General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Tues., March 26, 2013

Filed in National by on March 26, 2013

Jack Markell: From clammed-up to happy-as-a-clam. The Governor who was unwilling to take a public position on a minimum wage increase effusively praised it after it had passed the Senate:

“I commend Senator Marshall for the changes he made to the bill. I assured Senator Marshall I would sign the bill as passed by the Senate because of the help it will provide to many struggling families,” Markell said in a statement.

Jack Markell has proven time and time again that he cares not for struggling families. But Markell was able to (a) get a cost-of-living provision struck from the bill, (b) get the effective date for the bill pushed back, and (c) lower the amount of the minimum wage to $7.75 an hour in 2014 and $8.25 in 2015. All this in exchange for dropping his threat to veto the bill. Ladies and gentlemen, your Democratic governor.  Still, kudos to the 12 D’s who voted yes. It’s better than nothing, which is all you’re gonna get from this governor. For the record, self-professed ‘friend of labor’ Cathy Cloutier voted no. This will not be the last time that she proves to be a phony during this, or any session, of the Delaware General Assembly.

The Governor got his ‘revenue’ bills passed in the House. All on party line votes. With the exception of nominal Democrat/nominal law-abiding citizen John Atkins crossing the aisle. No challenges from the left on HB 50, which I found disappointing. So, the Billionaires on the Hill get their top rate cut from 6.75% to 6.6%, courtesy of your Democratic governor. I hope that the progressive legislators got some kind of commitments from Jack in exchange for their support. In writing.

Here is the Session Activity Report for last Thursday.

Coming up on today’s Senate Agenda, a little thing known as repeal of Delaware’s death penalty. I’d be surprised if there is a vote today, as I expect a lot of opponents, many of them wearing uniforms, to descend on Leg Hall.  I support the bill, and would oppose any amendment that carves out a special exception for those convicted of killing a police officer. First of all, such exceptions inevitably lead to other exceptions. (You know, firefighters, first responders, veterans…). My primary objection, however, is that quite a few death row inhabitants throughout the country have been cleared of capital crimes through use of DNA testing. In many cases, evidence provided by police officers in those cases was either falsified or exaggerated. So, to all of those officers, I might be willing to propose a compromise: Continue the death penalty for those convicted of killing officers, and subjecting officers to the death penalty for falsifying or exaggerating evidence that leads to a conviction in a capital case. Any takers?

There’s a very thin (blue) line between exercising authority, enforcing the law, and abusing power.  If police deserve a ‘special exception’, they should also pay the ultimate price for placing someone at risk of being wrongfully executed by the state. Otherwise, no exceptions.

For the third consecutive session day, the House is scheduled to consider HB 20(Jaques). ‘Higher priority’ items have prevented this bill, which would permit ‘no-excuses-necessary’ absentee balloting in Delaware, from being considered. Granted, time is not of the essence here, as this proposed first leg of a consititutional amendment must pass two consecutive terms of the Delaware General Assembly. But, still, it’s IMHO a really good bill, and there’s nothing particularly earth-shattering on today’s House Agenda.  Let’s see if we can get non-partisan agreement on what should be a non-controversial bill.

I also like HB 40(Keeley), which ‘extends the Automatic Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program and the Office of Foreclosure Prevention for four additional years beyond the current sunset date in January 2014.’ The bipartisan sponsorship of this bill suggests to me that it should have the support to make it through the General Assembly this year.

Finally, while I generally wait until a bill is heard in committee to comment on it, I’m gonna break my self-imposed rule to talk about two bills that really interest me. HB 62(Bolden) would permit Wilmington to enact its own firearms statutes. While I strongly support this bill, it has no chance of passage. Not only has the Delaware General Assembly had a long-set plantation mentality when it comes to controlling what does, and doesn’t, go on in Wilmington, the NRA ‘slippery slope’ argument will attract lawmakers who don’t have to worry about voters in the City. Wish I was wrong, hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I’m wrong.

The second bill is championed by ‘sippers of the grape’, like myself. It tries, for the umpteenth time, to permit direct sales of wine from wineries into the state of Delaware. HB 60(Hudson) provides for the direct shipment of wine to Delaware consumers. There are a few bells and whistles to supposedly mollify those who have opposed such opposition in the past, especially as it pertains to Delaware wineries, so it has the best chance of passage that this perennial proposal has ever had.

Hey, if all goes as planned, perhaps I can have a case of obscure, but delicious, Cali bubbly on hand to celebrate the repeal of the death penalty and the passage of marriage equality.

BTW, join me on Al’s show today as we discuss all of this plus the apparent death rattle of the Sheriff of Nuttingham and his Posse Comatosis.

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  1. puck says:

    If police deserve a ’special exception’, they should also pay the ultimate price for placing someone at risk of being wrongfully executed by the state. Otherwise, no exceptions.

    Hear, hear. Ironically, the supporters of this amendment are likely to be the same people who opposed Delaware’s gun control restrictions (as well as the national law). Some of those future office shootings may well be with weapons the same “supporters” allowed to be on the street in the wrong hands.

    Delaware police already have a number of citizen deaths on their heads that to a reasonable person are murders, but the charges vanished in a cloud of blue smoke.

  2. “No challenges from the left on HB 50, which I found disappointing.” As you know, the votes do not tell the entire story.

    The testimony on the floor during HB50 included more than one Representative arguing for the benefits to Delaware of instituting additional tax brackets.

    The same is true for the committee hearing on HB 50 (testimony from the public and from Representatives, in favor of more progressive brackets), and HB 50 only received 8 of 13 votes, ‘on its merits.’

    Note further that last week the DSEA and other unions expressed their full support for all of the Governor’s revenue bills, unamended.

  3. geezer says:

    “The DSEA and other unions expressed their full support for all of the Governor’s revenue bills, unamended.”

    Which is yet another example of why labor should be devoutly ignored on any issue outside its purview.

  4. William F Christy says:

    The DSEA polled less than 100 teachers and administrators state wide, so their claim was pure bullshit.

  5. geezer says:

    Nobody has asserted that DSEA arrived at its position on the revenue bills through polling. The issue is their position, not how they reached it.

  6. William F Christy says:

    geezer you weren’t at legislative hall what the DSEA representative stated was “the majority of the teachers and administrators we represent support this bill.” That is an outright lie, plain and simple.

  7. Senate passes death penalty repeal, 11-10!! After Sen. Peterson passed an amendment eliminating the retroactive provision that current death row inmates’ sentences be commuted to life in prison w/o chance of parole. Bill apparently did not have the votes to pass w/o amendment.