2020 Winter Newsletter

(Feb 14, 2020)

Rep. Danielle Friel Otten's 2020 winter newsletter Read more


Fighting for public health and more updates from Harrisburg

(Feb 07, 2020)

News and events from Harrisburg and the 155th District Read more


Otten statement on Governor Wolf's budget address

(Feb 04, 2020)

EXTON, Feb. 4 – State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, released the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf's budget address on Tuesday. “The priorities outlined in Governor Wolf’s budget address reflect a commitment to our children, schools, and working families, and a promising start to new conversations about pipeline safety,” Otten said. “I am excited about the governor’s support for public education at all levels, including Pre-K, full-day kindergarten, basic education and special education funding, and our state colleges and universities. The first time I ever sat down with an elected official to advocate for something I cared about, it was with my then-school board director and school board president to advocate for full-day kindergarten in the Downingtown Area School District, so this investment in early education is especially meaningful to me.” Otten also expressed appreciation for the governor’s inclusion of pipeline safety in his address. “I am extremely grateful to Governor Wolf for acknowledging pipeline safety as a priority for our commonwealth. As someone who has felt the impact of pipelines in my own neighborhood and closely followed this issue through the courts, I am eager for and excited by the opportunity to get this right. We need strong legislation that creates a requirement to assess the risks associated with both new pipelines and the repurposing of old Read more


Community grants, pipeline update + more!

(Jan 31, 2020)

It was great to be back in the district this week to connect with so many members of our community. I will be back in Harrisburg next week for a busy session week. Read more


Otten announces $41K Dairy Investment Program grant awarded to local nonprofit

(Jan 24, 2020)

EXTON, Jan. 24 – State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, today announced that Camphill Village Kimberton Hills Inc. received a $41,389 grant from the Commonwealth Financing Authority’s Pennsylvania Dairy Investment Program. Camphill Village Kimberton Hills is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of its residents who live with developmental disabilities. This grant will go toward the purchase and installation of pasteurization and cheesemaking equipment for the residents to utilize. This includes a 105-gallon vat, cheese press, Gouda cheese molds, an energy-efficient cooling system and vacuum packaging equipment. Additionally, funds will be used for purchasing supplies for renovations to the facility’s existing cheese cave, including drywalling and fiberglass reinforced plastic wallboard. Camphill Village Kimberton Hills will sell their cheese products through Kimberton Whole Foods and their Community Supported Agriculture share. “I’m immensely grateful that our community was selected to receive these funds,” Otten said. “Camphill Village Kimberton Hills makes such a positive impact on its residents and connects them with other people, interests and resources in a valuable way. This grant will benefit the residents, the nonprofit, the local business selling Camphill’s cheeses, and the neighbors who get to purchase and enjoy them!” The Pennsylvania Dairy Investment Program was Read more


Public School Funding Town Hall Materials

(Jan 24, 2020)

Current Legislative Initiatives Advocating for A Bill Call to Action: What You Can Do Now Read more


Otten applauds $140K awarded to four schools to expand computer science education

(Jan 17, 2020)

EXTON, Jan. 17 – State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, congratulates four local schools for securing a total of $140,000 in PAsmart Targeted grants , which will expand computer science classes and teacher training. The Targeted grants represent one component of the governor’s innovative PAsmart initiative , and will provide $20 million to bring high-quality computer science and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education to elementary, middle and high schools, and professional development for teachers. The following schools in the 155 th Legislative District each received a $35,000 grant: Coatesville Area School District. Insight PA Cyber Charter School. Owen J. Roberts School District. Phoenixville School District. “STEM jobs are expected to grow rapidly in the coming years, so preparing students and piquing their interest early in life is crucial to ensuring that our students are equipped to succeed in the workforce, whether they go on to college or pursue a skilled trade or technical career,” Otten said. “Many of our schools simply don’t have the resources to develop STEM programs or modernize computer science classrooms. I’m hopeful that these funds will better equip our schools and teachers to provide the most comprehensive, innovative education possible.” The state announced 163 targeted grants totaling $5.7 million. Read more


Otten, Williams applaud $150K CTE grant for Chester County Workforce Development Board

(Jan 16, 2020)

EXTON, Jan. 16 — State Reps. Danielle Friel Otten and Dan Williams today congratulated the Chester County Workforce Development Board for its $150,000 award to help businesses and school districts work together to better prepare students for in-demand careers. “Career and technical education allows students to discover their individual talents and explore rewarding career pathways that may not require a four-year degree,” Otten said. “Grants like this help us grow opportunities for students ready to make their mark in the workforce. I’m grateful to the administration for steering these grants into Chester County, and I congratulate the Workforce Development Board for earning the award.” “Our economy is telling us that specific jobs are in great demand but short supply,” Williams said. “These investments in workforce development and training will ensure that Pennsylvania students are well prepared to succeed in the working world. My thanks to Governor Wolf for these awards.” The Department of Labor & Industry awarded $2.4 million for Business-Education Partnership grants to 19 local workforce development boards across the commonwealth. The partnerships will connect schools, employers and students to provide career-related experiences and opportunities through soft-skills development, internships, workplace shadowing and career mentoring, all with the goal of preparing students for good local jobs. Read more


