General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Thurs., Jan. 16, 2014

Filed in Delaware by on January 16, 2014

Well, one day in, and already one of my predictions has gone down in flames. (Or is it ‘up in flames’?) Thought it would be easy for the Senate to resurrect HB 88(Barbieri),   which would establish procedures to try and keep guns out of the hands of the dangerously mentally-ill. We weren’t talking about passing the bill, we were just talking about restoring the bill to the Senate calendar. However, this signature initiative of Attorney General Beau Biden went nowhere on Tuesday, likely prompted by the notable absence of Beau Biden.  From the News-Journal story:

Senate Minority Leader Gary Simpson, R-Milford, said he expected Biden to be in Legislative Hall to make his case.

 “If this bill is that important, I would think the attorney general would be present to debate it,” Simpson said. “He should be on the job and seen and heard from, rather than his staff speaking in his name.”

Biden’s chief of staff, Timothy Mullaney, said Biden spent his day in meetings to discuss violence in Wilmington. Biden was not available for interviews to discuss a new Wilmington crime plan announced by Mayor Dennis Williams. Joe Rogalsky, who leads legislative efforts for Biden, said the attorney general would not give up on the gun-control issue.

Simpson’s right, you know. Perhaps a little cruel, but right. Were Biden up to the task, he would have been in Legislative Hall. It’s not a long drive from Wilmington. However, it proved to be a Route Too Far to revive his signature bill. You do the math.

Here’s the complete Tuesday session activity report. Basically, no activity.

Here’s the complete Wednesday session activity report.   The Senate unanimously passed a couple of bills dealing with trusts and fiduciary responsibilities. I have no idea what they do, but because Sen. Townsend sponsored them, I’m guessing they’re not too bad.

BTW, I’m likely to just two post-game/pre-game shows  per week this year. At least until June. One on Tuesday and another on Thursday. Since Wednesday is primarily reserved for committee meetings, I’ll reference important bills in committee on Tuesday, and will highlight what came out of committee on Thursday.  There are only so many hours, especially in an election year.

Thursday affords me yet another opportunity for a bold prediction. To no one’s surprise, SB 151(Blevins) ,  the Chip Flowers Plain English Bill, will be considered by the Senate. Sen. Blevins has placed an amendment with the bill that would ‘remove(s) the Cash Management Policy Board’s exemption from the Administrative Procedure Act’.  I hope and fully expect that the bill will pass with the amendment added. Over/under on senators voting no: 0.5. Who wants the over? Here’s the Senate Agenda for today.

The House has some serious unfinished business  on its agenda.  Most notably, mathematicians in the House apparently figured out that the easiest compromise between 0 and 2 is 1. Which is the number of voices that state employees will have on the State Employee Benefit Committee should SB 21(Henry) pass with an expected amendment.  I find it interesting that this amendment adds the Lieutenant Governor to the Committee. Anyone know why?

The House is also scheduled to consider SB 55(Townsend)  today. The bill would subject members of the Public Service Commission to financial public disclosure. Any no votes would be a surprise and a disappointment.

Man, these early-in-the-year reports are clean and easy.

I’m done early today. Feel a nap coming on before work…

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  1. SussexWatcher says:

    The gun bill stalling was very disappointing, especially when coupled with Beau’s absence. Is his staff so incompetent that they can’t figure out how to schedule two meetings in one day? Or just schedule the Wilmington one for, say, another day? Everyone knew there was a very narrow window for HB 88 to be revived. That was far more important in the broader picture than Dennis Williams’ last-minute Hail Mary consultants’ plan.

  2. I don’t think it’s about staff incompetence.

    I think it’s about physical incapacity.

    It’s about time we find out whether our AG is, and will be, up to the task of serving as AG and running for reelection.

    Privacy is fine if someone hasn’t said that he plans to run for reelection and then, for all intents and purposes, remains hidden from the public eye from August through January.

    SB 88 had no chance w/o Beau’s involvement. And he wasn’t there.

  3. SussexWatcher says:

    I’d think it was, too, except for the fact he’s been out in public previously – remember the photo of the awful-looking scar?

