Addressing the Need for a Pipeline Early Detection and Warning Board

(Aug 08, 2019)

Monday night, at a time of night that many Chester County families would be putting young children down to bed for the night, a loud boom shook residents living in and near West Goshen and East Goshen townships. Similar to the incident that happened earlier this year at Lisa Drive in West Whiteland Township, there was a void of immediate information available to the public, a widespread concern about public health and safety, and confusion about what was happening. One of the most clear questions I have seen about Monday's incident is, "how are we supposed to know when to evacuate, on foot, upwind, 1/2 mile?" On May 30, 2019 Tim Boyce, Director of Delaware County Emergency Management , testified before the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee at a public hearing about the lack of state funding for emergency preparedness around potential pipeline incidents and the lack of plans in place for a community-wide evacuation, especially within the first 30 minutes of an incident. My proposed House Bill 1735 aims to rectify this void by establishing an early detection and warning system for communities facing oil and gas infrastructure and creating a funding source for affected local municipalities to implement that warning system BEFORE those facilities go into operation. Read more here On a personal note, as a parent to small children who put their heads down every night next to the Mariner East project, I share many of the Read more

 

Friel Otten: Policy, Change, and Leadership Are Needed to End Gun Violence

(Aug 08, 2019)

Pa. state Rep. Danielle Friel Otten and her colleagues urge Governor Wolf to call for a special session to address gun violence. Read more

 

Otten, legislators call for special session to address gun violence

(Aug 07, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 7 – Following the recent deadly shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas, state Reps. Kevin Boyle, Malcolm Kenyatta, and Danielle Friel Otten were joined by other legislators to call on Gov. Tom Wolf to convene a special session of the House and Senate to address gun violence in the commonwealth. “From Ohio to Texas, California to Pennsylvania, one shooting is one too many. People should not have to fear for their lives by just walking out of their house, going to the store or attending an event in their community. These tragedies are beyond commonplace,” Boyle said. “The continuous lack of action and the thoughts and prayers mentality must be a thing of the past. We can no longer stand idly by and watch communities and families being torn apart by these senseless acts of violence. The time to act on commonsense gun reform in Pennsylvania must be now.” Boyle added there is legislation pending in both the House and Senate that includes bills to ban assault weapons, close the loophole for gun background checks, and adopt Extreme Risk Protective Orders that equip families, law enforcement, and the courts to temporarily restrict access to guns for people at risk of violence to themselves or others. Kenyatta stated that the ongoing gun violence in Pennsylvania, particularly in Philadelphia, has become a public epidemic. Kenyatta said, “I’ve sat with way too many families who have lost loved ones to gun Read more

 

Otten introduces legislation to create Pipeline Early Detection and Warning Board

(Jul 29, 2019)

EXTON, July 29 – State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, today announced the introduction of H.B. 1735 , which would establish a Pipeline Early Detection and Warning Board. The proposed bill would empower the board to collect fees from pipeline operators, and distribute those fees in the form of grants for the development of early detection and warning systems to alert communities in the event of a pipeline incident. “My legislation would properly place the costs associated with early detection and warning systems on pipeline operators rather than on our communities, taxpayers, or first responders,” Otten said. Otten worked with Uwchlan Safety Coalition founder and organizer Rebecca Britton to draft the legislation. Britton is a Uwchlan Township resident who lives near the Mariner East pipeline and is a school board director for the Downingtown Area School District. As a school board director, Britton shares responsibility for six schools in the path or potential impact radius of the pipeline. “This bill is an extension of the work that we began long before either one of us thought about running for office,” Otten said regarding her collaboration with Britton. “When we have refineries exploding at one end of the state and pipelines exploding at the other after just one week in service, it is incumbent upon us as elected officials to codify how we will protect public safety and hold pipeline operators responsible for the costs Read more

 

Chester County receives $3.08 million in PHARE funding to support affordable housing

(Jul 12, 2019)

