Delaware General Assembly Pre-Game Show: Jan. 23, 2018

Filed in Delaware, Featured by on January 23, 2018

If you’re looking for quality day-to-day coverage of the General Assembly, Matt Bittle of the Delaware State News is doing the best job in Delaware. What a revolutionary idea for a paper–have someone cover the legislature as a beat.  Get to know the issues and the people who populate Leg Hall. Report on what you find out.

In fact, Bittle recently wrote about a (welcome) change in Senate procedure.  President Pro-Tem Dave McBride announced last week that he will post upcoming Senate for the entire week in advance instead of just proceeding from day to day.  And he followed through.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  I just like a reporter who–reports.

Oh, and from the same Bittle report, this:

House leadership on Friday announced the filing of a new sexual harassment policy designed to ensure any complaints of sexual misconduct against representatives are thoroughly investigated.

“We are simply doing the right thing by putting these rules into place,” House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, said in a statement. “I am committed to providing a safe and respectful work environment so that any person who walks through the doors of Legislative Hall feels comfortable and protected. Our goal is to have this new rule considered by the House by the end of the month.

Great. All for it. Now the only thing that stands in the way of having a safe and respectful work environment in the House is the constant fear of having Pete and/or Val fire you for no reason whatsoever.  Because, you see, the General Assembly exempts itself from Merit System requirements.  And Pete and/or Val are not to be crossed.

We start on the Senate side and, well, lookee here, a defeated bill has returned from the past. Right at the top of today’s agenda. SB 113(McDowell)  ‘authorizes the creation of a Delaware Voluntary Property Assessed Clean Energy (D-PACE) program to establish a clean energy financing program for the installation of energy efficiency technologies and clean energy systems for qualifying commercial real properties statewide’.  Here is likely the reason the bill failed to pass the Senate the first time around:

The bill calls upon the Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU) to administer the program and establish a statewide financing program to aid counties in expanding clean energy projects in their jurisdictions.

It is close to impossible to consider anything involving the SEU without considering the mismanagement within the SEU and Sen. McDowell’s involvement with the SEU.  The bill only got 8 yes votes in the Senate, with the roll call being subsequently rescinded back in June of 2017.  We’ll see if the landscape has changed since then.

The remainder of the agenda consists of House bills, including some updates providing protections for long-term care residents.  Two of those bills are substantive and, IMHO, excellent.  HB 195(Bentz)  effectively extends more protections to those who are receiving long-term care at home.  HB 208(Bentz)  ‘strengthens the Division’s ability to protect Delawareans receiving long term, acute, or outpatient health care’. The bill specifically ‘adds the ability of the Division to request and receive EMS records when performing an investigation that involves a transfer of a consumer, resident, or patient from one care setting to another’.

Bentz and joint prime sponsor Sen. Bryan Townsend are doing serious work building on the nursing home reforms that were marshaled through the General Assembly by Sen. Bob Marshall back in the early 2000’s. I don’t think Rep. Bentz gets the attention he deserves, but he is a serious legislator.

Earl Jaques’ ‘Every School Is A Fortress’ bill  is back at the top of today’s House Agenda.  Should be an intriguing debate.  I’m off today, might just listen.

OK, kids, now here’s an interesting bill. Every January, you get legislation making certain adjustments to the ‘money’ bills, meaning the Budget Bill and the Bond Bill.  Reading through the catch-all adjusted Bond Bill, I found a couple of items of interest, at least to me.

1. Are American Legion Post #14, Del Vets Post #2, and the Modern Maturity Center public entities?  If not, why are public funds being expended to pave their parking lots? I have nothing against any of these three organizations, but, if we’re gonna spend $153,000 to pave their parking lots, where will it stop? Can someone please explain why this is not a misuse of public funds?

2. Why is Sheep Pen Road in Millsboro being protected?  I know a special-interest provision when I see one. Betcha that you do as well:

  1. The Department of Transportation may not vacate Sheep Pen Road in Millsboro and must keep the roadway in the state highway system.

In other words, DELDOT planned to vacate this road and somebody in Dover intervened.

3. Why is the Riverfront Development Corporation getting $2 mill for what appears to be a transportation project?

Read this and explain to me why these funds are bring transferred instead of being done by state agencies:

The Department of Transportation may transfer funds, not to exceed $2,000,000, to the Riverfront Development Corporation for the purposes of constructing the improvements needed for the Garashes “L” project, in order to support economic development initiatives in the  south Wilmington area along US 13. The Garashes “L” project consists of the realignment of the roadway,  sidewalk connections, drainage, and environmental remediation.

Those sound like typical DELDOT functions to me.  Why give $2 mill to the RDC?

That should whet your appetite for today. Back tomorrow with committee previews.


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  1. Alby says:

    Bittle also posted a story yesterday on the introduction of SB 144, the casino relief bill, which would cut the state’s take by $21 million, or roughly 10%.

    Fans of Dover Downs CEO Denis McGlynn, the sommelier of whining, were not disappointed.

    “This isn’t what free enterprise is supposed to be about,” President and CEO Denis McGlynn said of the casinos keeping less than half of their revenue. Through the first nine months of 2017, Dover Downs had lost $289,000, he noted.

    Free enterprise. Righto. And you paid how much for your license to gamble to the state government that protects your monopolistic, addiction-based business model? “Free” enterprise indeed.

  2. jason330 says:

    “Through the first nine months of 2017, Dover Downs had lost $289,000, he noted.”

    …but executive pay is up 12% versus last year. And 25% in the past three years.

    He left off that part.

  3. Bane says:

    Those are for a South Market Street project in Wilmington to assist in the RDC in connecting the Riverfront to Rt 13. They probably are just giving the money to the RDC so that they can make improvements on their own property to support the project