Let us circle June 11, 2013 on the calendar. It will go down as a day when public schools were dealt yet another blow at the hands of greed and silence. The Governor’s greedy desire to rise above his station, D’s and R’s alike greedy desire to get their hands on funds they shouldn’t have, the press’ unwillingness to function as journalists instead of lapdogs; a conspiracy of silence that rippled through the Delaware Way, leaving only the have-nots behind (admittedly, that’s a dog-bites-man story in Jack Markell’s Delaware). Here’s the roll call on the charter schools money grab, if you have the heart.
Oh, and if anyone thinks that $5 mill is the end instead of the beginning, well, you’re not thinking. So, Markell will get his Race to the Top filthy lucre and his imaginary presidential street cred, Charlie Copeland (!) will parlay his family’s expertise in bankruptcies into running a hy-ooge city charter. A Tower Hill grad who inherited his fortune will be one of the largest players in Delaware education. In the inner city. I mean, has anybody with any say-so over who gets to run a charter ever read Dissolute Recrimination?
The politicians who supported this railroad job (deliberations in private, rushed through in a week and a half) opted to serve themselves instead of the majority of their constituents. The least they could do is let everyone in on the details of the deals. A very dark day for public education in Delaware. And a black mark on the Delaware General Assembly that won’t be easily removed. Jack Markell is now officially dead to me.
More Delaware Way BS over on the Senate side. Ironically, what we were joking about on the Al Show yesterday actually happened in Real Life. We were talking about the ‘vital compromise’ that would enable VFW’s and American Legions to shed their decades-long scofflaw status and to have
slot machines video lotteries in their buildings. So that they can push ahead with their vast ‘charitable’ enterprises. Well, Sen. Nicole Poore wanted to expand this privilege to other fraternal organizations, just as Al and I had discussed, we thought, in jest. This, of course, outraged the initial set of scofflaws to no end. The Doug Dennison News-Journal story (which I can’t link b/c, even though I subscribe to the dead trees edition, the News-Journal still cuts off my views b/c they Have No Clue) includes this priceless quote from American Legion guy Jeff Crouser:
“We did not want this to expand and envelope everything. Where were (the other fraternal groups) when we were negotiating with the state in good faith?”
Outrage from a serial scofflaw. ‘Good faith negotiating’ from serial scofflaws. Ya gotta love it. What the story does not mention is whether these newly-added groups were also breaking the law, or whether they’ve just had a brand new source of revenue dropped into their laps. I’d like to know. Dog Bites Man: Racino owners are pissed off. Nobody cares.
Another classic quote from a Mealy-Mouthed Markell Minion:
“The Administration still supports this bill as amended because of the desire to help organizations that do charitable work.”
Has nothing to do with Jack wanting to run for Prez as “The All-Veterans All the Time” Governor. Beginning to detect a theme here? Here’s the vote on Poore’s amendment, and here’s the vote on SB 112(Bushweller).
In one other vote of note, the House passed HB 146(Bolden), which would add an additional $25 charge to those convicted of criminal offenses within the City of Wilmington. Legislation like this would have been DOA in previous sessions, as old-time legislators had a plantation mentality when it came to their meddling in what Wilmington could and could not do. For that reason alone, I salute its passage.
Here’s yesterday’s Session Activity Report.
A brief pause while El Somnambulo takes a deep breath…
Today is the last regularly-scheduled committee day in the House. Loads of bills in both House and Senate committees. Time for a Beckett quote (Samuel, not Sir Thomas): “I can’t go on. I MUST go on.”
Senate committee highlights:
John Kowalko’s ‘revolving legislators/lobbyists’ bill is in today’s Senate Executive Committee. I think it’s got a good chance of passing.
Didn’t take long to find yet another attempt to shut the public out of the public’s business. Didja know that we have something called a Special Law Enforcement Assistance Fund (SLEAF), and that law enforcement agencies can seek such funding? Didja know that the AG, the Director of Office, Management and the Budget, and the Controller General decide who gets such funds? Public agencies applying to public officials for public funding. Now check out SB 72(B. Ennis). If you read only one bill synopsis today, read this one:
This Bill expands the purpose of the Special Law Enforcement Assistance Fund so that law-enforcement agencies can obtain and devote resources to enhance the suppression, investigation and prosecution of criminal activity, promote officer safety, facilitate the training of law enforcement personnel, further public education and community awareness and improve victim services. In addition, the Bill creates an advisory committee to advise the Attorney General in approving applications for funding and allocating resources. No funds may be disbursed in respect of applications approved by the Attorney General without the concurrence of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Controller General. Finally, the Bill makes clear that the SLEAF Committee shall not be deemed a public body as defined in or otherwise subject to the open meeting provisions of Chapter 100 of Title 29 of the Delaware Code.
First of all, the General Assembly allocates lots of resources directly to agencies for the same purposes that this fund would be used for. And now, we are creating via legislation a new advisory body that is going to be exempt from FOIA? No wonder the AG tiptoed around the Charter
Markell’s Cartel’s ignoring of FOIA. He wants to do it himself. And you can be sure that he’ll be the one touring these local police agencies bearing checks, campaign photographers in tow. In today’s Senate Finance Committee. For reasons that escape me, no fiscal note is required.
