We’re gonna have drama after all! Democrats vs. fellow Democrat Chip Flowers. I support the Democrats not named Chip Flowers, and so should you. Here’s why. Chip Flowers claims that he has the power to invest state money, money that goes to fund state pensions. He is the only treasurer in memory to make that claim. Other treasurers have recognized that the responsibility for making these determinations rests with the Cash Management Policy Board, of which the Treasurer is but one member. Flowers wants to play cowboy in search of higher investment returns. He’s even hired some guy to look at how to increase performance. He hasn’t hired anyone to warn him of imprudent risk. This is precisely the type of fiscal irresponsibility that left scores of public pension funds in shambles throughout the country following the financial scandal. Delaware, which had invested its money prudently and conservatively, remained in strong fiscal condition, and so did state pensions. If Chip Flowers wants to gamble, let him do so at a racino or online or in the market with his own money. As a pensioner of the state, the last thing I want is for him to do is play the market with our money.
The proposed bill essentially does to Flowers what earlier legislation did to the Sheriff of Nuttingham–make clear that he can’t overstep his bounds and/or create new imaginary powers for himself. For the sake of my fellow pensioners, I hope it passes. I also think it’s about time for D’s to look for someone a little more–grounded–to be State Treasurer.
It’s possible that something even more dramatic could happen. Rumors are flying that the Markell Administration is considering legislation that would grandfather in the actions it has already taken to enable the Delaware City oil refinery to run its proposed rail and barge operations. Were this to happen and to pass, it would render the current challenges to the operation moot. I have not been able to confirm this, and it’s possible that no such action will happen. But a lot of people are talking about this. This would be an end-run around the Coastal Zone Act and an affront to the late Russ Peterson and anyone who supported Markell based on his solemn pledge to protect the Coastal Zone Act uber alles. Forewarned is forearmed.
Finally, we’ll see what kind of influence Beau Biden can wield with the General Assembly as he tries to rescue HB 88(Barbieri), which seeks to keep guns out of the hands of the dangerously mentally ill. Perhaps due to overconfidence, the AG didn’t put on a full-court press with senators, and, to the surprise of virtually everybody, the bill only got 6 yes votes in the Senate. All is not lost, however. AG Biden has made clear that he will be in Dover on Sunday, and that he will be working to get HB 88 through the Senate. Since several of the ‘no’ votes are in no way intransigent anti-gun regulation types, he simply has to satisfy their concerns about the bill. If I had to bet, I’d bet that he succeeds, and that HB 88 gets around 13 yes votes. However, I’m glad that I don’t have to bet.
Here is the Session Activity Report for Thursday. Four Senate Rethugs voted against funding state government for FY ’14. The Bloviator, Da Pope, the Green Grocer, and Pettyjohn. Which reminds me, we need a nickname for Pettyjohn. Now accepting nominations.
Time for the single Most Perplexing Vote Of the Year. What would you think if I told you that one, and only one, legislator opposes giving the state the chance to recoup costs incurred in cleaning up environmental hazards from those who caused the mess in the first place. Such is the case with gun-range owner and Senator David Lawson, who was the lone no vote in the entire General Assembly on HB 95(Heffernan). Hmmm, you don’t think he’s worried about them coming after him for some sort of lead abatement issue concerning his range, do you? He’s not up until 2016, but I officially predict that this is his final term. Clip ‘n save.
SB 27(Sokola) passed the House, 30-10. Since it passed with a House Amendment, the bill went back to the Senate, where it received final passage, with only Sen. Townsend voting no. On this one, I part from several of my fellow progressives, but I still love them. Or, like them a lot.
For the record, here are the House and Senate agendas for today. Time for a tortured analogy. Yay!! If the General Assembly were a restaurant, these agendas would be the appetizers. Both houses will be working ‘must lists’, and lots of the meat will be there. The Grants-In-Aid bill will be introduced, considered, and passed in both houses today (or early tomorrow). Consider it dessert.
Following the usual post-prandial niceties, look for the waitstaff to turn out the lights around…1:44 am, Monday, July 1: