General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Weds., March 14, 2012

Filed in National by on March 14, 2012

Tony DeLuca has toppled one of his opponents, thus placing the State Senate in greater risk of flipping today than it was yesterday. Sen. George Howard Bunting’s announcement that he will not seek reelection in the 20th District virtually guarantees that Rethug Rep. Wally Hocker will win the seat in the fall. Now, maybe Bunting would have retired anyway. But DeLuca’s and Blevins’ redrawing of the district lines was designed to punish Bunting for his opposition to DeLuca. When your so-called party caucus leaders screw members of your party, they are not party leaders. And they are/were enabled by the craven followers who allowed DeLuca/Blevins to do this to one of their colleagues, a man who is  in every way the better of DeLuca and Blevins.

Stop to think about it. By dint of his actions during redistricting, the ethically and morally corrupt DeLuca was in effect saying that he would rather be the Senate Minority Leader in a body without his pesky opponents than the President Pro-Tempore in a body including said opponents. In other words, he is unworthy of holding a party leadership position. While I don’t think that the R’s will take control of the chamber, the very fact that they are competitive despite daunting registration figures and voting patterns makes Tony DeLuca and his greedy sidekick Blevins guilty of political malpractice. And their craven supporters guilty of…cravenness.

Guess the pessimists were right when it comes to John Atkins. Day One and nothing but the sound of crickets emerged from the House Democratic Caucus. And nothing but black tire smoke coming out of the Legislative Hall chimney. Downright embarrassing. If I’m wrong that no action was taken, would someone please set me straight? I could find no public report nor caucus statement on the matter.

The House unanimously passed HB 245(Heffernan), which essentially eliminates the ‘R’ word from the Delaware Code.  Those of who missed the Al Mascitti Show with yours truly missed a strong disagreement on this issue between us. I was all for the bill, and pointed out that, in many ways, children are ahead of adults now when it comes to respect for their peers who might have unique challenges. Al thought, and I’m paraphrasing here, and I’m not good at paraphrasing, that it was part of some Liberal Groupthink thingy. If you’re not listening from 10-12 every Tuesday morning, you’re missing some damned lively radio.

The House also passed HB 235(Bennett), which would give veterans a 50% discount on entrance fees to state parks and recreation areas. Needless to say, it passed unanimously. And will be on every brochure this fall. I know that this is an unpopular position, but, in this era of no draft, joining the military is a career choice. I honor and respect their service, but I wonder how many public perks veterans deserve as a reward.

Wednesday is committee day, and we’ve got some interesting bills on the schedule…including our second nominee for Worst Bill of the Year.

Never a body to rush into things, the Senate only has three committee meetings scheduled for today. A grand total of five bills to be considered, all of them House bills now receiving Senate consideration, and none of them all that controversial. In fact, the only one of the five bills to receive any no votes was HB 236(Keeley), which creates a new liquor license for the Queen and any future similar concert venues. Why three downstate trogs voted against, including the would-be new senator from the 20th District, is beyond me.

By contrast, the House committees will once again buzz with activity. Bills that intrigue me include:

HB 265 (Hudson): Requires insurance companies to make equal reimbursement for oral and intravenous anticancer medications. Based on New York State’s ‘oral parity law’. Bill has broad bipartisan support. In today’s House Economic Development/Banking/Insurance/Commerce Committee meeting.

HB 247 (Lavelle): The troglodytes’ attempt to turn back progress on renewable energy. Sponsored by most of the usual suspects. You know, the ones who actually read the propaganda from the Heartland Institute. In the House Energy Committee.

HB 249 (Brady): Here is our second strong contender for Worst Bill of the Year. Not bad as in the sense of being dangerous, like the first contender, which would exempt so-called ‘work product’ from the auditor’s office from public scrutiny, but bad as in special interest legislation that makes a mockery of existing law. The bill would ‘eliminate(s) the continuing education requirements for a real estate broker, associate broker, or salesperson who has continuously held that type of  license in Delaware for 40 years or more.’ Now, correct me if I’m wrong here, but isn’t the purpose of continuing education to ensure that licensees remain current about what’s impacting their profession? Wouldn’t it be especially important for someone who has been practicing for 40 years to make sure that they are still in tune with changes to the profession? Why 40, and not some other number plucked out of thin air?  And, of course, the key question: Just who is asking for this? My guess? Some wrinkled old person who lives in Gerald Brady’s & Harris McDowell’s districts (they’re the prime sponsors). Someone who, you know, just wants to ‘keep their hand in it’, but is not really practicing. Otherwise, why even introduce a bill like this? Sorry. Either you have continuing education or you don’t. I wouldn’t mind a debate on whether certain professions require CE or not. But, if it is deemed that CE is required to continue practicing a profession, then this bill makes no sense. In the Housing & Community Affairs Committee. Why this bill is not in the House Sunset Committee, I have no idea, b/c that’s where it belongs.

