steve Samuelson, Thomas Murt, Danielle Otten, Carolyn Comitta, Melissa Shusterman, Gene DiGirolamo, Sara Innamorato, Elizabeth Fiedler, Austin Davis, Steve McCarter, Tina Davis, Stephen Kinsey, Jared Solomon and Greg Vitali.
I have contacted my representative, Anita Astorino-Kulik, to request that she quickly join them. If you do not see your representative listed here, please join me in contacting him/her with an urgent request that they co-sponsor this historic bill to benefit all current and future Pennsylvanians.
Rep. Melissa Shusterman
February 25, 2019
Harrisburg Legislative Update
As a member of the Judiciary Committee, I am proud to inform you that MARSY’s LAW, protecting victims of crime and bringing more rights to victims, passed out of Judiciary Committee as well as other laws protecting victims.
More information below.
The Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee voting on a handful of bills aimed at protecting victims of crimes from abuse and violence. Four of the five bills easily made it out of committee. However, one bill that would add victim’s rights to the Pennsylvania Constitution was debated for about a half hour before ultimately being passed out of committee.
Pennsylvania is currently one of nine states that does not provide constitutional protections to the rights of crime victims. Mary’s law, also known as HB276.
“We very much give rights to those that are accused, as we should,” said Representative Sheryl Delozier. “But what we need to recognize is, the victim is victimized by the crime and then re-victimized by the system when their voice is not heard.”
Mary’s Law already passed the General Assembly last session but needs to pass once more. Then, it will be put on the ballot this November for voters to decide if the state’s constitution should be changed for victim’s rights. View video here
February 8, 2019
Legislators respond to DEP decision to suspend review of Energy Transfer permits
HARRISBURG, Feb. 8 – State Reps. Carolyn Comitta, Danielle Friel Otten, Kristine Howard, Leanne Krueger, Christina Sappey and Melissa Shusterman met with Gov. Tom Wolf and his staff last week to address the growing problems with Energy Transfer’s Mariner East project.
Today, those representatives have issued the following statement regarding news that the Department of Environmental Protection has suspended review of permit applications and other pending approvals for Energy Transfer due to noncompliance:
“We applaud the unwavering efforts of community members who continue to make their voices heard and draw attention to serious hazards and areas of oversight that need improvement.
“The action taken by the Department of Environmental Protection today is a step in the right direction.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to have a seat at the table for our communities and we look forward to continued collaboration with our state agencies and the governor’s staff to put the interests of the people of Pennsylvania first and foremost. There is still a lot of work to be done and we will use every tool available to us to make our community’s voice heard.”
The same six representatives sent a letter to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission earlier this week, urging action related to a recent sinkhole along the Mariner East 1 pipeline. The letter can be found here. Source
January 30, 2019
Rep Melissa Shusterman
You sent me to Harrisburg to serve you and your family. However, special interests are standing in my way, preventing me from doing my job. I’m fighting to change that.
Rep. Melissa Shusterman
Enough is enough! We can no longer have this amount of gun violence across Pennsylvania. It’s time to take action, protect our communities, and pass commonsense gun reform.
House members propose rule reforms to change how the House runs
A group of bipartisan House members joined in the Capitol Media Center Tuesday afternoon to announce a package of rules that they are introducing to help with what they believe will make the House of Representatives more transparent and accountable.
The proposed rules reforms include:
- Rep. Pam DeLissio (D-Philadelphia) and Rep. Joe Webster (D-Montgomery) – Ensuring votes are taken in committee on popular bills.
- Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) – Makes the rules voted in on Jan. 1st temporary for 75 days until a committee studies, gathers public comment and recommends changes.
- Rep. Steve Samuelson (D-Northampton) – Requires bills with 102 or more co-sponsors will go straight to the floor without amendment.
- Rep. Melissa Shusterman (D-Chester) – Gives every member of the House a chance to get a priority bill debated in committee.
- Rep. Joe Webster (D-Montgomery) – Ensures the makeup of House committees reflects the makeup of the full house.
- Rep. Jennifer O’Mara (D-Delaware) – Gives the legislature 24 hours to learn about changes to a bill before a vote is taken.
- Rep. Robert Freeman (D-Northampton) – Requires a committee in possession of a bill that is the subject of a discharge resolution procedure to report the bill to the House Floor for consideration without amending the bill or recommending it to be re-committed to another committee.
- Rep. Wendy Ullman (D-Bucks) – Requires that any bill that has been amended in committee after it has received second consideration by the full House, to be sent back to second consideration by the House.