HARRISBURG, July 12 – Chester County’s Democratic state Reps. Carolyn Comitta, Kristine Howard, Melissa Shusterman, Dan Williams, Christina Sappey and Danielle Friel Otten announced that housing programs in Chester County will receive $3.08 million through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement fund. The PHARE fund is managed by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, and funds are sourced from Marcellus shale fees, realty transfer taxes and the national housing trust fund. Awardees within Comitta’s legislative district will receive the following: Housing Authority of the County of Chester’s Locust Court Windows: $100,000 Charles A Melton Arts & Education Center; Melton Center Expanded Services Program: $200,000 Melton Center Apartments (LIHTC); The NRP Group LLC: $875,000 Safe Harbor of Chester County, Inc.: $150,000 Housing Locator Program through the Housing Authority of the County of Chester: $100,000 Friends Association for Care & Protection of Children’s Homeless Prevention Program $75,000 Gaudenzia Concord Place: $50,000 Chester County Department of Community Development’s Decade to Doorways System Prioritization and Realignment: $350,000 “I am absolutely thrilled to see state funds directed to such incredible programs in our community. These funds will allow our local organizations to continue providing their critical services, as well as expand in order to Read more

 

The PA Budget on the issues you care about most

(Jul 05, 2019)

Last week, the PA House of Representatives passed a 2019-20 budget bill ahead of the June 30 deadline. While the budget and some budget-adjacent bills did include some bright spots, the budget as a whole does not reflect the values or priorities of our legislative district, nor does it begin to resolve our Commonwealth’s ongoing issues with property taxes, education funding, wages for direct support professionals, and more. I wanted to provide an overview of the budget and my budget-related votes, broken out by some of the key issues in our legislative district based on feedback we’ve received from constituents. Taxes After Governor Wolf vetoed Speaker Mike Turzai’s proposed $100 million Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program and its escalator clause ensuring continued increases to EITC, the final budget included a compromise $25 million increase to the EITC program for 2019-2020. While the idea of EITCs may sound appealing, these programs reduce our overall tax revenues and provide tax shelter for corporate entities and the wealthiest among us, allowing these organizations and individuals to make direct investments in private education with no accountability, transparency, or requirement to serve all students equally, bypassing the duly elected legislature and our constitutional mandate: “The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Read more

 

Chester County receives $1.25 million in grants to increase security measures, help crime victims

(Jun 14, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 14 – Chester County’s Democratic state Reps. Carolyn Comitta, Melissa Shusterman, Kristine Howard, Danielle Friel Otten, Dan Williams and Christina Sappey announced that $1.2 million worth of grant funds from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency will be distributed across the county to increase safety and help crime victims. Within Comitta’s legislative district, Domestic Violence Center of Chester County will receive $531,835 to provide direct services for domestic abuse survivors. Additionally, the Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County, Inc. will receive $624,328 to meet the needs of crime victims. “I am grateful for the grants awarded to the Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County and the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County. These local organizations have a tremendous impact across our county, and they deserve our full support to continue to provide critical services to residents,” Comitta said. Represented by Shusterman, Phoenixville Borough will receive $7,685 to install security cameras at their police department’s impound lot. “I’m proud to work with my colleagues to bring state money back to Chester County,” Shusterman said. “I’m confident that this initiative will make our communities safer by curtailing crime in and around the impound lot.” Howard’s district, including West Pikeland and Easttown townships, will receive grants Read more

 

Williams, Otten announce $400,000 worth of grants awarded to Coatesville Area School District

(Jun 11, 2019)

COATESVILLE, June 11 — State Reps. Dan Williams and Danielle Friel Otten, both D-Chester, announced that five schools within the Coatesville Area School District will share $400,000 in grant funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and its 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant program. Schools within Williams’ legislative district that will receive these funds are Gordon Learning Center, South Brandywine Middle School and Scott Middle School; and schools awarded within Otten’s legislative district are Reeceville Elementary School and North Brandywine Middle School. According to Coatesville Area School District superintendent Cathy Taschner, the funds will go toward implementing before- and after-school programming. “The Coatesville Area School District is excited to be able to offer much needed before- and after-school programming for students through the 21st century learning grant,” Taschner said. “We want to thank our Chester County Intermediate Unit partners who have applied for this grant and included us in the process. We know that quality before- and after-school programming can improve academic performance, improve physical health, and provide a structured, safe environment for students. We look forward to the impact this grant will have on our students.” “This is a step in the right direction. All our Commonwealth’s businesses and citizens should be contributing to the costs required Read more

 

Otten to host youth mental health discussion Thursday

(May 20, 2019)