HB 251(Longhurst): Looks like a $100,000 tax break to whomever is running the Delaware City refinery at the present time.

Well, those are the bills that interest me. Check ’em all out & let me know what you think.

And please let me know if anyone sees wisps of white smoke escaping the Leg Hall chimney.

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  1. Mike O. says:

    The bill to eliminate the R word triggered a wave of memories.

    My father was a past president of the Delaware Association for Retarded Children – that’s what we proudly called it in the 1970s. There was no stigma about the R word back then; it was simply the word you used if you wanted to help. He did this on behalf of my younger brother who has Down’s Syndrome.

    I remember my father spending many long nights in Dover. He helped write some of those bills with the R word in them. Those were real reform bills that got the kids out of warehousing situations and guaranteed their right to be mainstreamed into schools, and later for the right to continued support after the age of 18.

    This happened in the wave of state reforms that followed the 1972 exposé of the Willowbrook State School on Staten Island, by none other than the young Geraldo Rivera. Now the words “mainstreaming” as well as “retarded” are no longer politically correct.

  2. Thanks, Mike. Your dad made a real difference, and Delawareans are fortunate that he fought so hard for his cause.

  3. Mike O. says:

    Check out the trailer for the 1972 documentary on Willowbrook:

  4. Joanne Christian says:

    Darn–I am so mad I missed El and this yesterday. Mike O.—I would have been all over this superfluos legislation. Change the reference words in Delaware Code? Are you kidding me? A little history here….retarded WAS the respectful and dignified way to replace those words moron, imbicile, and idiot. We got it. Now, because our society is so callous and rude regarding more vulnerable populations, we change a word. All that has been done is increase the callous and rude segment of society vocabulary in choice of mean-spirited attack terms.

    Case in point–“special”. Folks thought using that word would soften handicap or a mental impairment. We see “special needs”, “special ed.” etc…Now watch a person cringe if they’re called “special”–and I’m talking about teens and young adults.

    The reality is, no one wants to see their child or themselves as different. Legislating words only moves a timeline of facing a difference that is a reality. Why not enforce under hate crimes, or offensive speech policies in employment etc., the standards expected of people to behave civilly, and respectfully in this country of ours?

    And on another note, the cost to reprint all those codes sans “retarded” has got to be some coin. But I bet the idiots, morons, and imbiciles didn’t even consider that in the legislation. And oh wow, I haven’t even used any offensive designations–at least this year.

  5. JC, you, Mike and Al were on the same side, if I understand Mike’s position. I spoke in support of the bill. (Ducks for cover).

  6. Mike O. says:

    I peeked at the Heffernan bill and it looks like it is just aimed at the criminal code, not special ed. I missed Al’s show, so I guess I am coming in in the middle of this conversation. I’m not even sure the R word still exists in education code; I haven’t been keeping up.

    I wasn’t expressing an opinion on the bill, just providing some perspective. I grew up with the R word so I am not offended by it, but I can understand if others are.

    But it might be worthwhile to review the bill to make sure the terminology changes don’t cause any unwanted side effects.

  7. Mike, I think that happened. This was the second incarnation of this bill. The first bill did raise some legal issues, and was redrafted to address them. Now, whether they caught them all…

  8. jpconnorjr says:

    Well ES we knew it would not last:) the constituent behind the Real Estate CE Bill is a man who’s dirty socks you are not qualified to wash. Among other things he was Chair of the Delaware Real Estate commission for 13 years and has had a distinguished Real Estate and political career spanning 50 years. He operates his own shop and goes to the office every day and knows more about Delaware politics that you, I and 10 other people ever will. There are qualifiers in the bill and the mere length of service limits eligibility to less than 20 folks. BTW Maryland extends the courtesy after 10 years of service. As they say” If you don’t know it by now you probably never will” Recite that while gazing in the mirror tomorrow. Bonus points if you guess the gentleman’s name.

  9. Geezer says:

    I don’t know about this man’s socks, JP, but in other fields it is espcially the older practitioners who are not up to date because they’ve always done it the way they do. That’s why you should always opt for the youngest surgeon you can get.