- Rep. Pam DeLissio (D-Philadelphia) – Makes sure the definitions of parliamentary procedures used during debate are applied evenly and in a nonpartisan way. Source
January 28, 2019
Shusterman appointed to House Judiciary, Tourism, Aging committees
HARRISBURG, Jan. 28 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman today announced she was appointed to three House committees, including the powerful Judiciary Committee.
Shusterman was also appointed to serve on the Tourism and Recreational Development Committee, and the Aging and Older Adult Services Committee.
“I am honored to be placed on the Judiciary, Tourism and Aging committees. I was elected to be a leader for my community, and these committee assignments give me the ability to affect change and provide the transparency that my constituents expect,” said Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery. “I will use these assignments to work with my colleagues in a bipartisan way to meet the needs of my community.”
The Judiciary Committee reviews bills related to law enforcement and corrections, and the committee provides oversight for a number of state agencies including the Pennsylvania State Police, Department of Corrections and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
The Tourism and Recreational Development Committee oversees legislation pertaining to the state’s large tourism industry and has jurisdiction over the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Shusterman is committed to historic preservation and the important role it plays in the tourism industry.
The Aging and Older Adult Services Committee reviews bills that affect senior citizens in Pennsylvania and works with the Department of Aging.
Shusterman took office Jan. 1 to represent the 157th Legislative District, serving Chester and Montgomery counties. She was recently named a deputy whip for the House Democratic Caucus, the first freshman to earn the title. Source
January 17, 2019
Shusterman named Deputy Freshman Whip
HARRISBURG, Jan. 17 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman was named Deputy Whip for the House Democratic Caucus, the first freshman legislator to earn the title.
“The freshman class of representatives is full of extraordinary leaders,” said Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery. “It is a strong and diverse group. I look forward to using this role to work with my freshman colleagues and listen to them so we can achieve our goals together.”
Shusterman was appointed by House Democratic Whip Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila.
“Pennsylvanians sent a historically diverse group of first term legislators to Harrisburg,” Harris said. “I look forward to working with Representative Shusterman to integrate the freshman members into the House as we push forward an agenda to benefit citizens across the commonwealth.”
The whip is considered the second-in-command in the caucus and is responsible for making sure that Democratic members attend session and generally understand the specifics of legislation and procedural votes in the House. The deputy whips serve to assist the whip on the House floor in ensuring members are present for votes and in tallying support prior to a vote.
“My constituents are looking for me to bring a new level of transparency and reform to our state government,” Shusterman said. “I will use this leadership position to help meet their expectations.”
Shusterman, who took office Jan. 1 as representative for the 157th District, is a member of the Southeast Delegation serving Chester and Montgomery counties. Source
January 11, 2019
Democratic Politicians Clean Up Pennsylvania National Park Amid Shutdown
January 10, 2019
Rep. Shusterman, fellow state reps and citizens help clean up Valley Forge Park
This morning’s trash pick up at Valley Forge National Park was a huge success because of all of you! Thank you all for joining me to keep the community clean during the Federal government shutdown.
View video here
October 26, 2018
On The Issues: Shusterman Vs. Kampf, State Rep. 157th District
If you live in parts of Phoenixville, Upper Providence, or Schuylkill Township, these are your candidates. Here’s where they stand.
With Election Day just weeks away, we’re breaking down candidates and their policy positions in several key races, including the battle for the 157th District in the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives. Democrat Melissa Shusterman is challenging Republican incumbent Warren Kampf.
Opinions given by candidates on the below issues are taken from official campaign correspondence, unless otherwise noted.
The 157th includes parts of Chester and Montgomery County and much of the Phoenixville area. The east, middle and west wards of the borough are in the 157th, as well as the Oaks, Mont Clare and Mingo sections of Upper Providence. Tredyffrin and Schuylkill townships are also part of the 157th.
Kampf: Tredyffrin Township
Shusterman: Schuylkill Township
Kampf: Devon Elementary School, Tredyffrin/Easttown Junior High School, Phillips Exter Academy High School; BA from Yale University, JD from Emory University School of Law
Shusterman: Conestoga High School, BA in Russian Studies and History from Lafayette College, MA in Media Studies from American University
Kampf: Kampf served on the Tredyffrin Township Zoning Board before being elected to Township Supervisor, a post he held from 2003 to 2009. He has held the 157th seat since 2010.
Shusterman: Shusterman worked at companies like The Food Network, VH1, MTV, and HGTV, and has also founded her own digital video production company, Fedora Media.
Kampf: Kampf’s campaign provides the following education plan:
- Providing record state funding to education – every budget Warren has supported as our Representative included more state funding for education than the year before
- Delivered $60 Million for School Safety Grants in
- Increase flexibility for schools and parents to give them a stronger voice in curriculum and much more
- Focus on fundamental skills in math, reading, science, and technology that children need to succeed while reducing the need to “teach to the test”
- Reforming the school funding formula to make certain that all school districts are treated fairly and our local schools receive back more of the money we send to Harrisburg
- Utilize technology to enhance student learning and provide greater access to tutoring, AP courses, courses not available at local schools, online learning, SAT prep, etc.
