General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Thursday, March 20, 2014

Filed in Delaware by on March 20, 2014

Great news, Monster Chicken Truck fans! The Senate unanimously passed SB 160(Venables), which will enable monster trucks stuffed to the, um, chicken wire with feathers and chicken poop to ride Delaware’s roads. To the tune of 97,200 pounds of wings, breasts, legs, thighs, giblets and all the rest. Including the truck, no doubt equipped with state-of-the-art features as we know those trucks surely are.

The House passed several non-controversial bills. Here is Tuesday’s Session Report.  Gotta point out how far a few Rethugs will go to pander to those who want to stomp on the rights of manufactured community residents, though. Even when it’s just for show. HB 233(Baumbach) merely eliminates language from the Code that has been non-germane since 2006. This bill is so innocuous that even the residents’ mortal enemy Ruth Briggs King was on the bill as a co-sponsor. Let the record show, though, that four R’s want to avoid even the appearance of being reasonable. They are Debbie Hudson, Harvey Kenton, Dan Short and David Wilson.  Hope they’re happy.

The agendas feature slim pickins’. Oops, looks like a glitch in the software. Went to click on the only item on today’s Senate Agenda, clicked on this link, and look what came up? The minimum wage bill.  Well, the bill deals with educator evaluations. I’m not an education expert (John Young does coffee spit-take), but the bill is sponsored by Sen. Sokola and Rep. Scott, two of my favorite legislators, but apparently sworn enemies of some education experts. I’ll leave it to said experts to explain how this bill will further consign the youth of our state to the pits of Hell.

Couldn’t find much of interest on today’s House Agenda, either. HB 209(Jaques) “aligns the filing requirements for major and minor parties and harmonizes the deadlines for party affiliation changes.” I like the word ‘harmonizes’ in a bill synopsis. Can ‘euphonious’ be far behind? C’mon, Honorables, show some creativity.  We’ve got another education bill sponsored by Scott and Sokola, but the co-sponsors listed suggest that they have, at least for once, abandoned their ‘consigning children to the pits of Hell’ ways.

Here we have yet another attempt to keep ‘work papers’ confidential. Looks like it’s headed for unanimous passage. Which is how it passed the Senate. In this case, we’re talking work papers of the Insurance Commissioner’s Office. I, for one, would have liked to have seen those papers. If, for no other reason, than to see if Karen Weldin Stewart can color between the lines. The referenced work papers deal with company examinations. Here’s the language:

…with respect to company examinations, clarifies that the Insurance Department’s analysis workpapers are confidential and are not subject to disclosure except as set forth in the statute.

I’m sure there’s justification in doing this. Proprietary information and all that. I’m almost equally sure that this language will enable officials to bury perhaps damning information that the public should really know. And won’t know until it’s too late.

I was heartened to see legislators expressing skepticism on a proposal to give $20 million this year to ease financial burdens on casinos. As Rep. Dennis E. Williams pointed out, the casinos will keep coming back year after year. Which raises the question, why should taxpayers bail out a wheeler dealer like Denis McGlynn for making bad business decisions:

Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of Dover Downs Gaming and Entertainment and Dover Motorsports Inc., said not receiving any money from the state would spell disaster for casinos, leading to potential layoffs, shutdowns of certain operations and a cutback on marketing.

Layoffs, loss of gaming options and a cutback in marketing ultimately would cost the state much more in lost revenue than what they would be shelling out in the current proposal, he said.

The casino’s bank loan expires on June 17, and the bank is watching the state’s decision, he said. If the bank loan is not renewed, McGlynn said they’d have to shop around with other banks, something that probably won’t work out in the casino’s favor given its finances, he said.

We gave McGlynn and his, wait for it, ilk, every break in the book. And now we’ve gotta bail his ass out because his loan is under water? Hey, Denis, how about moving some of your other assets around to cover this? The Delaware General Assembly should simply stop giving away money to these blackmailers. Which is what and who they are.  We’re talking about some of the state’s primo real estate. I have every confidence that somebody can actually make real money in Dover and/or at the Delaware Park site. Let ’em come in and try.

