Raising awareness around food insecurity

(Sep 29, 2023)

The House was back in session this week for the first time since July. While it was just a short two-day session week, I was busy with meetings for the Human Services, Environmental Resources & Energy, and Health committees, as well as with House session. Read more


Climate Week in Pennsylvania is Oct. 1-7

(Sep 29, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 29 – October 1-7, 2023, is Climate Week in Pennsylvania, and the bicameral Pennsylvania Legislative Climate Caucus today announced a schedule of events taking place during the week, as well as information about resources and legislation related to climate action in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States. This year’s Climate Week theme, “Empower Local Climate Action,” reflects the importance of addressing the costs and effects of the climate crisis in rural, urban, and suburban communities across the commonwealth. Climate Caucus members in the House and Senate have introduced more than 50 pieces of climate-related legislation this session, including several bills that would empower and support climate action at the residential, municipal, and regional level. Climate Caucus co-chairs state Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, and state Sen. Carolyn Comitta, D-Chester, shared their thoughts on the importance of empowering local climate action and the work that the Climate Caucus is doing during Climate Week and every week. “The impacts of the climate crisis are felt first and foremost at the local level, as municipalities struggle to cope with the costs and challenges associated with stormwater, flooding, extreme weather events, and excessive heat,” Otten said. “We as state legislators have a responsibility to do everything in our power to support local communities and Read more


House returns to Democratic majority; DEP Public Meeting and Hearing Update

(Sep 22, 2023)

On Tuesday, all eyes in the legislature were once again on Allegheny County as a special election was held to fill the House seat vacated by former State Representative Sara Innamorato. Her resignation from the House in July left the House at 101-101, and Tuesday’s election results would bring the House back to full its complement. Read more


Escapee reminds us to be ready; Chester County town halls coming up

(Sep 15, 2023)

It has been an eventful two weeks in our county, to say the least. Read more


Communities must have more say on mega-developments

(Sep 08, 2023)

On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania House Local Government Committee held a public hearing on HB 782, legislation that would allow municipalities to evaluate the impact development projects have on local communities. Testifying before the committee were David Fertell and Matt Hanes, both Uwchlan Township residents, and Uwchlan Township Supervisor Bill Miller, who submitted written testimony. Read more


Uwchlan Township Residents Testify Before Pa. House Local Government Committee

(Sep 07, 2023)

EXTON, Sept. 7 – Uwchlan Township residents David Fertell and Matt Hanes on Wednesday offered testimony before the Pennsylvania House Local Government Committee regarding legislation that would allow municipalities to evaluate the impact that development projects have on local communities. The public hearing, held in Allentown, was requested by state Rep. Michael Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, who is the prime sponsor of H.B. 782. State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, is one of the bill’s 10 listed cosponsors. H.B. 782 would amend Pennsylvania’s Municipalities Planning Code to: Require mega-development developers to provide a detailed analysis of the impacts of development, including the real cost on traffic, future infrastructure costs, emergency management services, sewer, storm water, damage to agricultural lands, parks, and open space, impact on neighborhoods, natural resources, and wildlife, and harm to neighboring properties. Allow the host municipality to use this analysis to consider conditions that address the impacts and costs of the development and give neighboring municipalities the opportunity to have their concerns addressed. This legislation could have a direct impact on a proposed development project in Uwchlan Township, where residents have pushed back against the proposed sale and development of Lionville Station Farm, owned by the by the Downingtown Area School District, to Audubon Read more


Fighting alongside unions for Labor Day and every day

(Sep 01, 2023)

As we head into the Labor Day weekend and mark the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the fight for workers’ rights continues in Pennsylvania and across the country. Read more


Look out for buses next week; The PA Budget and what it means for schools

(Aug 25, 2023)

It’s hard to believe, but another summer has come and gone. For many of my younger constituents, that means it’s time to get ready to head back to school. Read more


Working to Make PA a Leader in Green Technology

(Aug 18, 2023)

Dear Neighbor, It’s been a busy week here in the 155th Legislative District. Last week, I attended the National Conference of Environmental Legislators National Forum in Indianapolis. It was great to meet so many inspiring legislators from across the country and hear what is being done in other states to combat the climate crisis like investing in emerging energy technologies and implementing sound environmental and utility policies. I even made it back to the district just in time to attend the 25th Annual Lionville Community Day. We have a lot of news to cover this week, so let’s get into it! Read more


Working for you at the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators Forum

(Aug 11, 2023)

Dear Neighbor, While the House been out of session since we passed a budget on July 5, I have been able to enjoy some time back in the district spending time with family, meeting with constituents, and working with my team on legislation for our return to session in the fall. I look forward to finalizing this year’s budget season with the passage of the related code bills and hitting the ground running with new legislation once this budget is finally behind us. Read more


PA Budget Impasse Ends with Senate Action

(Aug 04, 2023)

After a month-long impasse, the Senate reconvened this week to sign the budget the House passed on July 5 and delivered it to Governor Shapiro for his signature. Read more


Staying cool this summer

(Jul 21, 2023)

