Rep. Otten voices opposition to Senate Bill 831

(1 day ago)

Last Thursday, minutes after we voted on the state budget, I spoke on the House floor in opposition to Senate Bill 831 . The stated purpose of this bill is to establish a legal and regulatory framework for potential carbon dioxide capture, utilization, and sequestration (“carbon capture,” or CCUS). Carbon capture is an expensive, unproven technology that has shown no real evidence of reducing the negative environmental or public health impacts of the fossil fuel industry and conversely has the potential to do more harm. This legislation declares CCUS to be “in the public interests,” which allows for the corporate use of eminent domain to infringe upon the rights of private property owners. Under this bill, a private corporation could utilize your land for carbon sequestration, without your consent, if they can get 75% of your neighbors to agree. They could then carry out an experimental industrial practice with a history of causing earthquakes and asphyxiation on your land, injecting carbon dioxide -- the polluting byproduct of their fracked gas production -- into the ground below your property. This bill also would weaken property owners’ ability to take action against corporations for damages they cause to private property by limiting corporate accountability and liability for any negative consequences. In doing so, the bill would socialize all the risks and costs of these operations, Read more

 

A brief budget update; Bipartisan bills pass the House

(Jul 03, 2024)

We’re now in the first week of July, and with the June 30th state budget deadline behind us, the House is back in session, and budget negotiations are ongoing. I remain hopeful that House and Senate leaders will put forth a people-first budget that prioritizes the needs of Pennsylvanians and invests in our schools, workforce, and communities. We are scheduled to be in session for the remainder of this week and through the weekend, with a one-day break for the Fourth of July. Read more

 

Budget reform worth fighting for; Contraception bill passes in House

(Jun 28, 2024)

With the June 30th budget deadline looming, House leadership has been meeting with the Governor’s office and Senate leadership all week to push for a people-first budget that prioritizes the needs of Pennsylvanians and invests in our schools, workforce, and communities. Although it is now assured that we will not have a final budget by June 30, those discussions will continue throughout the weekend, and both the House and Senate will return to Harrisburg on Monday for session to avoid any long-term delays in the state budget. Read more

 

REVIEW: A closer look at what's to gain from cyber charter reform

(Jun 21, 2024)

With the June 30th budget deadline less than 10 days away, I wanted to take the opportunity to continue our discussion on the most pressing issue facing the General Assembly this budget season: funding our public schools. Read more

 

Historic school funding plan passes House

(Jun 14, 2024)

It was a busy week in Harrisburg with both the House and Senate in session, as both chambers continue to work toward budget negotiations. The House is scheduled to return to session the week of June 24, prior to the June 30th deadline. In the meantime, I will be back in the district meeting with constituents and working with my staff to prepare for the busiest time of the legislative year. Read more

 

Otten to host Period Products Drive

(Jun 11, 2024)

EXTON, June 11 – State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, will host a Period Products Drive through Friday, June 28, at her legislative district office, 631 N. Pottstown Pike in Exton. The drive will support local organizations in need of donations to ensure that members of the community have access to the essential menstrual hygiene supplies they need. Donations of new, unopened packages of pads and tampons can be dropped off at Otten’s district office between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday throughout the month of June. Additionally, Otten hopes to raise awareness around period poverty as the General Assembly considers legislation to address this issue. Period poverty, or the inability to afford and access necessary menstrual products, is real, and it’s affecting people throughout Pennsylvania, including here in Chester County. Across our commonwealth, one in four women and girls struggle to afford period products, directly impacting their ability to fully participate in school, the workplace and society. “Pads and tampons are not luxury items; they are necessities that every individual who menstruates needs and deserves access to,” Otten said. “When students miss class time or entire school days because of a lack access to these basic necessities, this becomes an equity issue. Period poverty isn’t just someone else’s problem – it’s happening right here in Read more

 

House takes next steps toward historic school funding plan

(Jun 07, 2024)

June marks the end of the school year for students across Chester County, and my team and I send our heartfelt congratulations to all of the new graduates and to everyone moving up! Best wishes especially to all the seniors graduating this month in the 155th Legislative District. I am certain that the skills and strength you have gained will help you face whatever challenges life may present. Your community is proud of you and excited to see what the future holds. Read more

 

