Even for the first week of legislative session, this was the slowest first week evah for the Delaware General Assembly.
However, the first worthy pieces of legislation of the 147th surfaced, and both deserve your attention.
HB 13(Kowalko) requires a one-year waiting period before retiring legislators may return to Legislative Hall as lobbyists. This time-dishonored tradition was perhaps best worst exemplified by former House Majority Leader Wayne Smith. Just months after being reelected in 2006, Smith resigned from the General Assembly to head up the lobbying organization representing Delaware’s hospitals. It certainly raised questions as to how long Smith had been their lobbyist-without-portfolio while being paid by the taxpayers. I’m still not sure what an ‘unclassified misdemeanor’ is, and I still don’t know what penalty is attached to HB 13, if any, but I agree that the public is well-served by eliminating this revolving door. Good to see freshman legislators Baumbach, Paradee, and Kim Williams on this bill.
SB 3(Marshall) requires legislative approval before any agreement can be reached that would ‘transfer, sell, privatize, or lease all or substantially all of the Port of Wilmington to a single entity, or to a related group of entities’. You will recall that the Governor and DEDO chose a Friday afternoon news dump to pass along the information that Kinder Morgan was the ‘preferred partner’ for the Port. I wonder what Markell preferred the most–the fact that Kinder Morgan was in essence an Enron spin-off, the fact that Kinder Morgan generally combines port operations with environmentally-questionable fuel pipeline operations, or the fact that Kinder Morgan is a serial violator when it comes to both labor and environmental laws. Good to see the President Pro-Tem as a sponsor on this bill. Gov. Markell and DEDO Director Alan Levin have taken a stance somewhere between non-committal and ‘unavailable for comment’ on the issue of legislative approval for this or any subsequent proposal regarding the Port. The General Assembly should be involved and, at the least, this bill will serve to smoke out the real intentions of the Markell Administration.