Dear Neighbor, Summer is in full swing, and we are fortunate here in Chester County and the 155th Legislative District to have beautiful trails, streams, scenery, and even our very own state park right here in our own backyards. This weekend’s weather is shaping up to be some of the nicest we’ve had in weeks, and with that in mind, my staff and I wanted to share some of Pennsylvania’s best summer attractions. Read more


Passing the Budget

(Jul 07, 2023)

Dear Neighbor, The House returned to session Wednesday afternoon to continue our work on the 2023-2024 state budget. On Wednesday night, we passed House Bill 611, the general appropriation budget bill sent back to us with amendments from the Senate, by a vote of 117-86. Read more


Rep. Otten's 2023-2024 State Budget Statement

(Jul 06, 2023)

Last night the House approved a budget for the 2023-2024 fiscal year, by a vote of 117-86. With the governor’s assurance that there will be a line-item veto to remove the proposed private and religious school vouchers from the budget, and in an effort to move the process forward and avoid an extended impasse with painful, negative impacts to our communities, especially our public schools, I voted yes to advance House Bill 611, the general appropriation bill. This budget is not perfect. It is missing many of the priorities that are important to me and to our community. But the Democratic-controlled House was at an impasse with the Republican-controlled Senate, and that is the reality that we live with in a divided legislature. If we had failed to pass this version of the budget, or if we had amended it further in the House, it would have gone back to the Senate, risking deeper cuts in programs to help Pennsylvania families and communities and a prolonged wait for appropriations to be dispersed at a critical time for our public schools and universities. I believe we would have ended up with less funding for our priorities, not more. In the end, we have a budget that keeps year-over-year funding level for most state agencies and programs, while making additional investments in important priorities like education, property tax relief, and the Whole Home Repair program, which was newly launched in 2022. That said, Read more


Budget Update

(Jun 30, 2023)

Dear Neighbor, Today is June 30, the date by which the General Assembly is supposed to pass the new state budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1. On June 5, the Democratic-controlled House fulfilled our constitutional obligation by passing a budget bill and sending it to the Senate. As of this writing, the Republican-controlled Senate has not sent back their own budget draft, revisions on our draft, or anything for the House to respond to. Read more


Otten 2023-2024 Budget Priorities

(Jun 30, 2023)

Dear Chairman Harris,As we enter the final stretch of budget discussions and negotiations for the Fiscal Year 2023-2024 budget, I write to convey my district’s most urgent budget priorities.I am encouraged by the steps our caucus has taken to build on the proposals set forth byGovernor Josh Shapiro this spring. I strongly support the additional investments in childcare,health care, home repairs, and programs for veterans proposed in the amendments to HB 611 thatpassed in the House on June 5, as well as the proposed increases for public school funding andthe restoration of Level Up funding. Read more


Houses Passes Minimum Wage Increase

(Jun 23, 2023)

With the budget deadline less than a week away, House and Senate leadership are working to finalize a budget that reflects the needs of all Pennsylvanians and makes significant investments in our public schools, our workforce, and families. In the House we have been advancing a number of bills, including a minimum wage increase, an earned income tax credit for working families and several gun violence prevention measures. Read more


Putting money back in your pockets

(Jun 16, 2023)

Dear Neighbor, The House returned to Harrisburg on Monday for another busy week of session. I was hard at work advocating for our future educators and safer schools. Keep reading for all the latest news from the Capitol! Read more


Moving the Budget Forward

(Jun 09, 2023)

Dear Neighbor, Budget season officially kicked off this week as the House passed its proposed budget, which makes investments in public schools, childcare services, community violence reduction programs, veterans’ programs, home repair programs, school repairs and modernization, and food security, and still leaves money to put into the state’s Rainy Day Fund, all without an increase in personal income or sales taxes. This spending plan, which includes an additional $1.4 billion investment above Gov. Josh Shapiro’s proposed budget, passed the House on a party-line vote of 102-101. Read more


Otten, Curry, Schweyer introduce Student Teacher Stipend Program

(Jun 07, 2023)

HARRISBURG, June 7 – PA state Reps. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, Gina Curry, D-Delaware, and Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, today announced the introduction of legislation that would provide student teaching stipends to help remove financial barriers for aspiring teachers wishing to enter the profession. The House bill is a companion to S.B. 300 , introduced in May by state Sens Vincent Hughes, D-Montgomery, and Ryan Aument, R-Lancaster. In the 2021-22 school year, Pennsylvania issued a record-low number of teaching certificates, with teacher compensation being one of the leading factors contributing to the growing teacher shortage crisis. The House legislation (H.B. 1331) aims to address the teacher shortage by providing up to $15,000 for aspiring teachers during their student teaching semesters. The legislation would establish the Student Teacher Stipend Program, which would provide: A $10,000 stipend for individuals enrolled in a teacher preparation program at an institution of higher education in the Commonwealth to complete their student teaching requirement. An additional $5,000 stipend for students who complete their student teaching in schools that traditionally don’t have student teachers and schools with high teacher vacancies – an acknowledgement that some schools are being hit harder than others. A $2,500 stipend for cooperating teachers who agree to mentor student teachers. Read more