EXTON, May 20 – State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, will host a discussion on youth mental health and how parents can support their children from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 23 in the Annex Room of the Henrietta Hankin Branch Library, located at 215 Windgate Drive, Chester Springs. The parent-focused discussion will cover five culprits that can interfere with a child’s development and how parents can play a positive role in helping their children overcome these obstacles. Otten, who serves on the House Children and Youth Committee, will also discuss legislation that seeks to promote and protect youth mental health, such as an anti-bullying bill that she is co-sponsoring, the Beyond Safe Schools package and other pending legislation related to mental health. “A child’s mental health is crucial for their development, and it’s important that we empower and inform parents so they can give their children the foundation they need to thrive in today’s world,” Otten said. “I encourage attendees to bring any questions they have about this issue, and I welcome any input my constituents may have on the bills I’ll be discussing.” Staff from Otten’s district office will be available to answer questions about state-related services. To RSVP for the event, call Otten’s district office at 484-200-8259. Read more

 

Otten, Williams announce $33k in grants to expand school breakfast programs

(May 17, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 16 — State Reps. Danielle Friel Otten and Dan Williams, both D-Chester, announced that the Coatesville Area School District will receive $33,296 in state funds to ensure every student can start his or her day with a wholesome, healthy breakfast. The grants are provided through Gov. Tom Wolf’s School Breakfast Initiative and were rewarded to 151 schools across the commonwealth. Schools may use this grant toward expanding upon its current breakfast program, or to implement new breakfast options such as grab-and-go style breakfasts or breakfast in the classroom. Schools in Williams’ legislative district each received grants worth $4,162: Coatesville Area Senior High School East Fallowfield Elementary School Coatesville Intermediate High School Caln Elementary School Rainbow Elementary School Scott Middle School Schools in Otten’s legislative district each received grants worth $4,162: North Brandywine Middle School Reeceville Elementary School “For too many students, a well-balanced meal may not be available at home. No student should ever be prevented from achieving their highest learning potential because of an empty stomach,” Williams said. “I sincerely thank Governor Wolf for sharing my values and for helping the Coatesville Area School District to provide for students who deserve every chance at success.” "Even in our wealthy county, many Read more

 

Otten hosting community power summit this weekend

(May 16, 2019)

EXTON, May 16 – State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten will host a community power summit featuring various environmental and community organizations from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, May 18 at Lionville Middle School, located at 550 W Uwchlan Ave, Exton, PA 19341. The summit will include interactive activities such as a virtual reality presentation about oil and gas pollution, several fun, kid-friendly activity stations and a panel discussion about climate change and air pollution issues in Pennsylvania. This summit also seeks to provide constituents with an opportunity to learn more about climate policies and practices that protect Pennsylvania’s environment and public health. Otten will share information on proposed environmental legislation in the House, including the following bills: H.B. 531: Legislation that seeks to create a community solar initiative in Pennsylvania to provide residents, businesses, farms and other community members the ability to acquire solar energy via a communal solar project. H.B. 1314: Legislation that seeks to expand the usage, accessibility and affordability of solar power throughout Pennsylvania by working with utility companies. H.B. 1425: Legislation that would put Pennsylvania on track to use 100% carbon-free, energy-efficient, renewable energy by 2050. Otten will also discuss her bill seeking to promote organic waste composting, which is a part of the Zero Waste PA package recently introduced by House Read more

 

Friel Otten announces $60,000 to expand Communities That Care of Greater Downingtown’s Youth Prevention Councils

(May 09, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 9 – State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, today announced $60,000 in state funding is headed to Communities That Care of Greater Downingtown to expand the organization’s number of Youth Prevention Councils. Otten was instrumental in securing the state grant, which comes from Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development funding for community improvement initiatives. “This grant will enable CTC of Greater Downingtown to continue its mission of creating a safe, supportive community that promotes mental and behavioral health and positive choices for our youth,” Otten said. “Together we advocated for this funding, and together we’ll continue to work to address the growing youth mental health crisis in our communities and support our kids through their teens and into adulthood.” CTC of Greater Downingtown Executive Director Bethann Cinelli echoed the sentiment, saying, “CTC is grateful for Representative Otten’s efforts in securing this grant to allow us to grow our Youth Prevention Councils, giving students the lead in educating and supporting their peers about positive mental health and prevention of substance abuse.” Otten said CTC plans to use the grant funds to more than quadruple the number of Youth Prevention Councils in the Downingtown area schools and community from three to 14 and create smaller “mini-grants” to empower the student Read more

 

Four Chester County school districts receive grants to enhance safety and security

