Delaware General Assembly Pre-Game Show: Tues., April 29, 2014

Filed in Delaware by on April 29, 2014

‘Money, That’s What I Want’: Barrett Strong

That’s what the Governor wants, that’s what the General Assembly wants, and that’s what they will talk about. I don’t know what kind of negotiations went on over the Easter break, but state government is facing a budget shortfall, largely due to revenue from ‘abandoned property’ (escheats) coming in lower than projected. BTW, you can’t spell ‘escheats’ with out ‘cheats’.  If you think you’ve started to notice a pattern of how much of our budget is built on gimmickry, you are not imagining things. Especially when an alternative is to make the wealthy pay their fair share.

Not to mention that we’ve seen no movement on either the gas tax or proposed water assessment. Unless you count the Rethugs’ putting up signs reading ‘No New Gas Taxes’ all over the New Castle County landscape. Might I suggest perhaps a more constructive project for Rethugs with time on their hands? Maybe fix bridges or fill potholes? You know, the types of repairs that will not be done if Dover denizens do not come to their respective senses? For the umpteenth time:

Governor: Stop talking about castor oil. Start talking about the jobs this would create and the projects that would get done. Then go out there and sell it. If it’s not too late.

Democrats (and whatever Valerie Longhurst passes for this week): Do the same bleeping thing. You do want to create jobs, don’t you? If so, govern like Democrats. If  you can’t sell jobs and bridges that won’t fall down, get outta town.

Rethugs: It’s mind over matter. Never mind, you don’t matter.

OK, end of screed. For now.

Today’s Senate Agenda is not real intriguing. I should point out, however,  that SB 171(Peterson) cleans up some technical issues that arose with the passage of legislation that made it much easier for members of the general public to read and understand legislation. Peterson’s work on that issue deserves credit. Prior to the addition of strikethrough and underline, it was virtually impossible to know what many bills actually did. Which was just what the special interests pushing such legislation wanted.

Ladeez and gentlemen, a visual demonstration. Language that is currently in the Code that would be eliminated by the legislation is now struck through like this. Language that would be added to the Code is underlined like this. Language in the Code that would remain in the Code looks like this. No change. In other words, this type of bill-drafting provides something that has long been needed: Context.

This is not insider stuff, this is good government. It took a long time to get this legislation enacted as the General Assembly system had been capable of drafting bills this way for some time. Most other states had long since drafted bills this way. Some people just didn’t want it to happen. Just one more reason why Karen Peterson is a great legislator.

Much more action on the House side. The House Agenda features HB 170(Rep. D. E. Williams)  establishes an additional required reporting period for political campaign committees. June 30, to be exact. My reaction? Meh. Not opposed to it, but I don’t really buy the ‘transparency’ argument. There are several bills purporting to address campaign finance reform. This is one of them, nothing more, nothing less. Campaign brochure fodder.

Rep. Valerie Longhurst apparently has a solution to the issue of deteriorating roads and bridges (she’s adamantly opposed to any gas tax increase): Have everyone ride bicycles. In lieu of serious legislation, Longhurst is prime sponsor of HB 235, which would designate “bicycling as the official sport for the State of Delaware”.  The mind reels at the vision of Spandex-clad politicians celebrating our state’s new official sport. Just what kind of reinforced bicycle will they build for Colin Bonini, and will any state funds be involved?

I doubt that HB 237(Brady) has much import, but ya gotta love a synopsis that includes the following:  “The definition of “gore area” stems from the U.S. Department of Transportation Manual on Uniform Traffic Devices.” Which brings me to:

Gore! Gore! Gore!

Neither you nor I have any idea what might wind up in one of these recaps until it’s finished. Hey, I just can’t shake some pharmacological vestiges from the ’60’s…

Well. This week’s committee meetings deserve a preview all their own. Which you’ll get tomorrow.

Until then, there’s always today’s Al Mascitti Show, featuring Yours Truly. 10 am to 12 noon. Right here.

BTW, until I wrote this final sentence, this article’s word count was 666, which brings me to:

‘Friend of the Devil’: The Grateful Dead.


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  1. Ezra Temko says:

    Today at legislative hall Delaware for Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation will be lobbying for death penalty repeal.

    Also there will be a press conference in support of redistricting reform ahead of tomorrow’s committee vote. Senate Bill 48 has widespread support among the public and community organizations.
    More information on the press conference:
    More information on the bill:

  2. Andy says:

    Love the facebook comments from Ms Longhurst crying about riding into the wind on her government funded paved bike road to nowhere while she allowed bus fares to go up on those that can least afford it

  3. John Manifold says:

    Big vote on Wednesady on same-day registration [HB 105] by Senate Administrative Services/Elections Committee.

    Committee members are receiving heavy Astroturfing against the bill. Important to make contact and encourage them to do the right thing:

    Margaret Rose Henry
    Patty Blevins
    Cathy Cloutier
    Gerald Hocker
    Nicole Poore
    Dave Sokola

  4. Steve Newton says:

    Tomorrow Representative Paul Baumbach will be introducing a bill that effectively re-legalizes Certified Professional Midwives in Delaware to attend women who prefer to have home birth.

    In 2002 the GA made it functionally illegal for any woman except the Amish or Mennonites to do so, and last year’s HB 194 upped the penalties on midwives who ignored the law. Paul’s bill is the result of months of hard work behind the scenes and with the DPH task force on non-nurse midwives (on which I also sat), and will (A) eliminate the “collaborative agreement” clause from the law that has prevented midwives from practicing without an OB/gyn effectively assuming liability responsibility for her (something they obviously didn’t want to do); (B) will create a board of midwives to define best practices and standards; and (C) open the way for midwives to get their own malpractice insurance (which wasn’t possible before).

    (Midwives, if you are interested, are expressly covered in the ACA, and to date Delaware has had among the most restrictive laws against them of any state in the nation. Massachusetts allows far more scope of practice than Delaware ever did, and California also just eliminated the collaborative agreement.)

    In 2000, one out of twenty-five babies in Kent County was born at home (four times the national average), and about 1.5% of all babies in DE. Multiple prestigious studies in the US, Canada, and Europe have consistently shown that home birth for low to moderate risk pregnancies is at least as safe (and often safer) than hospital birth; the board of midwives will determine the line at which a pregnancy becomes too high-risk for home birth (but midwives themselves have always been traditionally very careful about this).

    There is a “day of action” at Leg Hall tomorrow from 1-4 for supporters, and we’re asking that everyone who believes that–whether you’d personally do it or not–safe home birth should be an option for Delaware women, either write or call their legislator to get them to sign on to the bill as a co-sponsor (it won’t have a number until Thursday).

    Finally, I need to credit Paul with an incredible amount of work on this one. Along with activists like Jennifer Antonik and midwives like Susan DiNatale, Paul has put in countless hours to get this to this point, and was quite willing to play hardball when necessary. Paul and I will never agree on many of political issues, but I consider him to be one of the most quietly effective legislators in the General Assembly, I want him to get the credit that is due for this initiative, and to say publicly that this Libertarian is proud to call that progressive Democrat his friend.

  5. Ezra Temko says:

    As John mentioned, the Senate Elections Committee has a hearing on HB 105, Same Day Registration, at 2:30pm today.

    Also at 2:30pm, the House Administration Committee has a hearing on Senate Bill 48, redistricting reform

    And Senate Bill 188, Senator Karen Peterson’s criminal justice reform bill, is before the Senate Judiciary Committee at 2pm. You can read about that bill at the bottom of this article: