General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Wed., March 20, 2013

Filed in National by on March 20, 2013

Doesn’t look like anything got done on Tuesday. Here is the session activity report. Until further notice, consider it a misnomer.

Two huge committee hearings today.

We’ve already talked about the continuation of the hearing on HB 35, which would mandate criminal background checks for almost all gun purchases in Delaware. Starts at 11:30 am in the House Chamber.

The Senate is wasting no time in taking up the death penalty repeal legislation. The Senate Executive Committee will consider SB 19 in the Senate Chamber beginning at 1 pm. And here’s something that’s pretty cool:

Sen. Bryan Townsend, who is a co-sponsor of the bill, will be live tweeting during the hearing.  His twitter handle is @BryanTownsendDE, and he will be tweeting with the hashtag #DErepeal. I don’t know what any of that means, but I’m sure virtually everyone else reading this does. (Update from DD: I added the links to Senator Townsend’s twitter page and the DERepeal hashtag for those of us who use Twitter. El Som, your training begins this Saturday. ;) )

Let’s take a look at the entire committee meeting lineup, starting with the Senate. Damn. Not much there. Only the Growler Filler legislation intrigues me in the slightest. Only b/c I’m fixated by the name Growler Filler.

Surely things will more interesting over in the House…:

The House Education Committee will consider HB 23(Hudson), which would “require(s) that all public meetings of the boards of education of traditional public school districts, vo-tech school districts, and public meetings of charter schools’ boards of directors be digitally recorded and made available to the public on the districts’ and charter schools’ websites within seven business days. The committee will also consider HB 46(Scott), which “authorize(s) the Department of Education, pending available funds, to offer competitive two year start-up grants to public schools for the purpose of developing new gifted and talented programs. I like both bills.

The House House Administration Committee gives its once-every-two-years consideration to Rep. Kowalko’s HB 13, which “prohibits a former member of the General Assembly from acting as a lobbyist for a period of one year after such person’s term of office ends.” I continue to support this bill, and hope that Kowalko at least gets a floor vote on this. I’m not holding my breath.

In an afternoon session, the House Judiciary Committee will consider HB 39(Keeley), which would make extensive changes to Delaware’s bail statutes. This bill is not  a slam-dunk by any means.  CORRECTION: HB 39  is NOT scheduled in committee today. It is scheduled for NEXT Wednesday, March 27. My mistake, I apologize.

The House Revenue & Finance Committee begins consideration of the Markell package to make certain tax increases permanent. I think HB 50, which reduces the top rate to 6.6%, is an utter travesty and should be defeated. I know, I know, the tax rate could fall even further if it’s not passed, but there is and was no reason for Markell to cut the top rate from 6.75% to 6.6%. Keep in mind that every Delawarean who pays taxes on over $60,000 pays the exact same rate. This rate applies to only the earned income over $60,000. So, the only people who will really benefit from this bill are the people who make a lot more than $60,000. And people wonder why I’ve lost respect for Jack Markell. We should be implementing a higher rate for those who make significantly more than $60K, but that won’t happen as long as Greenville’s Governor is in office. One more thing: Please explain to me why no fiscal note is required for a bill that will cost the State Treasury millions of dollars? Another joke. How much will it cost, Jack?

HB’s 51 and 52 make permanent certain tax increases/revenue enhancers that were enacted during the fiscal crisis of 2009. Or, more accurately, they eliminate sunset provisions that would take those increases off the books for FY 2014. HB 53 reduces gross receipts taxes on Delaware businesses.

The Senate and House Health & Social Services Committees will hold a joint meeting to hear a presentation on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The Senate has one bill on its agenda. SB 9(Townsend) “modifies Delaware’s juvenile sentencing laws to bring those laws into compliance with decisions the United States Supreme Court issued in 2010 and 2012.” That may sound bland, but the decisions in question restrict the states’ ability to impose draconian sentences on juvenile offenders. We’ll see if that gins up any ‘no’ votes among the R senators (all 13 D senators are on the bill as co-sponsors).

Finally, clear your calendars for Thursday. Sen. Marshall’s Minimum Wage bill will top Thursday’s agenda. WWJD (What will Jack do?)?

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  1. anon says:

    Senator Townsend is the best thing to happen to the Delaware Legislature in years. Probably more like decades.

    You go Senator!

  2. Steve Newton says:

    HB 35 voted out of committee 7-4

  3. PainesMe says:

    Glad Sen. Townsend is firmly aligning himself with the Progressives!

  4. SussexWatcher says:

    Progressives are not of one mind on the death penalty. Using that as a litmus is stupid.

  5. Idealist says:

    I would argue that the overwhelming majority of progressives are opposed to the death penalty. Progressive Democrats for Delaware and Progressive Democrats of Sussex County are members of the Delaware Repeal Project. By the way, the Senate Executive Committee passed Senate Bill 19, the bill to repeal Delaware’s death penalty, out of committee today.

    Furthermore, any self-described progressive, or anyone for that matter, who reads this sight and would like to see Delaware abolish the death penalty should take 30 seconds to email their legislators at http://www.derepeal.org

  6. Roland D. Lebay says:

    Methinks SW has confused Democrats w/ Progressives.

  7. PainesMe says:

    SW –

    I think you’re confusing the issue.

    Repeal is a Progressive position. Pro-Death Penalty is a Conservative position. This isn’t exactly controversial.

    :. If someone supports death penalty repeal, they are aligning themselves with a progressive stance.

  8. Roland D. Lebay says:

    PainesMe-

    SW is only confused w/ the nomenclature. There is no shortage of pro-death penalty Democrats.

  9. Mike Matthews says:

    I spoke against HB 46 in its current form, the competitive grant for gifted and talented programs. Reps. Jaques and Kowalko and most other reps who spoke out questioned this bill. Thankfully, it was tabled.