Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday. Saturday.
Four more legislative days, plus a special legislative session when the clock strikes midnight on Sat./Sun., and the 146th Delaware General Assembly mercifully comes to a close. Except, perhaps, for a fall session by the Senate to consider nominations. This year, in particular, has not been kind to the progressive cause. For those paying attention, big-monied interests have flourished, while those who need government to stand up for them have been thwarted. The lone exception: the payday loans bill.
Here’s what the General Assembly has to do this week: The money bills. That’s it. They must leave Dover with an operating budget and a capital budget. They will leave Dover with a Grants-In-Aid bill, b/c no one is about to say no to volunteer fire companies, senior centers, and the like, and we can be thankful for that.
They will also leave Dover with yet another revenue source: more dollars via degenerate gamblers thanks to the so-called online gaming bill. This is a particularly odious example of the Delaware Way. Provisions have been put into the bill to ensure that the racinos and the mom-and-pop stores that sell the lottery tickets don’t get screwed, but no such provision for the compulsive gamblers who will help fill the state’s coffers. No fiscal note is even required for this bill, which makes little sense to me. Neither a projection of costs to implement the system, nor a revenues projection? Really? Hey, they don’t want you to know how much they expect to squeeze out of (in-state only) degenerate gamblers. Because they’re ‘humane’ public officials, no doubt they’ll toss an extra $50K or so at compulsive gambling programs a couple of years down the road. Truly a pathetic way to raise revenue at the expense of compulsive gamblers.
OK, let’s take a look at last Thursday’s carnage. Hey, a good bill from Rep. Jaques heads to the Governor. HB 222 requires that the Department of Labor publish the names of employers who have violated the Workplace Fraud Act by misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor or otherwise. Simple and fair, right? Only got 13 yes votes, with six no and two hiding in the bathroom.
More exemptions from the gross receipts tax for Delaware City refineries heads to the Governor. Just remember that this special interest legislation passed unanimously in both houses, the next time some Rethug screams about special interest legislation.
Hey, a DeLuca bill was defeated! A constitutional amendment dealing with bail provisions in non-capital cases. Very close vote, bill will likely rise from the ashes before session’s over. Might not get considered in the House, though.
Some serious legislating from M. Smith in HS1/HB 371. I think that the timely investigation of child abuse cases is strengthened by this bill. Unanimously passed the House, needs to pass the Senate this week.
Another very good bill heads to the Governor. SB 226(Blevins) promotes informed decision-making in the criminal justice system by institutionalizing the use of evidenced-based practices in decisions concerning bail, rehabilitation and probation supervision and helps ensure scarce resources are focused on higher-risk offenders. Three dopes from Sussex County voted no, Atkins, Lee and Wilson. I know, dog bites man.
The lowlight on today’s Senate agenda is, of course, the online gaming bill. It’s gonna pass, just trying to make sure that it doesn’t pass unnoticed.
Hmmm, doesn’t this bill violate the ‘Let Those Who Ride Decide’ spirit? For those unaware of what I’m talking about, back in the day when insurance companies and legislators were pushing for a mandatory helmet law for motorcycle riders, Legislative Hall was suddenly overrun with big guys and gals with black leather jackets and beaucoups tattoos. Their issue? Let those who ride decide. Ah, the good old days…anyway, this bill requires that youthful equestrians wear helmets while on horseback. Don’t think we’re gonna see the same kind of protest this time. Leg Hall already has more horse poop than it needs.
More bribery for businesses coming to Delaware. In the form of tax credits, of course. Hey, I LIKE the bill, just pointing out what it is.
And, tucked away at the bottom of the agenda, well, lookee here, one of the worst bills of this session. You know, the one that will significantly reduce protections from termination of service for customers with serious medical conditions. Written to order by the power and telecommunications companies. It will pass overwhelmingly. As Richard Nixon said to Hunter S. Thompson in the rest room scene of “Where the Buffalo Roam”, “Fuck the doomed.” BTW, while that movie has serious pacing problems (children of the sixties will quickly understand why), there are at least a couple of falling-down funny scenes in it. At least, falling-down-funny if you’re in the right state of mind.
On the House side, I’m starting to worry about HB 308(Scott). This bill, which would protect workers’ privacy rights when it comes to social media, has not budged in a week. The companion bill, designed to protect privacy rights of students, was laid on the table in the Senate after passing the House. I could be wrong, but my Spidey sense is tingling here. Looks like someone is trying to run out the clock. Is mischief afoot? Will someone from the Chamber please return my calls?
Now, here’s what buddies are for. Rep. Biff Lee, helping out his ol’ Sussex County pal, Rep. David Wilson. You know, the auctioneer. Here we are, late in June, and we’ve got a bill that “covers the licensing of auctioneers and auction firms, and creates a commission to license auctioneers and auction firms and to oversee their activities. Section 6 amends the exemption for auctioneers in the real estate brokers chapter to make it the same as the exemption in the auctioneer’s licensing chapter.” Looks like Ol’ Biff might be struggling to get this right: eight amendments already filed. All by Biff Lee or Dan Short. Might I suggest that, if legislators had to be licensed, the inability to get a basic licensing bill right (it’s almost all boilerplate language) w/o eight filed amendments, would disqualify them from licensure? Don’t think the House is gonna be willing to spend two hours or so on this Amateur Night production.
There’ll be nothing but three pros (Al, me, and the Mighty Engineer Gerald) on today’s Al Mascitti Show from 10 am to 12 noon. WDEL 1150-Newsradio on your AM dial. We’ll be talking politics, the General Assembly, and yet another classic Alice-In-Wonderland -Prison story from Sussex County.