(May 06, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 6 – $778,119 in state funds to enhance and implement school safety and security efforts were awarded to four local school districts, state Rep. Danielle Friel-Otten, D-Chester, announced today. The funds will be provided through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s School Safety and Security Committee. This committee is the result of Act 44 of 2018 , and is responsible for establishing the standards schools must meet when performing school safety and security assessments. Grant recipients in Rep. Otten’s district include: Phoenixville Area School District, receiving $194,480 Renaissance Academy Charter School, receiving $59,447 Spring-Ford Area School District, receiving $386,192 Coatesville Area School District, receiving $138,000 It will be the choice of the school districts to determine how exactly the funds will be used. Eligible purposes include, but are not limited to: safety and security assessments, emergency preparedness, violence prevention, intervention training programs, training of school police officers and counseling services for students. “It is vital that we provide the supports and resources necessary to keep our children safe,” Otten said. “I’m very grateful that these schools in my district will have the opportunity to use these funds to develop the programs and services that will best help them maintain a safe learning environment.” Read more

 

Community Power Summit is May 18

(May 03, 2019)

Understanding the impact people have on the environment has never been more important. Join myself, environmental groups, and community organizations on May 18 for a family-friendly event to learn more about environmental action in Pennsylvania. This community event will include an interactive virtual reality presentation about oil and gas pollution, a panel discussion about climate change and air pollution issues in Pennsylvania, fun kid-friendly activities, and more. Please join us to learn more about policies and practices that protect our environment and put our children’s health and well-being first. The Community Power Summit will take place on Saturday, May 18 at Lionville Middle School, 550 W. Uwchlan Ave., from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. If you have any questions about this event, please call Sarah Heil at 484-200-8259. Read more

 

Miss my Telephone Town Hall? Click to listen to the discussion

(May 03, 2019)

Listen to what your friends and neighbors had to say. Read more

 

Friel Otten issues statement responding to misinformation

(May 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 1 – State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, today released a statement responding to misinformation being spread in connection to the ongoing disruption caused by the Mariner East pipeline in Chester County which now has resulted in the removal of five families from their homes. “ Never did I call union workers Nazis. This outrage has been manufactured and stirred up by media consultants who are paid by the oil and gas industry to silence our voices. Our fight is not with the workers, and it never has been. “This pipeline carries highly volatile liquids 50 feet from where my children sleep at night. Mariner East has wreaked havoc and rained economic ruin on the hardworking residents of Chester County and across 350 miles of Pennsylvania. They have destroyed property and property values, violated constitutional rights, endangered our physical safety, insulted residents, disrupted our lives, and lied repeatedly to residents, legislators, public officials, and emergency responders. “In recent days we learned that five Chester County families lost their homes at the hands of this project. “If we continue to do the bidding of pipeline operators, if we continue to allow them to act as ‘public utilities’ when the products they transport are no such thing, we legitimize their operations and minimize the very real harm they have done and continue to do to our communities, our Commonwealth, and our Read more

 

Free Paper Shredding Event is April 27

(Apr 25, 2019)

It can be difficult or expensive to find a safe way to properly discard important documents containing personal or confidential information. On Saturday, April 27, my office will hold a FREE, paper-only shredding event from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at my district office, 631 Pottstown Pike, Exton. Examples of documents to be shredded include: bank statements, financial documents, invoices, medical records, credit card offers and pay stubs. Small paper clips and staples are OK. This is a paper-only event! Please no binder clips, no binders and no cardboard. All items collected will be shredded on site, and all shredded material will be recycled! If you have any questions about this event, please call my district office at 484-200-8259. Read more

 

Friel Otten joins in ‘Zero Waste PA’ bill package to address single-use plastics, litter and a ‘throwaway’ society

(Apr 10, 2019)

HARRISBURG, April 10 – State Rep. Rep. Danielle Friel Otten today joined other lawmakers and PennEnvironment to announce a package of bills aimed at addressing single-use plastics, pervasive issues of litter and the various environmental harms caused by a "throwaway" society. Legislation in the “Zero Waste PA” package works to address issues created by a disposable society including single-use plastics such as straws, plastic bags and Styrofoam takeout food containers, electronic waste, funding Pennsylvania’s recycling programs and more. "I am excited to introduce legislation with the goal of diverting organic waste from our landfills and incinerators. Significant waste reduction in our landfills and disposal cost savings throughout our communities will benefit both our economy and our environment by creating a market for organic waste composting and helping to reduce environmental harms to our commonwealth. I am proud to support these bills, which are a step in the right direction for Pennsylvania’s environmental future,” said Friel Otten, D-Chester. “Every day, unwitting Pennsylvanians are barraged with products that we’re expected to purchase and use, and then throw away. Only, there is no ‘away,’” said PennEnvironment Executive Director David Masur. “Instead, it ends up in landfills where it can cause water pollution, in incinerators that cause air pollution, or blowing around in Read more

