General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Weds., Jan. 18, 2017

Filed in Delaware, Featured by on January 18, 2017

OK, kids, this gets a little tricky.  Yesterday morning dawned with Jack Markell as Governor.  Today, John Carney is Governor.  There are only two weeks until the General Assembly breaks for budget hearings.  Gov. Carney wants to have his cabinet in place by then.  What to do?  Well, last week President Pro-Tem David McBride announced the Executive Committee hearing schedule even though Carney was not yet governor, so he could not ‘officially’ submit names to the Senate for confirmation. Carney, of course, had announced his nominees, just couldn’t send over the paperwork until he was sworn in. McBride decided that the first set of nominees, to be considered today, would consist of holdovers from the Markell Administration plus two nominees who simply couldn’t appear next week.

Here are the nominees to be considered in today’s hearing, which takes place in the Senate Chamber at 3:30 pm:

Jeff Bullock-Secretary of State

Jen Cohan-Transportation

Rich Geisenberger-Finance

Michael Jackson-Office of Management & Budget

Perry Phillips-Commissioner of Corrections

Josette Manning-Children and Youth

Kara Walker-DHSS.

I also have the list of nominees who will be considered next week.  I’ll post them next week.

But the big story, and it could well be a Big Story, is who has not been scheduled, and why.  There’s a reason why there is no scheduled hearing for the Director of the Economic Development Office, and that’s simply because Gov. Carney has not yet made that announcement.  But I can confirm that the reason why no hearing has been scheduled for Labor Secretary Patrice Gilliam-Johnson, who has been renominated by Gov. John Carney, is because at least one Senator is blocking consideration of that nomination.  For those of you who don’t know why this is a big deal, let me lead you through the story.  Ever since Gov. Ruth Ann Minner appointed former Senate President Pro-Tem Tom Sharp to head the Labor Department back in 2005, the department had largely been run by construction trade red asses.  Sharp/Minner/Brainard, as you will recall, chose State Senator ‘Tiny’ Tony DeLuca to head the Division of Labor Law Enforcement. A less qualified candidate you could not have found.  Gov. Markell, when elected, didn’t want to cross the Napoleonic Martinet who, by then, had been elevated (yes, deliberate) to President Pro-Tem. So he chose John McMahon, head of the Delaware Contractors’ Association, to run the Department of Labor. Actually, DeLuca did.

Those of you who know your construction trade history know that the trade unions were, shall we say, insular.  As in ‘if you’re not a white ethnic, you need not apply’. Except, of course, for the Laborers’ Union, which was almost exclusively African American.  It was small wonder (yes, deliberate) that the Department of Labor was where job discrimination cases went to die.  And die they did. Markell could no longer defend the practices of the Department in the wake of civil rights protests and so, just about a year ago, McMahon ‘resigned’:

“The DOL’s Office of Anti-discrimination found that just one of 190 claims of illegal discrimination brought by state employees had merit from 2012 until June 2015.”

The shock is that one was found to have merit. That one must have been really bad.

So, just imagine petit pauvre Tony DeLuca today.  His disgraced tenure under the watchful eye of a Strong Black Woman.  It’s more than any electrician with a high school degree should be forced to endure. Uh, except for the six-figure salary that he still gets paid for not enforcing labor law whenever discrimination is an issue.

But (I think), I digress.  While I’m sure that he’s still pissing in the ear of a senator or two, he doesn’t have that kind of standing any more. No, I think we’re looking for a senator who either has something to gain or something to lose, depending on how the nomination process continues.  Find that senator, and you’ll find the person singlehandedly derailing this nominee.  While I think I know who that Senator is, and while I think I know the blatantly unethical reason why this senator is doing this, I can’t prove it yet.  But I’m working on it.  If you have any information, feel free to share, either publicly or on our tip line.

BTW, the Senate has implemented a couple of pretty good reforms. Specifically, President Pro-Tem David McBride has slashed the number of committees from 23 to 16, and he’s developed a standing committee schedule so that there should be no overlap for senators to attend meetings.  Meaning, if senators don’t show for a committee meeting, it’s because they didn’t show, not because they had a conflict with another meeting.  I like this!

Here is yesterday’s Session (In)Activity Report. Not much I can add to that, other than Rep. Ramone has introduced another stupid bill.

You can find today’s scheduled committee hearings in the left-hand column here.  Committee highlights (at least to me):

*Delaware tries to salvage what it can from its escheat collections.  Senate Banking/Business/Insurance Committee.

*The General Assembly takes a brave stand against pay raises for…themselves.  House Administration Committee.

*‘Prize-linked’ savings accounts for Delaware.  Based on the sponsors, this looks like a good bill, even though I don’t quite understand it.  House Business Lapdog Committee.

*State-funding for K-3 basic special education.  House Education Committee.

*Creating a Board of Massage to crack down on human trafficking.  House Sunset Committee.  I think this is being rushed through.  I encourage the sponsor to contact the AG’s office to see how our omnibus human trafficking legislation is working.  This could be at cross-purposes to it.  Meaning, if law enforcement officers already have the power to do this (I think they do), and if they’re doing it, then what sense does it make to have a board of appointed citizens do law enforcement’s job for them? On the other hand, if the people charged with carrying out what we now have on the books are not carrying it out, then we’ve got a problem.

See ya’ tomorrow!




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  1. Bane says:

    If this stuff about Labor is true El, it would lead me to believe that, at best, there is a vast conspiracy in the highest levels of state government, the legislature, and organized labor to maintain the status quo in the Dept of Labor. And the status quo seems to be racisim.

  2. No, it’s not vast. Keep in mind, the Governor wants Gilliam-Johnson, the vast majority of senators would vote for her. No, it’s one senator with a specific agenda throwing their weight around. Check around for a senator who might benefit from a positive decision from the secretary, and you just MIGHT find the Senator who is blocking this, and you just MIGHT figure out the reason.

  3. Jason330 says:

    “…we’re looking for a senator who either has something to gain or something to lose… Find that senator, and you’ll find the person singlehandedly derailing this nominee. ”

    This is great. Keep pulling on the thread until that Senator is standing nude on the steps of Leg Hall.

  4. Jason330 says:

    The (Prize-linked Savings) PLS is a giant leap forward. Also known as “No Lose Lottery” this addresses the complete rip off of poor people that the lottery system essential is.

    All these people with names on this bill deserve medals: Rep. Matthews & Rep. Keeley & Sen. Cloutier & Sen. Townsend, Reps. Baumbach, Briggs King, Carson, Gray, Q. Johnson, Kowalko, Mitchell, Paradee; Sens. Bushweller, Hocker, Lavelle, McDowell, Richardson, Walsh

  5. I KNEW that bill had to be good.

  6. puck says:

    The example of PLS is say, a bank entering you into a raffle each time you make a deposit. Currently this kind of thing is considered gambling and is subject to gambling regulations. The bill clarifies that PLS is not gambling. So if you don’t win the raffle you still have your money.

    That’s great, but I have a quibble. Lots of people are on on-call schedules. 37 hours this week, 28 hours next week, 32 hours the following week, at the whim of the corporation. You never know if you can make a deposit in any given week. Those people have lower odds in the raffle through no fault of their own.

    So pass the PLS bill but let’s put hourly work scheduling reform on the progressive agenda.

  7. Jason330 says:

    Good point. And also… I was effusive before I read that this was all through banks and Credit Unions. There are probably good reasons for starting off this way, but in time, PLS should also be available EVERYWHERE conventional lottery tickets are sold.

  8. puck says:

    I can imagine PLS abuses: “You are entered in the lottery each time you deposit $500 or more.” Actually that will probably happen and isn’t hard to imagine at all.

    In the 1970s banks used to give away stuff for each deposit. My father had his own business and would get paid in full for each contract, which would be a pretty big check. His bank was giving away a piece of dinnerware for each deposit over a certain amount. So my mom split up the money into multiple deposits, and eventually collected the whole set of china. It was pretty good stuff too – I still have it.

  9. puck says:

    Banks don’t need your deposit money since the Fed started giving it to them for free. I guess the credit unions aren’t in line for the free Fed money (are they?), so they still need to attract deposits.