- Support vocational and skills-based education that provides needed skills (at a lower cost) to obtain good-paying jobs that provide for lifelong success
In 2018, Kampf voted “yes” to require lead testing in school water systems, prohibit failing students from continuing online charter school, authorize cigarette tax, and to require schools to make expenses public (source: VoteSmart.org).
Voted for House Bill 85, to allow parents to opt their children out of Keystone Exam testing (source: PA Legislature)
Shusterman: “I am a proud graduate of the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District. My mother was a teacher for several years at Radnor High School. I have taught at several public universities. I understand the value of public education, and I am committed to making sure every child in our state has access to quality public schools. We in the 157th District are lucky enough to have some of Pennsylvania’s best schools, but there are many Pennsylvanians who are not so lucky. In the legislature, I will work tirelessly to increase education funding, free our students from restrictive standardized tests, support our teachers’ independence, and adapt our schools to meet the needs of the 21st Century. I also believe we should increase funding and access to vocational training. Too many Harrisburg politicians put public education first on the chopping block, and I’ve had enough. Our leaders need to support our students and public schools. I promise you that I will.”
Would eliminate Keystone tests (source: Sister District Project)
ON SCHOOL SHOOTINGS AND GUN VIOLENCE
Kampf: Said no to arming teachers. Introduced school safety legislation focusing on ” identification of potentially troubled young individuals, support for increased mental health and mental rehabilitation services, and commonsense actions to address firearm issues.”
Supports a bump stock ban, universal background checks, and a ban on high-capacity magazines.
Voted “yes” in 2018 to require surrender of firearms in cases where a victim has requested a protection from abuse order (source: PA Legislature).
“Implement ‘Red Flag’ legislation that allows family members or law enforcement to ask the courts to temporarily remove firearms from a person who poses a danger to themselves or others — with appropriate due process.” Supported $60 million in funding for school security initatives (source: campaign)
“The issue of public safety isn’t Republican or Democrat; it is the job of every elected leader regardless of party. This is a complex problem and as much as both sides like to formulate simple one-sided narratives, the fact is fixing it will require everyone to re-examine their beliefs and act now.” (source: Kampf office release, Feb. 2018)
Previously earned an “A minus” (2010) and “B” (2012) grade from National Rifle Association, but earned an “F” in 2018. (source: NRA-PVF)
Named a Moms Demand Action Common Sense Gun Candidate in 2018 (source: Gun Sense Voter).
Shusterman: Said no to arming teachers. Supports a bump stock ban, universal background checks, and assault weapons ban.
“If elected to the state legislature, I promise I will act on gun control. I’m not afraid to stand up to the gun lobby. We owe it to every family who has had to bury a loved one because of gun violence to do something about gun control. I promise to be a proactive, not reactive, leader on gun control in the legislature. I will act on it as soon as I am sworn in; I won’t wait until the next mass shooting to do my job and help fix the problem. I support many common-sense measures that will make our schools and communities safer from gun violence . I support a bump stock ban and universal background checks on all gun sales in Pennsylvania. I strongly support an assault weapons ban. Weapons of such destructive capability should not be available for ordinary purchase. I support a limit on the amount of ammunition and the number of guns that can be purchased at one time. I support funding gun buyback programs. I support the rights of municipalities to pass their own gun regulations. I support increased funding for mental health treatment. I support allowing the courts and the police to remove firearms from someone deemed a threat.” (source: Shusterman campaign)
Earned an “F” from the National Rifle Association in 2018 (source: NRA-PVF).
Named a Moms Demand Action Common Sense Gun Candidate (source: Gun Sense Voter).
ON FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY
- Opposing broad-based tax increases that unfairly target Chester and Montgomery Counties and instead working to control costs and focus state spending on our priorities
- Supporting a fair natural gas severance tax and investing the proceeds in education and pension obligation paydowns
- Working for real property tax relief by sponsoring numerous initiatives that help local governments and school districts to reduce costs, passing a new law that gives local homeowners a stronger voice in controlling property tax increases, and working to stop school districts from targeting specific homeowners for tax increases
- Led the successful effort to pass historic public pension reform that will save taxpayers billions of dollars in the long-term, provide new employees with a fair retirement benefit, and keep our promise to current retirees and enrollees
- Focus spending on priorities like education, job creation, and public safety while working to increase efficiencies and eliminate duplicative agencies and departments
Shusterman: “Pennsylvania has been running a budget deficit for several years and we are now billions of dollars in debt. Our credit rating has been downgraded multiple times. Career politicians in Harrisburg have been squabbling and playing games instead of dealing with our state’s financial issues. Their solution is to borrow more money, point fingers, and try to raise our taxes. That’s unacceptable. While starting my own business and raising my son as a single mother, I couldn’t borrow billions of dollars to keep my family and company afloat; I had to act like a responsible adult and make tough decisions to put food on the table and grow my business. I will use that experience to put Pennsylvania back on a path of fiscal sustainability. I believe in balancing our budget and paying off our debt by cutting unnecessary spending, instituting a severance tax, and closing tax loopholes. We need leaders who are willing to make the hard decisions needed to improve our state.”