    On the other hand, he could have taken a turn for the worse. No one knows, and I have a feeling that unless the GA demands his presence, we’re not going to be seeing much of him around Dover this term.

  4. Jason330 says:

    What if Senate Minority Leader Gary Simpson (R-Milford) is right and due to health concerns, Biden isn’t up to being AG? Who would the GOP run for that office? Ferris Wharton? I’m seriously asking.

  5. Recovering Idealist says:

    J. Johnson’s HB 167, Ban the Box made it out of the House Economic Development/ Banking/ Whatever Else committee yesterday with 8 favorable and only 1 unfavorable votes.

  6. FenceSitter says:

    Check out Chipper’s latest FB post: “Treasurer Flowers commends Senate Democratic Leadership for deal to preserve Treasury’s authority and reform Cash Board through Joint Sunset Committee!” Am I missing something?

  7. Gemma says:

    FenceSitter, I think I am perplexed as well. They voted to uphold the Cash Boards power, but yet he sees this as a victory? I don’t get it! They only said they will review the CMB’s parameters in committee.

  8. SussexAnon says:

    Perhaps he didn’t show up because the votes weren’t there. Some politicians don’t show unless its a sure thing.

    Bills are pulled and stalled all the time because they don’t want it to go to a vote and go down in flames.

    If there is evidence that he did not, in fact, attend meetings in Wilimington, we would all love to see it.

  9. puck says:

    Is it so important to you that Chip should be sad? Everybody says the bill simply clarifies existing law, so what’s the big deal?

  10. The Cash Management Board has gone before the Joint Sunset Committee previously. I know, b/c I was the Research Analyst for the committee during one of those periodic reviews.

    So, Chip’s just trying to put the best possible face on this. You can bet that legislators roll their eyes when they hear this stuff.

    Puck: The reason the bill was passed was b/c Flowers ignored the plain English already in the Code. This bill is quite similar to legislation that made clear that the law was the law when it came to the powers of the Sussex County sheriff, not the delusional reading of the law by the Sheriff of Nuttingham.

    A lesser ego would be embarrassed. But Flowers is delusional.

  11. Yo, SussexAnon, there is evidence that Biden wasn’t in Dover to lobby for his pet project. What? The Wilmington meetings ran long? So he just let his signature priority die? Does not compute.

    It’s now up to Biden to demonstrate that he’s currently up to the job . Otherwise, it’s getting pretty damn impossible to ignore his virtual disappearance from public view for months.

    We get press release after press release from his office. Lots more than before he vanished. The PR machine is trying to keep up the impression that he’s working hard on a variety of stuff. Only thing missing is Biden himself.

    I’m a Beau supporter. I think he’s been a really good AG. But he’s announced that he’s running for reelection and he has been invisible since. I think you’ll admit that that’s not like him. No interviews, no public appearances with cameras present. Why?

    My question remains: Is he up to the job, and is he running for reelection? I think he needs to be square with us.

  12. FenceSitter says:

    Puck, you may recall that CF spent the past year arguing that the CMPB was unconstitutional because it infringed the Treasurer’s right to make unilateral investment decisions. He also claimed that right based on an über-strained reading on the CMPB statute. The AG said BS on both points, and CF responded by calling the opinion a “gross misrepresentation of the law” and “shady.” The bill finally shut him up, but I guess he could still argue that the new law, like the old law, is unconstitutional, notwithstanding the AG’s opinion to the contrary. I wouldn’t put it past him. So, he big deal is that he got his ass handed to him and he spins it like a victory. This is well beyond polishing a turd. It’s dishonest.

  13. Ezra Temko says:

    Recovering Idealist, who was the unfavorable vote on HB 167?

  14. Here’s the committee report on HB 167:

    If you eliminate committee members who are sponsors as candidates for the no vote, you’re left with Bennett, Gray, Peterman, Ramone, and Spiegelman. Can’t see Bennett or Ramone voting no, so you’re down to Gray, Peterman, or Spiegelman.