General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Weds., June 4, 2014

Filed in Delaware by on June 4, 2014

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.

The House devotes its session to committee meetings today.

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 30A 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…

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  1. Mitch Crane says:

    El Som:

    “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.”

    Such protection of consumers already exists. HB 161 extends that protection to 48 months from the current 36 months. It is a good bill.

  2. AQC says:

    I have several questions. How does midwifery become safer and more professional as a result of this bill? It does not require any more training or supervision. I understand midwifery is happening anyway, but that doesn’t make any difference in this legislation. Does anyone on here know the potential outcome of giving Naloxone to someone who is not in opiate overdose. I have concern about a layperson misdiagnosing. And, since electronic cigarettes do have some level of nicotine, at least most do, doesn’t this make sense to be covered under the Clean Air Act?

  3. Atticus says:

    Does SB310 (still)have a provision for the owners of the Delaware City marina to have a “right if first refusal” on the development of a Marina at Fort DuPont? The current owners are
    A) Delaware City Councilwoman Beth Konkus
    B) Her husband Tim, Chair of the Del City ethics committee (snort/chuckle).

    Both can be found on any night of the week hanging out at a Del City bar with Cathcart and Longhurst.

    I guess I am naive. You right into a bill this sort of right for state owned land intended to benefit a specific business that happens to be owned by your pals?

  4. As I read the substitute, the new ‘Fort DuPont Redevelopment and Preservation Corporation’ will be an entity within DNREC. Lest anyone doubt that massive funds will be dumped down this rat hole, this language should disabuse anyone of that notion:

    The General Assembly declares the following to be the policy and purpose of this Act:

    (a) The Fort DuPont Complex, located along the Delaware River adjacent to Delaware City, is currently underutilized but has enormous potential as a sustainable, mixed-use community;

    (b) To preserve and protect the historical and recreational amenities within the Fort DuPont Complex and to expand economic opportunities therein, additional capital will be required to improve infrastructure, renovate certain historic structures, and make additional improvements to said Complex.

    And, the ‘Corporation’ (which would now be a state entity) will have the power:

    (d) To borrow moneys or accept contributions, grants, or other financial assistance from the federal government, the State, any locality or political subdivision, any agency or instrumentality thereof, or any source, public or private, for or in aid of any project of the Corporation, and to these ends, to comply with such conditions and enter into such mortgages, trust indentures, leases, or other contracts and agreements as may be necessary or desirable.

    Looks like Markell has found a successor to Bloom and Fisker…

  5. Aoine says:

    AQC – give NARCAN to someone without an opiate overdose and what happens???

    Nothing happens……

    NARCAN works by intercepting the cellular” Lock and key” reaction. it simply bonds better with the cells that are receptor cells for the opiate and produces the high.

    NARCAN works by inhibiting the opiate from ‘locking’ into the receptor cells –

    however here IS the problem:

    Pt ODs on heroin – unconscious subject…..
    someone gives NARCAN
    pt wakes up (generally pissed off)
    pt is awake for a while then passes out again
    whoops….what happened..

    NARCAN has about 1/2 the life of say heroin
    once the NARCAN wears off the opiate then rejoins the receptor cells

    this administration of NARACN will only save lives if EMS is called and the OD subject gets medical care immediately. I have not read the bill – just answering your direct question.

    I Have seen them get up – generally mad,(best duck) leave the ER AMA and pass out before they have gone half a block.

  6. Aint's Taking it Any More says:

    Millions for the casinos. I’d rather see that money used for toilet paper. Either way it ends used by asses for shit.

    Honestly flabbergasted that something so wrong on some many levels even has legs.

    Gambling is prohibited under Delaware’s constitution – lotteries/horse racing are not. Delaware’s casinos are convenient labeled as video lottery. Hence, the argument goes, because we call it lottery it is not gambling and therefore not inconsistent with the constitution ban against gambling.

    To my knowledge no one has ever challenged the constitutionality of that duplicitous Dullaware way word game. Now would be a very good time to do so.

  7. truefacts says:

    You guys need to wake up and see what has happened in Delaware City. Business is booming. And it is because the leaders of Delaware City finally realize we are not a refinery town. We are a city that is rich in history and beauty. Delaware City is the place to go for a great day trip. I live in this city and could not be prouder of Valerie Longhurst and Dick Cathcart. They are pro business and pro community. I am thankful we have them…. You have some haters out there that claim they know stuff and talk about back room deals but they are just what I said Haters. With nothing to back them up except rumurs and lies…Sad people can not see what good this Fort Dupont Bill will serve. The property houses sex offenders and drug addicts now. Thank you Representive Longhurst for trying to tax this tax burden off the taxpayer and make this property an economic gem as other states have done with old abandoned forts.

  8. Nothing missing from your typical BS, truefacts, but true facts.

    I’m sure someone in Delaware City will fix ya up with a complimentary drink or two.

    Unless you already own the bar.