ON THE ENVIRONMENT
Kampf: Voted in 2012 to permit Marcellus shale drilling and use revenue to fund environmental programs. (source: Kampf office release)
Suggested that the state should control gas reserves and supercede local zoning as it pertains to the Marcellus shale, which might be too crucial to the state to leave to its municipalities, as “an enormous engine of economic growth.” (source: Patch 2012)
Voted against a 2014 bill (House Bill 2354), ultimately signed into law by Gov. Corbett, which requires the state legislature to approve recommendations from the US Department of Environmental Protection. Specifically, the bill Kampf opposed allows Pennsylvania to approve or reject federal regulation of carbon dioxide fossil fuel-powered power plants. (source: Vote Smart)
Shusterman: Supports moratorium on fracking in Delaware River Basin (not entire state).
“The Pennsylvania Constitution states “The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.” One of the things that makes Pennsylvania great is its natural beauty. I will fight tirelessly to protect our environment in the legislature. I support increased funding to the Department of Environmental Protection, a moratorium on fracking in the Delaware River Basin, a more stringent and transparent permitting process, a fair severance tax, and stricter laws to protect our air, water, and land. Our government should be working to protect our environment and our future, not doing the bidding of special interests whose only interest is making money. I will never take money from the fossil fuel lobby.”
Kampf: Supports redistricting effort, but not by the courts. Co-sponsored House Bill 722 in February 2018 to create an “independent commission” — comprised of equal members of ruling parties as well as three unaffiliated individuals — which would draw the new districts. (source: PA Legislature)
“I have refused to play partisan political games and always worked to find common ground. It was my hope that all the parties involved in the current process would be able to cooperate and address this important issue. Unfortunately, the events of the past month (2018’s redistricting) have shown that the only way to fix this system is to make it truly of the people.” (source: Kampf office release)
Shusterman: “Gerrymandering is a bipartisan issue that has hurt democracy and disproportionately targeted minorities. Political laziness and expediency has prevented the issue of gerrymandering from being solved. When a political party has the power to draw the lines that decide their own fate there is no longer a true democracy. These borders are tactically drawn in order to make state house races less competitive. In order to make as many districts safe or easy for a party to win, legislatures often pack as many voters from the opposing party into as few districts as possible. This limits the opposing party’s power throughout the government. In the end, this can lead to a one-party dominated legislature that does not reflect the will of the people.
ON THE OPIOID CRISIS
Kampf: Supports the following legislation:
• Opioid Prescriptions (Act 122 of 2016): Prohibits a health care practitioner from prescribing more than seven days of an opioid drug product in a hospital emergency department or urgent care facility unless certain limited exceptions apply. • Reduce Prescription Drug Abuse (Act 123 of 2016): Creates rules for properly disposing unused prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. • Prescription, Addiction Education (Act 124 of 2016): Amends the Achieving Better Care by Monitoring All Prescriptions Program Act to require prescribers and dispensers to obtain education in pain management, identification of addiction, and the use of opioids, and require system queries when prescribing or dispensing an opioid benzodiazepine drug. • Prescriptions for Minors (Act 125 of 2016): Prohibits prescribing an opioid to a minor, with certain limitations, for more than seven days and requires all prescribers to receive written consent from a minor’s parent or legal guardian in order to prescribe a medical treatment containing opioids as well as discuss the risks of addiction and overdose associated with the medication. • Opioid Curriculum (Act 126 of 2016): Requires licensing boards create a safe opioid prescribing curriculum to be offered in medical schools and establishes a patient voluntary non-opioid directive. (source: Kampf office)
Shusterman: “A recent report by the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration on heroin and opioid related hospital admissions in Pennsylvania shows overdoses have quadrupled since 2010, and fatal overdoses rose 37% in 2016 (source). This crisis is having a devastating impact on our Pennsylvania families and communities. As a state we need to do everything we can to fight this disease. It’s time to focus on prevention, treatment, recovery, as well as criminal justice reform.” Source[/vc_column_text]
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