    I don’t know what it is REaltors need education on, but if the requirements exist I can’t think why someone should be exempted from them — ESPECIALLY a politician/Realtor, who probably will get this passed on collegiality alone.

    Why YOU think this gentleman’s politcal career turns this proposal into a winning argument is another question.

  10. jpconnorjr says:

    With all due respect to my profession it is not brain surgery and a long term practitioner can do fine without CE. The man ran the regulatory body for 13 years, He has had a spotless career. There is precedent in multiple other jurisdictions (Maryland 10 years). I mentioned his accomplishments and continued active practice as counterpoint to this bull shit comment you made : “Just who is asking for this? My guess? some wrinkled old person who lives in Gerald Brady’s & Harris McDowell’s districts (they’re the prime sponsors). Someone who, you know, just wants to ‘keep their hand in it’, but is not really practicing.” You could have picked up the phone and asked about the bill…. Oh wait….. neither Legislator will take your calls. So instead you choose to spread your venomous bullshit. Have a nice day:)

  11. Geezer says:

    JC: I agree with you. The word isn’t the problem — the intent is.

    Don’t believe it? Look at the N-word. A white guy calls a black guy that, he’s in trouble. A black guy calls a black guy that, it’s a term of endearment.

    In short, it’s not the word.

  12. Geezer says:

    “Venemous bullshit”? Really? Just for saying — accurately, I might add — that this bill sounds like something hatched as a favor to somebody?

    You, meanwhile, tell us that the person in question is a swell guy and — the real tell — a politician. In short, you vouch for him.

    That’s EXACTLY what some of us would like to dismantle about Delaware. That’s Delaware Way bullshit all the way around, right down to the part where you won’t say his name.

    Sorry to be offensive to a guy in your condition, but your politics of personal friends and enemies is the worst thing about how politics is practiced in this state, and it’s why despite an overwhelming Democratic advantage, we have to make do with shit Democrats like Biden, Carper and Carney instead of actual liberals.

  13. jpconnorjr says:

    The Bill had merit on its own, evidenced by practice in other states. I take no offense that you would you take am innocuous piece of legislation and turn into a diatribe against guys you don’t like. This is about professionally recognizing individuals with 40 years of continuous distinguished service. If either of you chose to lift a finger the merits and rationale for the Bill were readily available. Instead its a great soap box to rail against the world. You have a nice day too:)

  14. Dana Garrett says:

    If people want to call someone like Rush Limbaugh “retarded,” then they can have at it. But don’t dare to compare my special needs son to Limbaugh by using the same term. The legislation wants to change the language to to “profound intellectual developmental disorder.” That phrase lacks the zing that “retarded” does and thus is unlikely to be applied to jerks like Limbaugh. I want language that distinguishes my child from jerks. I’m.sorry I missed the this morning. I have a great deal of respect for Mascitti, but I cannot even imagine a plausible objection to this legislation.

  15. Geezer says:

    “I take no offense that you would you take am innocuous piece of legislation and turn into a diatribe against guys you don’t like.”

    First of all, I didn’t turn it into a diatribe against anything. And if I don’t know who the guy is, how can you say I don’t like him?

    “This is about professionally recognizing individuals with 40 years of continuous distinguished service.”

    That’s not how I read it. “Recognizing” people is done all the time without changing laws. This is about exempting certain people in the field from requirements others must meet.

    “If either of you chose to lift a finger the merits and rationale for the Bill were readily available.”

    Yet you still haven’t stated what they are, other than Maryland does it too.

    “Instead its a great soap box to rail against the world.”

    Not the world. Just you, and your style of politics.

    You have a nice day, too. Feel free to add any facts you have to the discussion — other than that Mr. Unknown is a swell guy and Maryland has less restrictive rules.

    For example: If Maryland feels CE is unnecessary after 10 years, why shouldn’t Delaware drop to that level? Heck, just educate us on what this CE consists of, and why it’s not needed. And if it’s not needed, why have it at all?

    You chose instead to hurl personal insults at ES. Don’t piss and moan because you don’t like the nature of the dialogue; you turned it shitty right out of the box.

  16. Geezer says:

    “The legislation wants to change the language to to “profound intellectual developmental disorder.” ”

    I’m not against the legislation. I’m against pretending this accomplishes anything other than changing the language in the code.

    “That phrase lacks the zing that “retarded” does and thus is unlikely to be applied to jerks like Limbaugh.”