  9. truefacts says:

    WHAT IS UNTRUE??? what bs about business doing well in Delaware City?.. or that the state houses drug addicts and sex offenders? IF you stop hating Val so much you might want to come down here and see how we have grown in the last few years,Crabby Dicks keeps getting busier they even bought the ice cream parlor and have numerous other investments in Delaware City none of which involved the State or local government,,, The owners even moved here from Rehoboth Beach because they love Delaware City so much, It is a great City to live and work in…You do not do all those investments and have NO BUSINESS not sure if you are smart enough to figure that one out…. This has all been done by private money not the back room deals that you have in your imagination>

  10. truefacts says:

    also if you look and see at Governor Bacon /Fort Dupont you have Gateway a drug rehab, a sex offender house…This is what the state has done to this beautiful waterfront property …. and it costs the taxpayers to keep it…wake up and get over your Hate for Val and Dick. They are really good people and a asset to our town. I live here . DO you?

  11. What is true is that Dick Cathcart has proven he cannot be trusted around state money, which HS1/HB310 will almost certainly provide for. When given the opportunity, he gave no-bid contracts to allies of his from his ‘created just for him’ position at DelState. That is a fact. And he was not exonerated. Tom Wagner, our soon-to-be-ex-Auditor, covered it up for political purposes. He was even publicly quoted as saying, “This doesn’t look good for Dick” before he buried the report that nailed Cathcart. And recommended Cathcart for the Delaware City job. That’s not the behavior of a public official, it’s the behavior of an unindicted co-conspirator.

    Longhurst’s leadership position is also reaching its expiration date b/c she has placed her own ambitions above others.

    I’m sure they’re great drinking buddies, and that you all trade a few laughs and schemes with each other, but they should be kept away from any $$’s associated with this project at all costs. Instead, they’re the ones pushing for it. Along with Nicole Poore.

  12. truefacts says:

    You never said what is untrue….. Business is prospering in Delaware City and the State has neglected Fort Delaware for years which it is now the home of sex offenders and drug addicts… I thank Val and Dick for taking action in getting this away from the State. I live here and do not want this around my children!

    Dick Cathcart town manager was appointed by the Mayor who never spoke to Tom Wagner nor knows him so your “facts” are incorrect … I just spoke to the former Mayor to confirm that!

    you seem to be commenting about them being drunk . Where are you getting this from? Is that what you do attack people personally ? You should really check you facts and wake up these are really good people making a difference in a community!

  13. I never challenged your ‘Chamber of Commerce’ assertions as ‘untrue’. Pointed out precisely what I’ve pointed out all along, that this is being pushed by a cabal of friends, and that at least some of them are unfit to be anywhere near this.

    I will simply also point out that the newspaper proved you wrong two years ago when it comes to Wagner making a phone call on behalf of Cathcart at the same time that he had not yet released his whitewash of him. As to the ‘talking to the former mayor’ stuff, well, I can’t out you on the blog, but you and perhaps only you will understand why I find that claim laughable, and your assertions not to be believed.

    I will also point out that any mayor who hired Cathcart with no reservations whatsoever despite Cathcart’s illegal handing out of no-bid contracts to his buddies is a mayor unfit for public office.

    And, since I’ve not attacked any of the parties as being drunk, and don’t care if they have been (for the record, I’ve certainly enjoyed the occasional adult beverage, sometimes in multiples), I can only laugh at your feeble attempt to change the subject.

  14. truefacts says:

    Oops I never realized that the newspaper is where you get you “facts from” or is it the weatherman?

    You really do not know much about Delaware City… come for a visit you might be sad though when you find out how many supporters Dick and Val have here… you failed to respond that Fort Dupont has currently Drug addict and Sex offenders housed by the state… Shame on Dick and Val for wanting to get rid of that….

    not sure why you would suggest I owned a bar if you do not out people on here…. but it is your blog..

    I guess you have a lot of free time on your hands since VAL fired you from Dover. Maybe thats why you have a agenda to try to make her look bad…. Not going to happen in Good Old Delaware City! I am out out of here for good ! I had my fun playing with you… It really must SUCK to be such a hater…. Peace out

  15. Even in its current state, the newspaper is a better source than, um, you.

    I make no secret of my utter lack of respect for Val, which has now become a close to unanimous verdict of the jury of members and staff of the General Assembly. (Nicole Poore and perhaps Rebecca Walker excluded).

    As to whether she fired me or not, I would be PROUD to number myself among the people who she’s shivved.

    I can see why she’d call someone like you a friend. You both have a lot in common. Duplicity at the top of the list.

    See ya.

  16. Atticus says:

    El Som,
    You are handling “True is what I say it is” quite well without any additional commentary necessary. Except perhaps Tricky-Dick Cathcart went into business with this cretin.

    And you have figured out he ain’t quite right in the head.

    Which of course only further convinces me that since Val decided to align herself so closely with “True” that she is not fit to hold public office.

  17. Atticus says:

    All in due time I can tell the story of how Tricky-Dick got his job. And the shenanigans ever since….