Your last legislative fix for almost three weeks, so savor it!
In a Dog Bites Man story, Sen. Colin Bonini sided with the oil polluters, casting the only ‘no’ vote against legislation eliminating a monetary cap on company liability for damages caused by an oil spill. Bloviator Bonini has suffered a precipitous decline in ink this session, having ceded his senatorial Hot Air Hegemony to Monsignor Greg Lavelle. I, for one, feel sorry for the disheartened former champion, and intend to do everything within my power to rehabilitate his diminished stature (I’m speaking figuratively, of course). The Comedic Gods demand it.
Probably the biggest news of the day is what didn’t happen:
1. Bill adding 2 more casinos doesn’t make it out of committee. Nobody has clean hands in this game. Just read today’s News-Journal article about it. Which I can’t link. Because even though we still buy the dead trees edition, the online access is screwed up, and I’m still limited to only 5 articles a month. Except the month doesn’t begin and end at the beginning and ending of the month. Hate to say it, but this enterprise has earned obsolescence, alienating the few of us who still believe in newspapers. But, I digress. Williams claims to have the support of Governor Markell, but the Executive branch provides weasel words instead (I’m typing this word for word from today’s print edition):
“The Governor always looks forward to discussing proposals with the sponsors and supporters to understand how proposals might add to the state’s revenue and economy.”
Which raises this question: Rep. Dennis E. Williams, overly-optimistic or delusional? For better or for worse, I don’t think this bill is going anywhere.
2. Bail Reform Constitutional Amendment doesn’t make it out of committee. And for good reason, IMHO. The bill would add additional serious felonies (other than capital offenses) to the list of crimes for which bail could be denied. It would also permit other felonies to be added to the list, prompting Senate Executive Committee chair Patti Blevins to state (again typed verbatim from the News-Journal story that I can’t link):
“This is extremely serious stuff,” Blevins said, adding that without specific details in the amendment, a future Legislature could add another crime to the list ‘in three days’.
Yes, it is serious stuff. Senator Blevins has protected basic civil liberties by slowing down this demagogic-driven freight train. Beau would do well to pull back, way back, on this one.
3. Rethug Plan To Waste $$’s on ‘School Security’ fails to clear committee. Rethugs won’t get the chance to piss away $5 mill in education funding on school security grants unless the House Education Committee changes its mind. HB 34(D. Short) should now be consigned to the dustbin of ill-conceived ideas. In fairness, four D House members co-sponsored the bill: Atkins, Brady, Mitchell and Potter. (BTW, did you know that Potter’s son has resigned from his nepotistically-created ‘job’ with Wilmington Mayor Dennis P. Williams to ‘seek other opportunities’? Now you do.)
Today’s House Agenda features legislation permitting ‘same day voter registration’. HB 105(Viola) ‘provides for election day registration for presidential primary, primary, special, and general elections whereas currently the deadline is the fourth Saturday prior to the date of the election. Moreover, same day registration at polling places will be permitted with submission of valid government issued identification or other generally accepted proof of identification.’ No doubt, Rethugs will vote against it en masse, citing their fictional allegations of voter fraud. As opposed to the REAL Rethug voter fraud of suppressing votes all over the country. “B-b-but ACORN…” Bastards.
HB 89 permits ‘the construction and operation within the State of Delaware of freestanding inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, which generally are capable of providing services to victims of stroke, spinal cord injuries, amputation or other traumas.’ This should be an interesting vote. We will see the degree to which existing medical operations (*cough Christiana Care cough*) oppose this new facility. Time for Wayne Smith to earn his lucre.
SB 51(Sokola), which purports to ‘strengthen teacher preparation by raising the standards for entry into the teaching profession’, and which has been vilified by several commenters here at DL, is also on the House Agenda.
Forgot to ask my pharmacist wife what she thinks of SB 73(Hall-Long), which ‘authorizes a licensed pharmacist, pharmacist intern or pharmacy student under the supervision of a pharmacist to dispense hypodermic syringes or needles without a prescription to individuals who are at least 18 years of age’. If this is sorta a pharmacy addendum to clean needle exchange, then I’m sure she would support it. Whaddayathink? This bill is on today’s Senate Agenda.
The other bill of note on the Senate side is SB 55(Townsend), which ‘adds members of the Public Service Commission to the definition of ‘public officer’ which would subject them, like many other individuals in positions of public trust, to certain financial disclosure requirements’. I just wish that the General Assembly would also require PSC members to recuse themselves from approving rate increase requests from companies in which they hold shares of stock. Or…prohibit members of the PSC from holding stock in companies that routinely come before them. But, at least, SB 55 will clue us in to which members are doing their masters’ bidding and improving the performance of their stock portfolios at the same time.
This legislative run of slightly over a month has proven to be one of the most productive and, from a progressive perspective, one of the best sessions I can recall. Marriage equality, gun control, some notable and historical triumphs. There are times when we (and I) disparage the legislators for their apparent disinterest. This is not one of those times. Thank you, legislators, and enjoy your well-earned break.
As will I.