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

 

Preventing Gun Violence

(Jun 02, 2023)

Dear Neighbor, With budget season quickly approaching, I was glad to have some time back here in the district to meet with constituents, including advocates for full and fair school funding. My staff and I also met with and heard from supporters of safe staffing limits, higher reimbursement rates for home health workers, and increased funding for community waivers, and DSP wages. Read more

 

Building Safer Communities, Offices Closed for Memorial Day

(May 26, 2023)

Dear Neighbor, The House was back in Harrisburg for another busy session week this week, and I’ll share some updates on our work below. We are now in recess until June 5, when the real heavy lifting begins as the House and Senate begin our final preparations for budget debates. This Memorial Day weekend, I hope everyone finds some time to relax and be with loved ones as we remember and honor the U.S. service members who have given their lives in wars throughout our nation’s history. It looks like we’ll have nice weather here in the 155th Legislative District to take advantage of Fish-for-Free day at Marsh Creek State Park on Sunday, May 28, attend the Downingtown Borough Memorial Day Parade on Monday, or visit one of our nearby parks, trails, and preserved open spaces. My district office will close at noon on Friday, May 25 and will be closed on Monday, May 29, in observance of Memorial Day. Read more

 

Rabb, Friel Otten announce legislation instituting zero-emission standards for space and water heaters

(May 19, 2023)

HARRISBURG, May 19 – State Reps. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., and Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, have introduced legislation that would adopt zero-emission standards for space and water heaters in Pennsylvania. “For Pennsylvania to be the climate leader we want it to be, and to meet our long-term climate goals, we need to take decarbonization seriously,” Rabb, a founding member of the PA Climate Caucus, said. “By reducing the amount of energy needed in buildings through energy efficiency upgrades, reducing carbon content of energy resources and appliances, and shifting energy usage with available technology, we can be one step closer to reaching our climate goals as well as saving money, improving both indoor and outdoor air quality, and reducing health risks associated with pollutants found in buildings.” This legislation would require that beginning Jan. 1, 2030, all new space and water heaters for new construction and replacement of worn-out equipment in existing buildings sold in the commonwealth meet the zero-emission standards. “Heating systems and water heaters have a long lifespan, so it’s important to plan now for the technology we’ll be living with seven, 10, or 25 years from now,” Friel Otten, chair of the PA Climate Caucus, said. “Energy-efficient, zero-emission systems may have a higher upfront price tag, but failing to adopt new standards would Read more

 

Uwchlan Hills visit; Primary Election held

(May 19, 2023)

Dear Neighbor, The House has been in recess these past two weeks, and I have enjoyed spending time back in the district before session picks up again for budget season. I had the opportunity to meet with some of our younger constituents, attended a policy hearing in neighboring Delaware County, and headed to the polls on Tuesday for the primary election. Read more

 

Otten to host June 24 blood drive at Lionville YMCA

(May 10, 2023)

EXTON, May 10 – Patients count on American Red Cross blood donations year-round, but summer activities and vacation schedules can lead to a drop in donor appointments. To help avoid critical blood shortages and fill the urgent need for donations, state Rep. Danielle Friel Otten has partnered with the Red Cross and the Lionville YMCA for a Community Blood Drive. The blood drive will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 24 at the Lionville YMCA, located at 100 Devon Drive in Exton . Interested donors are encouraged to schedule their appointments in advance at 1-800-Red Cross (1-800-733-2767) or via the American Red Cross website with sponsor code “District155.” “My team and I are committed to helping the Red Cross meet hospital and patient needs through blood donations,” said Otten, D-Chester. “A simple blood donation can help save the life of someone who could be a co-worker, loved one or neighbor. I encourage all healthy and eligible donors to donate blood. If you’re unable to donate at this event, please help us spread the word and consider donating at the next nearby opportunity. Every donation helps.” Approximately 36,000 units or pints of red blood cells are needed every day in the United States. While blood donations are a critical and integral part of medical care, only about 3% of age-eligible people donate blood yearly. However, one donation can save up to three Read more

 

PA House Passes Fairness Act, Bill Signing, and more!

(May 05, 2023)

Dear Neighbor, I was back in Harrisburg this week for another busy week of session, committee meetings, and working on legislation with members of our community. I also had the pleasure of visiting the borough of Phoenixville, previously in my legislative district and now represented by my colleague Paul Friel, to see how we can best support our communities and local businesses. Let’s get into it! Read more

 

Justice for Survivors, Protecting Children and Women

(Apr 28, 2023)

Dear Neighbor, The House reconvened on Monday for a very busy week of session, with a number of bills advancing out of the House with unanimous or strong bipartisan support. Let’s get into it! On Tuesday, the House took up HB 1 from our Special Session earlier this year for final consideration. This legislation would amend the PA Constitution to provide a two-year window in which civil lawsuits alleging childhood sexual abuse may be filed in court notwithstanding otherwise applicable defenses. Rep. Rozzi, who spearheaded the efforts behind this legislation and made it the priority of his tenure as Speaker, once again spoke to the importance of this legislation and the impact it would have on survivors of childhood sexual abuse. In addition, he urged our colleagues in the Senate to pass this legislation without tying it to any divisive partisan issues. The bill ultimately advanced out of the House with vote of 147-54. Its fate is now in the hands of the Senate, which has passed this legislation in previous sessions. Read more