End of school year brings advocacy for education

(May 31, 2024)

The end of the school year is just around the corner, and I’m sure students (and teachers!) across the 155th Legislative District are excited for summer vacation to be here. I know the Otten kids are! Read more

 

Recognizing Mental Health Month

(May 17, 2024)

While the House took a break from session this week, Team Otten was busy meeting with constituents, working on legislation, and checking out a sustainability leader right here in Southeast Pennsylvania. We return to Harrisburg next week for packed week of committee meetings and session. As we get closer to June, we have been actively preparing to advance a people-first budget that prioritizes the needs of Pennsylvanians and puts us on a path for success by investing in our schools, workforce, and communities. I will continue to keep you updated as we get closer to the June 30th budget deadline. Read more

 

Bills for landmark energy plan introduced; Plus, period poverty is a pressing issue

(May 10, 2024)

It’s been another very busy week in Harrisburg and at home in the district, with positive and encouraging movement on some issues, as well as a couple disappointing votes. Read more

 

Lawmakers introduce landmark energy bills in Pa. House

(May 08, 2024)

HARRISBURG, May 8 – State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, and state Rep. Aerion Abney, D-Allegheny, today introduced legislation advancing the Shapiro administration’s Pennsylvania Reliable Energy Sustainability Standard (PRESS) and Pennsylvania Climate Emission Reduction (PACER) Program plans for Pennsylvania, respectively. The plans were first announced by Gov. Josh Shapiro in March . A companion PRESS bill was filed in the Senate by state Sen. Steven Santarsiero, D-Bucks, while state Sen. Carolyn Comitta, D-Chester, introduced the Senate version of the PACER legislation. “Right now in our commonwealth, we must take action to catch up in the race to create clean and reliable energy – to be more competitive, ensure consumers pay less for their electricity bills, and create more jobs and opportunities for our businesses to grow and our workers to get ahead,” Shapiro said. “I have made clear that any energy policy supported by my administration must meet the three-part test of protecting and creating energy jobs, taking real action to address climate change pollution, and ensuring reliable, affordable power for consumers in the long term – and my energy plan is built to do all three. Together with the support of leaders like Representative Abney and Representative Otten in the General Assembly, we’re going to ensure Pennsylvania will continue to be a national energy leader for decades to come.” Read more

 

House passes pre-canvassing bill

(May 03, 2024)

The PA House was back in session this week, and we passed several bills in a bipartisan manner, including one to boost funding for minority-owned businesses in Pennsylvania. We also passed a bill that would ease the burden on our election workers and expedite the reporting of election results by allowing pre-canvassing of mail and absentee ballots up to seven days before an election. Read more

 

Committees discuss adult-use cannabis

(Apr 26, 2024)

It was great to see so many constituents at the polls on Tuesday as voters across the 155th Legislative District carried out their civic duty by voting in the 2024 Primary Election. I’m grateful to our county election officials and the poll workers in every precinct who helped the process go smoothly. Read more

 

Otten congratulates Chesco schools for critical safety grants

(Apr 25, 2024)

HARRISBURG, April 25 – State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, today applauded the announcement of state grants awarded by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to prevent and reduce gun and group-related violence in school communities across the commonwealth, including Chester County. "I commend the Downingtown Area School District, Coatesville Area School District, and all of our Chester County schools that secured grant funding that supports collaborative violence intervention strategies designed to improve school safety and security,” Otten said. “These investments in prevention, intervention and response underscore our collective commitment to creating safe learning environments for our students, faculty and staff." A full list of awards, including dollar amounts and school entities approved for funding, is available here: School Safety Awards . Nonpublic School Awards . Funds will advance the School Safety and Security Committee’s goal of ensuring that all Pennsylvania students can learn in safe, healthy school environments by helping school entities address basic safety needs and mental health services identified in the committee’s recently adopted Revised Baseline Criteria Standards . Read more

 

House advances bills on building preservation, dark money in PA

(Apr 19, 2024)

I was back in Harrisburg this week for another productive week of session, with several bills I co-sponsored advancing out of the House and moving to the Senate for consideration. The House will now take a one-week break before we head back to the Capitol on April 29. We have a busy week ahead in the 155th Legislative District, with our Free Paper-Only Shred Event & Food Drive this Saturday, April 20, and Primary Election Day on Tuesday, April 23. Let’s get into it! Read more

