We need more legislative days like yesterday.
Good bills passing all over the place. The Senate passed HB 251(M. Smith) (3 Rethug nos), SB 181(Blevins), SB 185(Townsend)(5 nos, 4 Rethugs and Venables), SB 212(Hall-Long), and SB 219(Hall-Long)(unanimous!).
Every one of these bills is something that progressives can embrace. Both Senators Lopez and Cloutier voted yes on all of these. Check ‘em out for yourself, and I think you can see an emerging progressive consensus in the General Assembly. I want to highlight SB 219.
Here’s the synopsis:
Delaware, like other states, is seeing a dramatic increase in heroin and opioid abuse and as a result is experiencing an increase in the number of people overdosing on these substances. This Legislation will increase the amount of the life-saving drug Naloxone in the community and specifically in the hands of the people most likely to discover someone who has suffered an overdose and who will be able to administer a dose of the medication while waiting for first responders to arrive. This will improve the chances that people who overdose will survive and be connected to treatment programs. Friends and family members of people with addictions to opioids can purchase Naloxone when a prescription is written for the person with the addiction. This Legislation will allow DHSS to create a community-based program that will put Naloxone into the hands of friends, family, and maybe service providers at no or low cost. DHSS will seek grant funding to support a community-based program.
In my mind’s ear, I can hear Senators Tom Sharp and Jim Vaughn and AG Jane Brady not only opposing something like this, but demagoguing those who support it as being ‘soft on drug abuse’. Let’s have a Moment of Silence for willful ignorance. This is progress, and you can’t spell ‘progressive’ without it.
The House passed SB 209(Townsend), which ‘requires the Department of Education to promulgate regulations to further define the meaning and process for consideration of impact in the charter school application review process, to be considered and approved by the State Board no later than its October 2014 meeting. It also clarifies the conditions that an authorizer may place on an approved application, and provides that the State Board of Education may place or modify conditions to address considerations of impact.’. 24 Y; 13 N; 1 NV (Jaques!); 3 A. Here’s the roll call. Not a single House Rethuglican voted for the bill. The bill now goes to the Governor. He’d better sign it.
Today’s Senate Agenda consists of bills left over from yesterday.
And…look what’s back from the dead. That’s right, Val (Longhurst) and her drinkin’ buddies scheme to ‘redevelop’ Fort DuPont. It’s a substitute bill, folks. In order to give this scheme the veneer of respectability, the substitute specifically provides that the so-called ‘Corporation’ will now have 9 members, 5 of whom shall be state officials or their designees.
Guess what, though? Three, count ‘em, three of the nine could actually constitute a majority for voting purposes. How? Here’s how, from the bill:
(d) Five directors shall constitute a quorum of the Board, and all action by the Board shall require the affirmative vote of a majority of the directors present and voting. Hey, maybe if someone is present but not voting, the so-called majority could even be less than three.
Regardless, Al Mascitti made the point real well on his show yesterday. People have been proposing schemes to develop this ‘underdeveloped’ gem from the time that the digging of the C & D Canal was completed. Some time in the early 1820′s, or so. Yet, this sylvan setting has yet to realize successful development in almost 200 years. Does anyone think that Val Longhurst, Dicky Cathcart, Nicole Poore, and their assorted Delaware City drinkin’ buddies have a plan that will benefit anybody but themselves? And that this bill needs to be pushed through the General Assembly in this term’s waning weeks? Cathcart and Longhurst have proven that they can neither be trusted, nor entrusted, with power to implement something like this. By dint of his illegal awarding of no-bid contracts at Delaware State University, Cathcart should be kept away from any huge sum of money and the ability to disburse it. This stinks worse than the refinery, and should be shut down before people get ripped off. BTW, the bill, of course, is in Longhurst’s very own House Administration Committee and is on today’s meeting agenda.
Other House highlights:
I really like this provision in HB 161(B. Short):
Section 7 of this bill precludes a (property and casualty) insurance carrier from refusing to renew a policy based on a combination of claims unless 3 or more claims occur within a 48 month period.
Shit happens, y’know. Insurers are happy to insure you unless they have to pay out claims. I actually wish this provision was stronger, but it’s an improvement for sure.
In today’s House Business Lapdog Committee.
Yet another e-cigarettes bill will be considered in the House Health & Human Development Committee. HB 309(Heffernan) ‘adds e-cigarettes to the Clean Indoor Air Act and would prohibit the operation of e-cigarettes in all public places where smoking is prohibited under current law’. Let me once again ask the question: Is there a second-hand smoke, or second-hand ‘vapor’ issue with e-cigarettes? If so, I get it. If not, why do we need the bill?
OK, here’s the point with HS1/HB 319(Baumbach), which permits home delivery by midwives. Home delivery by midwives is happening and will continue to happen. The bill would make the practice safer. Period. It’s easy for opponents to get off on the tangent of ‘what if something goes wrong?’ The point is that the practice will continue and this bill will make said practice safer and more professional. Also in the House Health & Human Development Committee.
One can only hope that Rep. Rebecca Walker, who is allowing state cops to stonewall death penalty repeal, will be slightly less of a troglodyte today when the House Judiciary Committee considers SB 188(Peterson), which “vests judges with discretion to determine “habitual offender” sentences, rather than the Attorney General’s staff. It also permits some offenders whose sentences were determined by the Attorney General’s Office to be resentenced by judges”. In other words, it removes one of the worst excesses imposed on us by then-AG Jane Brady.
Rep. Keeley’s bill decriminalizing marijuana possession is on today’s House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee agenda. The bill recognizes reality, and will save money/manpower by eliminating wasteful demands on both law enforcement and the court system.
The most notable bill on today’s Senate Committee meeting schedule is, wait for it, SB 220(Bushweller), which provides yet another $20 million annual bailout for the Delaware’s casinos or, more precisely, the casino owners. Who, I might add, are losing money on their ill-advised investments other than the gaming portion of the casinos. The bill even provides an additional $10 mill for the current Fiscal Year which ends on June 30. A complete and utter waste of taxpayers dollars going to entrpreneurs who are richer than anybody reading this. Disgraceful. In today’s Senate Finance Committee, which was party to crafting this terrible deal.
Please let me know what bills you think I’ve unjustly overlooked.
Be back tomorrow…