Delaware General Assembly Pre-Game Show: Weds., March 15, 2017

Filed in Delaware, Featured by on March 15, 2017

So many questions.

Will John Carney propose a budget before or after his Endless Coffee Klatch Tour?  It now extends into late April. The tour, that is.

What, if any, proposals will members of the General Assembly introduce to close the $350 million budget gap?

Will Jellyfish John permit Sen. Nicole Poore to singlehandedly end the term of Patrice Gilliam-Johnson as Secretary of Labor?  Will it mean that Tiny Tony no longer has to commute to the Wilmington main office instead of his Pencader love-nest?  Will Jellyfish John consider it more worthwhile to keep these two ethically-bankrupt scam artists on his side rather than to put an end to the rampant racism that had been practiced in DOL? Uh, John, this is a test of leadership that even you can pass. So renominate her and push for her confirmation. Or, if you’re not up to even this task, ask yourself if you have what it takes to be Governor.

Will Senate Rethugs stick by their claims that Sean Garvin is too pro-environment for Delaware? Signs point to yes. Not that it will matter.  Garvin will likely be confirmed today as DNREC Secretary. Yes, Greg Lavelle  continues to prove that he is the most partisan of Rethug political hacks.  Somebody run against this guy.

Will anyone try to remove additional funding from the state to the Fort DuPont boondoggle?

Will what passes for Senate leadership place the public interest over the blatant self interest of Nicole Poore?  Meaning either relieve her of her Executive Committee position or remove her from Joint Finance Committee? Or defund her worthless ‘private’ agency? Those are rhetorical questions.  Of course they won’t.

There are many more questions.  But you come here for information.  So let me informate you.

Let’s start with newly-minted Senator Stephanie Hansen’s senate committee assignments:

Chair: Transportation

Member: Agriculture; Environmental, Natural Resources, & Energy; Health, Children & Social Services; Sunset.

Good choices for the district she represents, IMHO.

BTW, time for a trivia quiz:  Stephanie Hansen is the third previous County Council President to subsequently get elected to the General Assembly.  Who were the other two? No cheating.

It’s House Committee Day and here is the complete list of today’s scheduled House meetings.  Bills that strike my interest:

HB 39 and HB 40 (both sponsored by Rep. Lynn): Both bills attempt to ensure a continuum of services for those aging out of services provided by the Kids’ Department, especially as it pertains to those requiring adult mental or behavioral health services.  Judiciary Committee.

Wow,  a good voting bill from an R. HB 47 (Yearick)  ‘removes the notary requirement for requests for absentee ballots. Delaware is the only state that requires a notary to authorize a voter’s affidavit for an absentee ballot. In some cases, the potential voter may have to pay for the notary and Delaware essentially charges them to vote.’  Good, and about time. House Administration Committee.

HB 14 (Lynn) requires that motorcyclists wear helmets. Right now, they must have a helmet, but aren’t required to wear them, which was someone’s idea of a ‘compromise’ years ago. I’ll always remember the bikers’ slogan from the ’80’s: “Let those who ride decide.”  Public Safety & Homeland Security.

HB 50 (Jacques) seeks to ensure that every public school in the State has a school nurse. This Act provides a mechanism to allow a district or a charter school that currently does not have a school nurse to receive state funds. This Act also permits a district to levy a tax under § 1902(b), Title 14, known as a “match tax”, to assist those districts that hire a school nurse as a result of this Act to pay for the local share of that school nurse’.  Education.

HB 13 (Potter)  is perhaps Jason330’s least favorite bill of the year so far.  Cold heartless Jason would persecute pit bulls just because they are pit bulls.  Memo to Jason:  It’s been 10 years since that pit bull bit your leg off. Get OVER it. This bill ‘clarifies that dogs may not be held potentially dangerous or dangerous for animal control enforcement or for purposes of criminal liability based solely on breed-specific criteria.’  Hey, if nothing else, this bill will enable Patti Blevins to visit her former colleagues.  And to put in for mileage. Health & Human Development.

I’m a big fan of HB 11 (Bentz). The bill ‘removes the prohibition against receipt of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families…funds by persons convicted of a drug felony, so long as that person is otherwise eligible for TANF assistance’.  Here’s why I like the bill:

Under existing law, individuals convicted of any state or federal drug felony, including possession of marijuana (which can be a felony under federal law), are ineligible for TANF for life. Although the children of a parent convicted of a drug crime can still receive assistance, the family’s overall award is significantly reduced, and in practice this affects the well-being of families and children.

This bill is not a slam dunk, especially with no R co-sponsors.  If you support this bill, it’s definitely worth a phone call or visit. Health & Human Development. Here is the list of committee members.

I also like HB 58 (K. Williams), which eliminates governmental obstacles to solar installation.  The bill ‘makes covenants or other restrictions that effectively prohibit or unreasonably restrict the installation of solar photovoltaic systems in Delaware void and unenforceable’.  Natural Resources.

There is no scheduled Senate Agenda for today.  Let’s scan the committee meetings, shall we?

Well, there’s a joint meeting of the Senate and House Social Services Committees to hear from DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom WalkerSenate Chamber at 1 pm.  If I were in Dover, that’s the one meeting I’d attend.

When times are tough, it’s always a challenge to get new programs off the ground. One legislative tactic is to create a ‘pilot program’, something small-scale that, if successful, can be applied on a broader scale at a later date.  SB 19 (McDowell), which is in the Education Committee, does just that.  From the synopsis:

Some students from disadvantaged backgrounds arrive at school lacking the same vocabulary and word recognition skills of their peers, putting them at a disadvantage when developing literacy skills in primary grades. In analyzing this disparity, studies have shown that the third grade is a critical turning point in educational development and that students who are not preforming at grade level by this point will continue to fall behind their peers at an increasingly rapid pace. This Act will seek to diminish this performance gap by creating a 3-year pilot program for disadvantaged students in primary grades in Delaware public schools. The State will provide $1 million in grant funding per year, over a 3-year period, to support the pilot program.

You see that $1 mill a year for three years? You know what gets more than $1 mill in grant funding each year? Nicole Poore’s Jobs for Delaware Graduates.  Sounds like a fair trade-off to me.

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  1. jason330 says:

    I like Sean Lynn, so I don’t like his taking on the thankless task of trying to legislate nitwits out of being nitwits. Let those who ride allow Darwin to decide.

  2. liberalgeek says:

    I’ll guess Kovach and Karen Peterson (although I don’t quite remember if she was president)

  3. Alby says:

    Let the record show that the only job a NCCo council person can expect to move up to is U.S. Senate.

  4. mediawatch says:

    … and that occurs once every 38 years, when a witch invades the Republican Party.

  5. Alby says:

    Somehow I don’t see Karen Hartley-Nagle making that leap.

  6. mediawatch says:

    Don’t rule it out. In her current position, she has already defied the Peter Principle.

  7. chris says:

    Wasn’t Phil Cloutier a New Castle County president? He served in House before he passed away.

  8. Chris is correct. The answer is: Karen Peterson and Phil Cloutier.

    If memory serves, Tom Kovach had been a legislator who subsequently ran for countywide office.

  9. liberalgeek says:

    Ah, yes. I had it backwards.

    Win special election to become Rep. Lose in November
    Win special election to become council president. Lose in November.

    Poor Tom.