 

Pipeline town hall scheduled Wednesday, March 27 in Downingtown

(Mar 22, 2019)

EXTON, March 22 – Mariner East Town Hall: Know Your Rights! will take place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 27 in the Shamona Creek Elementary School Gymnasium, 501 Dorlan Mill Road in Downingtown. State Reps. Danielle Friel Otten, Kristine Howard and Carolyn Comitta organized the town hall to help ensure that residents know how to protect their homes and property during pipeline construction. As Mariner East construction continues, temporary workspace easements are beginning to expire. Uwchlan Township Solicitor Mark Freed will explain property rights and easement agreements. Friel Otten, Howard and Comitta will hear and address concerns from their constituents. The three state lawmakers are members of the General Assembly’s newly formed Pipeline Safety Caucus, whose mission is to keep Pennsylvanians safe as pipeline infrastructure grows across the commonwealth. All community members are invited to attend. For more information, contact Friel Otten’s office at 484-200-8259. Read more

 

Otten bill offsetting Turnpike expansion with more green space passes House

(Mar 18, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 18 – The state House of Representatives last week passed Rep. Danielle Friel Otten’s bill to allow Marsh Creek State Park to release a parcel of land adjacent to the Turnpike in exchange for land that would expand the park’s trail network and protect local wetlands and wildlife habitat. The land along the turnpike, consisting primarily of rock and road berm, was originally purchased with public Project 70 funds, so it cannot be sold or transferred unless it’s replaced with land of an equal or greater value. H.B. 387 would release that strip of land from Project 70 restrictions but transfer Project 70 protections to the new larger wooded, wetland parcel to be acquired by the park. “Under this plan, we’re showing that development doesn’t have to cost the county’s beautiful and important natural spaces,” said Otten, D-Chester. “This is a win for conservation, Chester County residents, and all Pennsylvanians.” The new parcel is part of a larger, 57-acre land preservation project coordinated among the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Natural Lands Trust, and the Turnpike Commission. The parcel of land released under the bill would allow the Turnpike Commission to widen the road. The bill now awaits consideration in the state Senate. Read more

 

Addressing the Need for a Pipeline Early Detection and Warning Board
Aug 08, 2019

Friel Otten: Policy, Change, and Leadership Are Needed to End Gun Violence
Aug 08, 2019

Otten, legislators call for special session to address gun violence
Aug 07, 2019

Otten introduces legislation to create Pipeline Early Detection and Warning Board
Jul 29, 2019

Chester County receives $3.08 million in PHARE funding to support affordable housing
Jul 12, 2019

The PA Budget on the issues you care about most
Jul 05, 2019

Chester County receives $1.25 million in grants to increase security measures, help crime victims
Jun 14, 2019

Williams, Otten announce $400,000 worth of grants awarded to Coatesville Area School District
Jun 11, 2019

Otten to host youth mental health discussion Thursday
May 20, 2019

Otten, Williams announce $33k in grants to expand school breakfast programs
May 17, 2019

Otten hosting community power summit this weekend
May 16, 2019

Friel Otten announces $60,000 to expand Communities That Care of Greater Downingtown’s Youth Prevention Councils
May 09, 2019

Four Chester County school districts receive grants to enhance safety and security
May 06, 2019

Community Power Summit is May 18
May 03, 2019

Miss my Telephone Town Hall? Click to listen to the discussion
May 03, 2019

Friel Otten issues statement responding to misinformation
May 01, 2019

Free Paper Shredding Event is April 27
Apr 25, 2019

Friel Otten joins in ‘Zero Waste PA’ bill package to address single-use plastics, litter and a ‘throwaway’ society
Apr 10, 2019

Pipeline town hall scheduled Wednesday, March 27 in Downingtown
Mar 22, 2019

Otten bill offsetting Turnpike expansion with more green space passes House
Mar 18, 2019