 

Teacher stipend program met with incredible demand

(Apr 12, 2024)

With the Eclipse on Monday, the House and Senate both in session, and a number of press events taking place, the Pennsylvania Capitol building was a busy place this week. It was also a successful week for Team Otten, with the passage of one bill in the House and the implementation of another program I advocated for last year. Let’s get into it! Read more

 

Otten, Chester County Food Bank to host Paper-Shredding Event & Food Drive

(Apr 12, 2024)

EXTON, April 11 – State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, and the Chester County Food Bank have partnered to host a Free Paper-Only Shred Event and Food Drive from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at the Chester County Food Bank, 650 Pennsylvania Drive in Exton. The shred event provides an opportunity for members of the community to safely dispose of documents containing personal information, thereby protecting them from potential identity theft. The food drive will benefit the Chester County Food Bank in their mission of fighting food insecurity and building support for neighbors in need. The two events will take place simultaneously. “Shred events like this are an essential service to our community,” Otten said. “With tax season wrapping up and spring cleaning underway, we often hear from our neighbors here in the 155th Legislative District that they value these opportunities to securely dispose of and recycle their financial paperwork and other sensitive documents. I look forward to partnering with the Chester County Food Bank on this joint event to help prevent identity theft, promote sustainability, and increase donations to the food bank during a challenging time of year for food collection.” Each car will be limited to four file-size boxes at this rain or shine event. Small paper clips and staples are OK, but no binder clips, binders, or cardboard. Drivers are asked to remain in their cars and open Read more

 

Otten bill to expand early intervention services passes House

(Apr 10, 2024)

HARRISBURG, April 10 – State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten’s bill to provide early intervention services to children born to mothers struggling with postpartum depression passed the Pennsylvania House today. House Bill 1593 would expand services to children from birth through two years with mothers diagnosed with or at high risk for postpartum depression, ensuring that these vulnerable children and their families have access to the support they need. Early intervention services can reduce a family’s sources of stress and encourage healthy relationships among children, families and caregivers. Otten, D-Chester, introduced the legislation with a co-prime sponsor, state Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., who chairs the PA House Children and Youth Committee. “Welcoming a new baby should be a joyous time for a family,” Otten said. “And yet the reality is that a new baby can also mean sleepless days and nights, isolation from friendships, anxiety about stretched finances or missed career opportunities, and physical, hormonal changes that trigger postpartum depression.” “There’s an abundance of research that shows that a child’s development in the earliest years of their life is significantly impacted by the tenor of their earliest formative relationships with their family and loved ones,” Bullock said. “By supporting children and mothers throughout this delicate time and Read more

 

Student teacher stipends go live

(Apr 10, 2024)

APRIL 10 - Today in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro joined House and Senate members to announce tomorrow’s opening of the online application period for student teacher stipends through the new PA Student Teacher Support Program . Last year, I introduced legislation to create a Student Teacher Stipend Program, which will help to address our teacher shortage by providing up to $15,000 for aspiring teachers during their student teaching semesters as well as a $2,500 stipend for cooperating teachers who agree to mentor student teachers. I was thrilled when this bill passed the House last June with strong bipartisan support, and even more excited to see it signed into law as part of last year’s budget, with $10 million in funding allocated to ramp up the program. Governor Shapiro has now proposed $15 million dollars to fund the program for the 2024-2025 fiscal year, and the program will be available to student teachers beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. I am hopeful that these initial budget allocations are just the very start of our investment in the Student Teacher Stipend program and in building the teacher pipeline. This morning, my co-prime sponsor Rep. Gina H. Curry and I sent a letter to House Appropriations Chair Jordan Harris requesting $75 million in the Fiscal Year 2024-25 budget to fully fund this program, because every aspiring teacher should receive fair pay for their 12-week student Read more

 

House ERE Committee tours hydrogen facility

(Apr 05, 2024)

I hope everyone had a relaxing holiday weekend and was able to spend some time with family, friends, and loved ones. With the House in recess this week, I was back in the district meeting with constituents and advocacy groups to ensure the voices and needs of our community are heard and well represented in Harrisburg. We return to the Capitol next week with a packed schedule of committee meetings and session days. Let’s get into it! Read more