I support SB 56 and SB 57(Hall-Long), which would provide urgent and preventative dental care to certain Delaware Medicaid recipients. In today’s Senate Health & Social Services Committee. Also in this committee, an interesting bill from my state senator, Cathy Cloutier. SB 116 ‘s synopsis is more an argument for the bill than a synopsis, but I think it’s a damn good bill:
No person who suffers an alcohol or drug overdose or other life threatening condition should die because of fear of criminal charges. It is within Delaware’s best interests to encourage reporting dangerous situations where they occur as not only does it save lives, but it also allows those persons saved to seek the treatment and assistance needed to regain a healthy lifestyle and be productive citizens and neighbors. This Act shall be known as the Kristen L. Jackson & John M. Perkins, Jr. Law. On January 31, 2012 Kristen L. Jackson passed away at the age of 23 years old. On May 5, 2011, John M. Perkins, Jr. passed away at the age of 30 years old. If the Good Samaritan 911 Law had been in effect the outcome may have been different. We hope in passing this law that it will save other parents from the pain their parents have endured.
A ‘digital data breach’ occurs when a person or entity intentionally, recklessly, or negligently and without express authorization from the affected individual to do so makes or causes to be made a display, use, disclosure or copy, in any form of an individual’s digital personal information.
Good stuff. Hmmm, wonder how the NSA feels about this. In today’s Senate Judiciary Committee.
SB 117(McBride) would add Delaware to a compact that is “aimed at preventing lawbreakers who have lost their hunting, fishing, and/or trapping privileges in one state due to egregious crimes, such as poaching against wildlife or fisheries resources, from carrying out those activities in other states.” 39 other states already belong to the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. In the Senate Natural Resources & Environmental Control Committee.
Holy bleep! Almost 1400 words in, and I still haven’t tackled the House committee meetings. Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop drinking bourbon before noon…
Boy, they sure waited until late in session to introduce HB 162(B. Short), which would bring Delaware into compliance with the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Wonder how many Rethugs will vote no b/c, you know, Obamacare. In today’s Business Lapdog Committee.
SB 27(Sokola) encountered some pushback in the Senate. 6 no votes, including D’s McDowell and Townsend. The bill “would authorize the Department of Education, pending available funds, to offer competitive two year start-up grants to public schools for the purpose of developing new programs for students capable of performing accelerated academic work.” In the House Education Committee.
Time for the annual death knell for casino expansion in Delaware. HB 135(D. E. Williams) will be considered in today’s Gaming and Parimutuels Committee.
I like HB 178(Barbieri) because it removes a ridiculous barrier to physician licensure in Delaware. Specifically it eliminates a requirement “that applicants for licensure as medical doctors undergo a personal interview by a Board member as a prerequisite to obtaining licensure”. These kind of obstacles were typical of many licensing agencies in Delaware. If you weren’t related to somebody or didn’t know somebody who was powerful within a particular profession (or, in the case of the building trades, if you weren’t the right ethnicity or didn’t possess the requisite skin color), you didn’t get licensed. I’m frankly surprised that this one is still around. In the House Health & Human Development Committee.
I would hope and assume that SB 55(Townsend) makes it out of the House House Administration Committee today, but, considering recent heavy-handed tactics by House leadership, I’m a bit worried. Probably just paranoia on my part.
Some bill synopses just make you say, ‘Bullshit’. Here’s one:
This bill continues the process of updating the Liquor Control Act to make it more modern and consumer-friendly. Section 1 and 2 allow package stores to open at 8:00 a.m., instead of 9:00 a.m. on days other than Sundays. Section 3 allows package stores to open at 11:00 a.m. on Sundays instead of noon. All of these changes reflect consumer demand for more convenient shopping hours.
If you substitute the words ‘Total Wines’ for ‘consumers’, the synopsis would approximate the truth. Anyway, HB 156(Walker) will likely move through quickly. And the lobbyists writing out checks will not be ‘consumers’ in the traditional sense. (Of course, if I hadn’t given up drinking bourbon before noon, I might feel differently.)
HB 71(Ramone) ‘makes it unlawful for a minor to possess or use a tobacco product.’ Uh, good luck enforcing that one. In House Judiciary Committee, where it should stay.
Yay! A respite from ‘teh stupid’. The Manufactured Housing Committee indeed will consider SS1/SB 33(B. Ennis) today. It got 17 votes in the Senate. Can the Forces of Evil once again thwart the public good? Time to head to your favorite mode of communication and…communicate with your representatives.
HB 155(Miro) prohibits “the use of a wearable computer with a head-mounted display while driving”. In today’s Public Safety/Homeland Security Committee.
More special interest legislation for veterans. In the Revenue & Finance Committee.
Whew, we’re done. What’s that? We’re not? There’s a what? Senate Agenda? Well, I got your Senate agenda right here (points to nether region)! Sorry, I get a bit surly at times.
Let’s see…State giving away land to Smyrna. Can we at least specify that (a) Smyrna can’t use the land to set up yet another speed trap; and (b) Smyrna can’t turn around and sell this parcel to someone with political connections? Didn’t think so. SB 12(Henry) creates yet another set of ‘victims more important than you'; and HB 116(Viola) helps out the racinos who can’t make a go of it with racing. Oh, and a bill written by the telecoms for the telecoms. This bill reduces PSC oversight of the industry, which was close to non-existent to begin with.
That pretty much defines a typical legislative agenda.
It also pretty much defines why I need a drink.
To paraphrase Rep. Lumpy Carson: “It’s noon somewhere.”