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  1. Steve Newton says:

    Truck bill “to accommodate the poultry industry”; didn’t we accommodate them enough with several million in subsidies 2009-2012?

    Senate education bill primarily cleans up a piece of grammar.

    HB 209: you have to wonder what Rep. Jaques is doing (A) specifying how many days after a State convention that minor parties have to file their candidates when they also have a 1 August deadline for having all candidates filed; and (B) what particularly is the justification for the General Assembly to mandate nomination rules for political party conventions? [line g]

    SB 43/SA 1 is a fairly blatant attempt not to protect the proprietary information of insurance companies but to protect KWS against the citizens of Delaware understanding exactly the extent to which she has signed off on allowing Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and United Healthcare (Medicaid insurer) to screw policy holders in Delaware.

    No bail-outs for “too big to fail” casinos. Let’s see–$8 million last year, $20 million this year, $20 million next year–and Dennis McGlynn personally making a reported salary (don’t know about options) above $700K for running them into the ground!?

  2. meatball says:

    A thought on chicken trucks….. The trucks are already packed to the gills, I suspect that average chicken weights have increased and that the trucks are already carrying weight above the previous limit. Raising the limit continues to allow a single truck to carry 5000-6000 heavier birds a relatively short distance from chicken house to slaughter, saving diesel while maintaining fewer trucks on the road. I think it is actually a good piece of legislation when everybody benefits.

  3. Jason330 says:

    Just give me my $1.00 chicken sandwich, and don’t trouble me with all of the downstream costs.

  4. meatball says:

    Which additional costs, pollution or traffic?

  5. Steve Newton says:

    Let’s see . . . “average chicken weights have increased” . . . great, more growth hormones in the meat . . . “trucks are already carrying weight above the limit” . . . they’re not obeying the law now, so let’s change the law to accommodate them . . .
    “saving diesel” . . . that would be an interesting point if you had the slightest bit of evidence for it . . .

    . . . and besides, why should the owners of the heaviest vehicles on the road not be asked to pay user fees that account for their physical impact on the roads . . . especially when we already subsidize their businesses . . . ??

  6. meatball says:

    All chickens raised in the US for human consumption are hormone free and hormones have been banned in the US poultry industry since the 50’s.

    So fine them for the excessive weight if you want to Steve. This is done all the time, ever try to drive the limit on I-95? And naturally if you are using two trucks to transport the same weight as one you aren’t saving diesel. Maybe we could set up a high speed chicken rail.

    I’m in favor of ending all subsidies to Big Ag, and others. Perhaps when elected you could introduce legislation to extract a chicken tax on producers say, 10 cents per beak or 5 cents per leg.

    I do think it is funny that the bill stipulates 100 miles. Can you drive 100 miles point to point in Delaware?

  7. Will says:

    The real joke of HB209 is that is “aligns” nothing. It doesn’t even touch Chapter 31, governing the incumbent parties’ taxpayer funded primary elections. It only tinkers with Chapter 33, governing alternative parties. A more accurate synopsis would have been, “Screws with the election laws for anyone daring to challenge our monopoly.”

  8. John Young says:

    It adds an insane notion that a charter, district or vo-tech could write their own evaluation for educators and that the DOE could approved it if it meets their undefined sensibilities. Literally, it’s that vague.

    It appears harmless, until they start letting the charters get special evaluations approved and keep shitting on districts. But that will never happen, just like TFA, the charter “performance fund”, charters with exclusive special interest and radii rules, 3 tests administered 6 ways in 4 years, or bonuses for teachers based on student test scores given after the fact and sold as attraction bonuses…you get the picture.

    That what Sokola and Scott’s bills generally do: shit on districts.

    Now, I have to go get that coffee stain out.

  9. bamboozer says:

    Summing it all up: The general assembly remains corrupt and the servant of special interests, the casinos that “bailed out” horse racing have become an expensive burden and The Delaware Way remains intact. Oh the joys of spring in Delaware.