General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Weds., June 1, 2011

Filed in National by on June 1, 2011

Catch-22 author Joseph Heller spent the bulk of his writing career vainly trying to come up with something that captured the public’s imagination like his seminal anti-war novel.

Upon releasing a novel late in his career entitled Something Happened, a critic dismissed it with this two-word review: “Nothing happened.”

Which, according to the Legislative Council employees charged with providing the daily legislative record, is precisely what did or didn’t occur in Dover yesterday. The latest session report is dated May 12. Your tax dollars at work playing solitaire.

We know better, however. The House passed the following bills yesterday: HB 95 (Mulrooney), a sop to those motorcycle riders wishing to exercise their constitutional rights to suffer permanent brain damage; HB 85 (Brady); HB 104 (George); and HB 105 (Viola). HB 95 barely passed, here’s the roll call. See how your ‘honorable’ voted.

The Senate (barely) passed HB 48 (Longhurst), one of Gov. Markell’s gun control bills; SB 47 (McBride); and SB 37 (Blevins), which relates to the terms for Justices of the Peace, notoriously political appointments, which this bill will continue to enable.

Redistricting remains an issue as a misleading headline (at least as it pertains to the House) in today’s News-Journal suggested that Democrats were ‘diluting black vote’ in their proposed reapportionment plans. A closer reading of the article suggests that blacks will retain more influence in more districts under the Democratic House plan than they would if they were packed more solidly into fewer districts.  It’s an argument worth having, but at least one civil rights leader likes the new proposal:

Aside from the law, Democrats who control the Senate and House also face pressure from black voters to keep the existing districts and incumbents in place.

“We feel that our districts should not be touched and we feel that these districts give us power in the process,” said Richard Smith of Wilmington, chairman of the Delaware NAACP’s redistricting committee.

I disagree. Especially when it comes to the Senate. Three Wilmington-based senatorial districts is the equivalent of six Wilmington-based House districts. The House could barely muster four, including Rep. Gerald Brady’s district, which almost makes it to Sanford School. In fact, maybe it does.

As to Senator McDowell’s argument against having two minority-majority city districts, embodied in the following quote…:

To maintain two majority-minority districts, Senate Democrats could have split the city into two districts for McDowell and Henry to maintain with black majority voting blocs.“That was really never in the cards,” said McDowell, who argued Marshall “has the right” to run for re-election in his existing district.”

…let me just ask this question: At what point do constituents have the ‘right’ to reasonably expect that their elected officials will represent them and venture into their community, no matter how far afield it is? Harris McDowell will now represent all of Claymont under this new plan. He’s rarely seen in Wilmington, and it’s NOT because he spends all, or any, of his time in Claymont. And Sen. Marshall announced that he was retiring from the Senate. Now he wants to keep his options open. While, to the extent practicable, incumbents deserve the opportunity to run for reelection, it should not be with the cavalier dismissal of the constituents. And, if Sen. Marshall has ‘earned the right’ to have a district in which to run, why haven’t Senators Sokola and Sorenson? Oh, that’s right. They dared to challenge Tiny Tony DeLuca and his ‘Too Tired’ henchperson, Patti Blevins. Which is the story of this Senate redistricting. This plan protects DeLuca and Blevins’ hold on power at the expense of the Senate Democratic Caucus. That’s what you get with ‘leaders’ like DeLuca and Blevins.

As to the House, Monsignor Greg Lavelle’s bleats grow even more substance-free:

“I think they’re doing it to preserve their incumbents. And that’s the first, second and third priority,” said House Minority Leader Greg Lavelle, R-Sharpley.

Monsignor, take a look at your own district map drawn by Wayne Smith in 2002. Then shut up. Gerrymandering is the only thing that kept your phony pious ass in the House for the last ten years. My advice to you is the same advice that the pedophile priests from the Diocese you’ve protected gave to their victims: ‘Take it like a man. And don’t say a word to anybody.’

OK, today’s committee day. The Senate has an agenda that they may work, but the key work will be done in committees.

Highlights from the Senate committee schedule:

*John Kowalko’s bill limiting trans fats in school lunches has somehow found its way to the Senate Finance Committee, even though the bill does not require a fiscal note.

*A bill prohibiting bisphenol-A,  a chemical found in plastic products, from being present in products aimed at children, will be considered in the more appropriate Senate Health Social Services Committee.

*A couple of Gov. Markell’s gun control bills, SB 39 (McDowell) and HB 46 (Rep. D. P. Williams), will be considered in the Senate Judiciary Committee today, along with a host of ‘boilerplate’ general corporation law bills. I’m being facetious, of course, those bills may or may not be ‘boilerplate’, but corporate law bills like these are rushed through the General Assembly every year with nary a nod as to how they might impact stockholders or ordinary people. They’re good for business, though.

*The Senate Natural Resources Committee receives an update on universal recycling today.

*And, don’t forget, tomorrow night at 7 p. m. in the Senate Chamber, a public hearing on the Senate redistricting plan.

House committee highlights include:

*Insurance companies will be able to get their greedy paws into other sorts of mischief once (not ‘if’) SB 53 is passed. At some point, it will inevitably suck for consumers, great for business, though. It waltzes through the House Economic Development/Shave & a Haircut/50 Bucks Committee today. Bobby Byrd might bring checks!

*HB 144, which strengthens some sanctions on facilities offering ‘invasive medical procedures, aka ‘abortions’, will be considered in the House Health & Human Development Committee today.

*Gerald Brady’s latest attempt to craft an intelligible and intelligent bill putting a chicken in every pot and a camera/speed monitor at every intersection is back in the Public Safety/Homeland Security Committee. Likelihood that the bill is either intelligent or intelligible? Consider the source.

Remember the disastrous budget shortfall we faced in January? Jack Markell and the General Assembly say ‘Never Mind’. An orgy of tax-cutting measures are in the House Revenue & Finance Committee today, including a bill to cut the top rate from 6.95% to 6.75% and an across-the-board gross receipts tax cut. Simply pathetic. But ‘good for business’.

In other words, to steal a famous word from Catch-22: SNAFU: Situation Normal, All Fucked Up.


About the Author ()

Comments (5)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Jason330 says:

    “…including a bill to cut the top rate from 6.95% to 6.75%….”

    Since we live in the flat tax paradise long dreamt of by rigth-wing crack-pots, I guess that can be sold as “middle class tax relief.”

    ‘Something Happened’ was actually pretty good.

  2. Geezer says:

    Catch-22 wasn’t actually an anti-war novel, either, or at least not merely one. The Army and the fictional island Yosarian’s air base was on were a metaphor for post-war American society. The bumbling bureaucracy of the Army had already made the jump into civilian life, and Heller’s years at a New York ad agency made the similarities all too familiar to him.

  3. John Manifold says:

    McDowell relied on City black voters when he ran against Kaufman, Bugbee and Parets, but is studiously avoiding them in the new lines. He could lose to a good opponent.

  4. One black voter (and potential opponent) he has studiously avoided is Charles Potter. After decades of representing Brandywine Hills, where Potter lives, McDowell has drawn the community out of his district.

    So much of McDowell’s district is in the county that, for the first time, he’s definitely vulnerable to a primary challenge from outside the city. Hell, if a ‘spoiler’ from the city primaries him as well as someone from outside the city, McDowell could well be the underdog.

  5. John Manifold says:

    This tracks my thinking, El. The right suburban challenger could make common cause with city malcontents. The 9th Ward is notoriously independent. It kicked out Pryor, then Hutt, nearly booted Lonnie, and provided the margin that unseated Frawley. In his best days, which were long ago, McDowell was an unattractive, defensive campaigner.