Updates on Mariner East and from Harrisburg

(Jan 15, 2020)

I’m back in Harrisburg this week for the start of the 2020 legislative session. I enjoyed the opportunity to connect with constituents over our holiday break, and I look forward to a productive session working for everyone in the 155th! Read more


Otten, Muth urge constituents to submit comment on proposed pipeline changes

(Jan 09, 2020)

EXTON, Jan. 9 – State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, and state Sen. Katie Muth are taking steps this week to ensure that residents affected by a proposed route modification to the Mariner East Pipeline in Upper Uwchlan Township have every opportunity to make their voices heard. In the Dec. 14, 2019, PA Bulletin , DEP published notice of a 30-day public comment period on Energy Transfer/Sunoco's proposed permit revisions for portions of the Mariner East Pipeline, including a segment along Meadow Creek Lane in Upper Uwchlan Township. On Jan. 3, DEP lifted a statewide permit bar after reaching a Consent Order and Agreement with ETC Northeast Pipeline, the Energy Transfer subsidiary responsible for the 2018 explosion in Beaver County that leveled a house and barn. Lifting the permit bar, which had been in place since February 2019, clears the way for permit approvals and new pipeline drilling and construction. “We knew it was inevitable that the permit bar would be lifted at some point,” Otten said. “It’s unfortunate that our lack of regulatory oversight has allowed this bad actor to continue to damage property, put people’s lives at risk, and impact the health and safety of Pennsylvania residents across the state.” The proposed route modification in Upper Uwchlan would bring the pipeline down the middle of Meadow Creek Lane, obstructing residents’ access to their Read more


Public Comment Submission for Mariner East Pipeline Route Modification Meadow Creek Lane, Uwchlan Township (HDD-280)

(Jan 08, 2020)

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection recently announced public comment period for Energy Transfer/Sunoco's proposed construction plans for a segment of the Mariner East Pipeline along Meadow Creek Lane in Upper Uwchlan Township. All Comments are due Tuesday, January 28, 2020, to submit public comment on this Permit Modification Request. Given the timing of the comment period, which was announced just before the holidays, I asked the DEP to extend the deadline. They agreed and extended the deadline by 15 days from its original date of January 13. The public comment submission process is not as simple or straightforward as it could be, so my office is here to help. Please consult the following resources for assistance in filing your public comment, and please contact my office my office can help you with your submission in any way. Maps showing original route and proposed route modification. Sunoco’s responses to questions from Upper Uwchlan Township, as provided at public meeting October 14, 2019 Sunoco’s full (300+ page) application on the DEP website . Scroll down to the section that begins, “On April 30, 2019, DEP received a modification request for installation method change at PA Turnpike/HDD 0280, Upper Uwchlan Township, Chester County.” Announcement of public comment period in the PA Bulletin , page 7361. Joint letter and Read more


Public Comment on HDD280

(Jan 08, 2020)

Public comment on HDD280 written by Rep. Danielle Friel-Otten and Sen. Katie Muth. Read more


Pennsylvania Grant Book

(Jan 07, 2020)

2019-20 Pennsylvania grant & resource directory. Read more


Otten bills address food waste, food insecurity

(Dec 04, 2019)

EXTON, Dec. 4 – State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, hosted constituents in her district office Tuesday evening for an overview and discussion of her proposed food waste reduction bills, followed by the screening of a documentary on food waste . “More food reaches our landfills and incinerators than any other single material in our everyday trash stream,” Otten said. “Today, 40 percent of the food produced in the United States goes to waste, and food waste accounts for 20 percent of the material in our landfills. We need to both redefine what we think of as waste and create a more sustainable system for processing the waste we do produce.” Otten has introduced legislation to reduce food waste, reduce food insecurity, and improve sustainability. House Bill 1950 , Expanding Food Donor Immunity, would encourage food donations by ensuring that restaurants, farms, schools, institutions, and others who donate food to charitable organizations or needy individuals can do so without concerns over potential liability, as long as the donation is made in good faith and reasonable steps are taken to inspect the food at the time of donation. House Bill 1959, Food Date Labeling Requirements, would reduce the amount of food unnecessarily thrown away by requiring food manufacturers to include a “use by” date on food labels that indicates the final date at which the food is safe for human consumption. Read more


November News from Harrisburg and the District

(Nov 22, 2019)

It has been a very busy past few weeks in Harrisburg and here in the district, and I am looking forward to spending lots of time with family over the upcoming holiday weekend. My staff and I wish all of our neighbors in the 155th district a very happy Thanksgiving! Read more


Otten, Muth announce $315K grant award to East Pikeland Township to increase pedestrian safety

(Nov 12, 2019)