    The “zing” you refer to didn’t exist for “mentally retarded” when it was adopted as the scientific way to express “profound intellectual development disorder,” either. Once that became the term for a few years, it filtered down into the schoolyard where it became the insult we know today.

    Joanne bears witness to something I’ve already experienced — young teens giggling at the word “special.” I have no doubt that, 20 years from now, “profound intellectual development disorder” will have been shortened to PIDD, and those who suffer from it will be called PIDDlers or something similar by kids on playgrounds.

    I’m not against changing the language. I’m against acting as if it does as much good as, say, increasing the budget line for helping parents and children with PIDD.

    In short, labels don’t make much difference to me. And I doubt you get insulted when health care professionals use the term “mentally retarded.” It is not inaccurate and it is not inherently pejorative. That it has become so is obvious by your reaction to the word, but I would respectfully suggest that you concentrate on the intent of those using the term rather than the term itself.

    For what it’s worth, this is my position on all such language issues, including the N-word. As Lenny Bruce said, if Kennedy had said, “I’d like to introduce all the (n-words) in my cabinet,” it would have been defanged back then, and racists would have to call blacks something else today.

  17. jpconnorjr says:

    I have neither pissed nor moaned. But I do wonder how this rises to: “strong contender for Worst Bill of the Year. Not bad as in the sense of being dangerous,……… but bad as in special interest legislation that makes a mockery of existing law”
    If this is a top choice for worst then the General Assembly is doing a hell of a job. I guess it takes overblown and hysterical commentary to keep the attention of the folks you each pander to… Giving an older citizen a break is certainly wholly unacceptable and especially so if he or she has done years of public service. Unlike you I don’t hold that political service and activity should be deserving of a scarlet letter…. If you actually give a rats ass about CE go to you will find all you wish to know and more on the subject.

  18. Geezer says:

    “Giving an older citizen a break is certainly wholly unacceptable and especially so if he or she has done years of public service.”

    Actually, yes. Either give people breaks as a class or don’t — but don’t cite one person’s service as a reason to change laws to make his life easier. I’m pretty sure that makes El Som’s claim of “special interest” true. So, in essence, your nose is out of joint because you know who this guy is and think he’s swell.

    You really don’t see what’s wrong with that? In that case I think we will perpetually disagree.

    “I guess it takes overblown and hysterical commentary to keep the attention of the folks you each pander to.”

    Right. We’re pandering, while you come on here and defend your meal ticket. Pot, meet a really, really big kettle.

    “Unlike you I don’t hold that political service and activity should be deserving of a scarlet letter”

    Nor do I. But I don’t think those who engage in it are entitled to special treatment, such as that your swell guy — whom you still won’t name so we can decide for ourselves how swell he is — is trying to get from the GA.

    “If you actually give a rats ass about CE go to you will find all you wish to know and more on the subject.”

    Right. Because I want to wade through an industry web site for an industry I don’t know much about to get a simple answer to a simple question. If you had spent your typing time doing anything BUT insulting people for having the temerity to call a special interest bill a special interest bill, we’d already know the answers by now.

    Guess I’m just a cynic, but I have to think that if the bill had any actual merits you would have mentioned them by now.

  19. Dana Garrett says:

    Zingers are all about brevity. So I doubt very.seriously that , “profound intellectual development disorder” will meet the rhetorical requirements to constitute a zinger. Intent sometimes matter, especially in cases of those who are unaware of alternative and more acceptable terms of art. But those who do know alternative and more acceptable terms of art but use a now pejorative term–well, it’s difficult to discern what their intent is. That’s the problem with intentions. They are often hidden. That terms of art evolve over time is no more problematic than the fact that all language evolves over time. You wouldn’t argue that the abandonment of old English didn’t “accomplish anything,” would you?

  20. jpconnorjr says:

    Time needed to click link: 1 second time needed to write your last diatribe 4 minutes. At least I have wasted some of your time. I never said it wasn’t wasn’t a special interest bill, it is by definition. I just said it was and is harmless. In my view any of the 20 or so individuals who have managed to serve 40 years of spotless service are all swell guys and ladies. And the gentleman in question may have had the Realtor Lobbyist (Oh the horror) press the case with Rep. Brady and McDowell. And we both know its your buddies intense dislike of them that was the genesis of the piece. As I said have a nice day.

  21. Geezer says:

    Dana: It’s a mouthful no matter who’s saying it, which is why it will be shortened to PIDD soon. THAT’s how language evolves. As opposed to, say, having it mandated by the bureaucracy; those changes are usually ignored. But once that mouthful is shortened — I’m guessing it will be anacronymized, because that tends to be what America does to the language these days — it will become a pejorative, unless society reaches a state in which kids no longer make fun of each other.

    Remember the estate tax — you know, the one now known as the “Death Tax” thanks to Republican rebranding? Yes, I realize that was hatched with malign intent, while this change would have a benign intent, but it still falls under the conscious manipulation of language — something far different from the natural evolution of languages over time.

    Difficult to discern intent? Really? What sort of “hidden intent” could a person achieve by failing to use the more modern term?

  22. Geezer says:

    I clicked, JP, but I didn’t see any immediate answer to my question. Diatribe? Really? I provided specific rebuttals and answer. YOU are engaged in diatribe, apparently because either Brady or McDowell is another one of your benefactors (I would guess McDowell, as he is the angel for your savioress).

    You know what the difference is between you and El Som? El Som is honest and up front about whom he likes and whom he dislikes. You, on the other hand, are all about the insider access. You won’t even say the name of this swell gentleman you’re so offended for.

    Maybe I can get you some work. I think the Delaware Way needs a poster boy.

  23. jpconnorjr says:

    I am not offended. It occurred to me I may have surmised the wrong person as the lead on the bill so I will not then put up a name. ARELLO is the Association of Real Estate License Law officials. It is an organization of State and international regulators. Virtually all Real Estate CE courses are certified by ARELLO. BTW I served on their BOD for 4 years and as Senior VP for one. Regionally,CE requirements vary, New Jersey has none at all, Maryland and Pennsylvania are similar to Delaware except for Maryland’s 10 year exemption. Also the National Association of Realtors requires a non- waivable separate course on ethics and business practice. I really don’t have a strong opinion on the seniority waiver. I submit that you guys don’t either. ES put that crap out because he doesn’t like Brady and McDowell. As to me not identifying elected officials I don’t like you may want to read the George Bunting thread and my comments regarding DeLuca. I have known Harris for just shy of 40 years and Gerry and I though not directly related, share close family connections, so sue me. And anything from you would not be complete without a shot at KWS, however off topic it may be.

  24. AQC says:

    I was told my son was retarded almost 20 years ago. It broke my heart. I doubt I would have felt any differently if I was told he had a profound intellectual developmental disorder. Then I spent the next almost 20 years learning the label didn’t matter at all. He is his own person, as we all are and it makes no difference what anyone calls it.

  25. Joe: The Harris McDowell I knew back when I was the Research Analyst for the Joint Sunset Committee would have been the first person to object to a bill like this, and he would have been right. Harris has changed so much over the past twenty years that it’s hard to remember his reformer past. I do, I have great nostalgia for it, and wish that he hadn’t changed so much.

    By your own admission, this is a special interest bill. My point is simple–either you require CE or you don’t. If you do, then nobody should be able through political connections to exempt themselves from the requirements. What, exactly makes them so special, aka, above the law?

    That’s discussing the bill on its merits. I didn’t hurl any invective, I explained why the bill is such a bad bill. And it is.

  26. JPconnorjr says:

    I am a recognized expert on real estate education. I have consulted swith the 3 top writesof state real estate exams and I have policy responsibility on the matter here in Delaware. I disagree with the Maryland exemption as too lenient. I disagree with states with no CE requirement. However this bill is about a 40 year threshold. I believe it has a “no discipline” proviso. Statistical people enter real estate later than some the average is abbot 30. That would make the average for the exemption about 70. there is statistic that most disciplinary actions occur at between 3 and 15 years. There is another that for liven res that cross the 25 year mark the probability of disciplinary action is less than 1%. Finally I tok offense to the way you presented the bill not the merits. I did not encourage or discuss this bill with anyone includung the gentleman that I suspect pushed it. There is ample precedent and data that this legislation would not put the real estate consumer in any jeprody nor is it unique across jurisdictions. Contray to what has Been implied I love my profession and while I did several really stupid things never did anything to put a single consumer at risk. I am grateful that I have been given back my privilege to practice and I am surprised to have survived another brush with death.

  27. JPconnorjr says:

    Sorry for all the typos the iPad rejected my corrections

  28. Von Cracker says:

    R word? Thought you meant republican :-). Tomato, tomAAto.

  29. Geezer says:

    Thanks for the answer, JP. I’m terrible at negotiating web sites as well-stocked as the one you linked to, especially when I’m not sure what I’m looking for.