EAST PIKELAND, Nov.12 – State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten and state Sen. Katie Muth today announced that East Pikeland Township will receive $315,000 from the Multimodal Transportation Fund to increase pedestrian safety along state routes 23 and 724. The Multimodal Transportation Fund provides grants to encourage economic development and ensure that a safe and reliable system of transportation is available to the residents of the commonwealth. Otten and Muth said that the grant will go toward completing sidewalks beginning at the newly signalized intersection where Route 23 and Route 724 meet and end at Township Line Road. The township seeks to fill gaps in the sidewalk structure along the corridor by installing new sidewalks and ADA-compliant ramps to improve mobility and access. “I applaud East Pikeland Township’s proactive efforts to promote walkability and improve pedestrian safety and access to businesses and bus stops,” Otten said. “More than 20,000 vehicles travel these routes daily, and the existing sidewalks are inconsistent and disconnected. I’m thankful that we were able to bring these funds to the township.” “Improving pedestrian transportation ensures we are keeping our residents safe,” Muth said. “Safety should always be a first priority, and it is long overdue that an investment be made in East Pikeland. I look forward to seeing how these improvements will benefit our area.” Read more


Otten votes against SB 421, citing voter suppression and purge of voter rolls

(Oct 30, 2019)

SB 421 passed the House of Representatives yesterday and is expected to be signed by Governor Wolf Thursday. I voted against this bill because while I believe we should do all we can to make it easy for Pennsylvanians to exercise their right to vote, I am extremely concerned that this legislation will have the opposite effect, ultimately suppressing votes and creating confusion at the polls. SB 421 contains the biggest changes to our voting process since the 1930s, and we're rolling it out with no money or time allocated to inform or educate voters. My colleagues and I fought to roll these changes out gradually or push implementation to 2021, but if the governor signs the bill as expected, all changes will be implemented before the primary election on April 28, 2020. Most concerning to me is the required purge of the voter rolls, which must be completed and certified by party leaders before the April primary in order for counties to receive funding. While periodic cleanup of the voter rolls is standard practice, I'm very concerned that (1) this implementation schedule does not allow proper time for notification of voters, or for active voters to re-register if they are removed from the voter rolls in error, (2) county funding for new voting equipment is tied to the completion of the purge, and (3) the legislation requires the purge completion for each county to be certified by politicians rather than Read more


Otten, Democratic lawmakers strive to increase accessibly of menstrual hygiene products, end period poverty

(Oct 23, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 23 – State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, accompanied by Reps. Sara Innamorato, D-Allegheny, and Isabella Fitzgerald, D-Phila., and state Sen. Maria Collett, D-Bucks/Montgomery, on Tuesday hosted a press conference on their bills that seek to end period poverty in Pennsylvania. Period poverty, or the lack of access to menstrual hygiene products, is a problem that Otten said affects 1 in 5 American women. Her bill, H.B.1708, would require Pennsylvania’s public schools to supply pads and tampons in bathrooms serving students in grades six through 12. "Menstrual products are not a luxury, but a basic necessity,” Otten said. “This is an issue of access, beyond just dollars and cents. It's an issue of our children's health, safety and well-being. It's about setting up our girls and young women with what they need to have a level playing field. It's about ensuring dignity and equity for half our population so that they can fully participate in school, the workplace and society." Innamorato spoke on her bill that would require Pennsylvania’s public colleges and universities to supply menstrual hygiene products at no cost inside campus bathrooms. “When you enter a public restroom on a college or university campus, you’re provided hand soap and towels to support hand hygiene. Why don’t we treat menstruation as a basic hygiene need for our students?” Innamorato Read more


10/18/19 – Youth Mental Health – Exton

(Oct 18, 2019)

Materials from a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing hosted by State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten. Read more


Otten, Policy Committee examine youth mental health

(Oct 18, 2019)

EXTON, Oct. 18 – State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, hosted a House Policy Committee hearing at the Lionville YMCA on youth mental health and efforts being made to end the stigma associated with discussing or seeking help for mental health issues. She was joined by lawmakers from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. “There is a growing youth mental health crisis throughout the country,” Otten said. “Our kids need our help now. I want to ensure that the Pennsylvania legislature is doing all we can to improve mental health supports, build capacity in every part of the community, and increase access to mental health services for children, teens and families.” “Ensuring the well-being of Pennsylvania’s children is among my top priorities,” Sturla said. “Opening up a dialog on how we can improve the access, quality and outcomes of care to youth in need helps us lawmakers better understand what we could be doing in Harrisburg to end this crisis.” The committee heard testimony from the following: Dr. Jane Thompson, psychotherapist, Chester Springs Clinical Associates LLC. Anna Wojcik, student, Downingtown East High School. Sara Stein, student, Downingtown East High School. Mary Kwiatkowski, parent, Owen J. Roberts School District. Dr. Bradley J. Dyer, pediatrician and founder, All Star Pediatrics. Read more