Delaware General Assembly Pre-Game Show: Tues., March 6, 2018

Filed in Delaware, Featured by on March 6, 2018

On Feb. 14, 17 people were killed and many more were injured in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland, Florida. The weapon of destruction was an assault weapon known as the AR-15.

On Friday, Feb. 23, Delaware governor John Carney called for a ban on assault weapon sales in Delaware:

“Military-style weapons can be used to carry out catastrophic acts of violence,” he said in a release issued Friday morning. “It’s past time to take serious action to confront this threat.”

On Tuesday, March 6 (today), the General Assembly reconvenes.

On Saturday, March 24, there will be a March For Our Lives rally in Washington, DC, and other marches all over the country.

You see where I’m going here, right?  John Carney has said the right thing.  The momentum to accomplish this assault weapons ban will likely never be greater.  Failure to push this legislation through the General Assembly during these marches would define the term ‘political malpractice’.  Only one problem. As of now, there is no bill. Yes, there are other gun control measures to be considered.  But this is the Big Enchilada. John: Don’t get bogged down in the details that opponents will insist upon. Their goal is to slow-walk this initiative and to water it down and to kill it.  We’ve seen it in Delaware and throughout the country over and over again.  Now is the time for decisive leadership.  Introduce the bill, use your staff to coordinate with all of the student leaders who would rally in Dover on its behalf, and insist that legislators look these students in the eyes before voting.  It’s easy. That is, if you’re really determined to accomplish this.  This is legacy legislation, something for which you’ll be remembered. This is the moment.  Don’t hesitate. Advocate and legislate.

As chronicled in the Delaware State News, bills banning bump stocks, keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally-ill, and raising the age for those who can buy guns from 18 to 21 are already in the legislative mill.  The bump stocks bill is already out of committee and could be considered in the House this week.  Memo to Rep. Longhurst: Do not negotiate with the NRA or the Delaware Sportsman’s Association.  You did that before and ended up with emasculated legislation.  If you’re not up to the task, have someone with guts run the bill.  These organizations are not honest brokers and should not be treated as such.  Their scorched earth tactics should not be rewarded by ‘reaching across the aisle’.   There are two bills addressing the issue of guns and the mentally-ill. I linked to the good one.  Andria Bennett and NRA lackey Sen. Delcollo are sponsoring the other one.  No surprise there.

As to legalized pot, looks like that possibility is going up in smoke.  Kids, we’ve addressed this issue before. If you’re gonna put a task force together, make sure that you’ve got enough of your supporters on the task force to achieve your desired result.  The composition of this task force ensured that the result would be no consensus whatsoever.  Hey, the Chamber knows how to do it.  They go to the governor and their pals in the General Assembly, arrange for a task force, negotiate the membership, and voila, they get rid of the Estate Tax and they arrange giveaways to business that don’t see the light of day.  Helene Keeley was simply the wrong person to lead this effort.  With (to steal a term from Mark Brainard) a ‘giant enema’ coming to the General Assembly this November, look for 2019 to be more, um, productive than 2018 on this, and other, issues.  2018 could well be ‘The Laxative Election’.

Today’s House Agenda is highlighted by a piece of ‘transparency’ legislation.  HB 92 (K. Williams):

…provides that every member of the General Assembly or person elected to state office shall disclose as part of their financial disclosure if they have received more than $10,000 in the last 10 years due to the sale of land, development rights, an agricultural conservation easement, a forest preservation easement or any other type of easement to the State of Delaware, any county, any municipality, any public instrumentality, or any government agency or organization.

Hard to imagine any no votes on this one, but we’ll see. Hope the bill is retroactive in terms of requiring disclosure.

Don’t see much of interest on today’s Senate Agenda.  Looks like we’ll finally get a vote on a minimum wage increase on Thursday. If it passes, perhaps Bryon Short, unencumbered of the need to bank a lot of Chamber money, will see his way clear to vote the bill out of his House Lapdog Committee. Or, more likely, Andria Bennett may be looking over her shoulder at a primary challenger from a real Democrat, meaning she just might vote on behalf of her constituents.

I’ll be back tomorrow with previews of committee meetings, including two key gun bills in the House Administration Committee.


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  1. jason330 says:

    “Now is the time for decisive leadership.”

    Does anyone think this is happening?

  2. Just trying to buck up his courage. He can do this.

  3. BTW, here is the bill that would lower the legal blood alcohol content while driving from .08% to .05%:

    I, for one, think that that’s too low. Although my mind could conceivably changed if/when proponents of the bill demonstrate how many incidents were caused by those who were between the .05 and .08 limit. Absent that, there is nothing approaching empirical evidence that this bill will make a difference.

  4. Alby says:

    This is actually sweeping the nation. The NTSB has recommended it for all states.

    I didn’t look for more than a minute and found this: “Four fatal crashes occurred in 2016 [in Utah, which lowered to .05] when the drivers were at a BAC level between 0.01 and 0.07.”

  5. Utah? Where alcohol is, to put it mildly, discouraged? I’d like to see results from any state BUT Utah.

    The fact that something is sweeping the nation doesn’t make it right or, more to the point, effective.

    For example, DELDOT traffic engineers will tell you that when a speed limit is lowered to the point that drivers feel it is unreasonable, you get more speeding over the previous speed limit. The change essentially creates scofflaws.

    When you lower the BAC to the point where a second glass of wine COULD put you over the legal limit, who is to say that the same result might not occur? To me, it doesn’t pass the reasonableness standard unless you can prove it and sell it to the public.

    I say this as someone who Ubers to a restaurant just to be on the safe side.

  6. Alby says:

    “On May 14, 2013, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that all 50 states lower the benchmark for determining when a driver is legally drunk from 0.08 blood-alcohol content to 0.05. ”

    That’s from Wikipedia.

    I have no opinion on the subject.

    The evidence was anecdotal, but the opinion of Utahns towards alcohol doesn’t make it non-factual.

    My point was that similar bills are being introduced in several of the states. It’s too many links to post.

  7. I understand that they recommended it. I want evidence demonstrating the efficacy of such a change.

    Look at it from the other end. Perhaps you’ve had two glasses of wine. You’re driving yourself home. You figure you’re already over the .05. You still have to drive home and you feel fine. You say ‘fuck it’ and have a couple more glasses of wine. You still feel fine, but you’re drunker than you were before.

    I wonder if the NTSB is holding out the stick that federal funds could be withheld if states don’t comply. Pretty sure that’s what they did when they pushed for the .08.

  8. Alby says:

    It doesn’t seem like a priority at the national level. That directive is a few years old and it hasn’t happened so far. As you noted, Utah’s inclinations made it an early adopter, so that’s where data on the experiment is going to come from.

  9. Andy says:

    Why lower the blood alcohol level?
    The present law isn’t enforced now
    How manv cases have we had if people being busted of their 5th plus DUI?

  10. SussexWatcher says:

    “The present law isn’t enforced now
    How manv cases have we had if people being busted of their 5th plus DUI?”

    Matter of fact, this shows the law is being enforced.

    The cops can only arrest. The AG can only prosecute. The judge can only lock them up for a certain amount of time as laid out in the law or send them to treatment.

    If you want repeat offenders locked up for life or shot or staked out on the shoreline in crocodile country, get the legislature to change the law.

  11. bamboozer says:

    The goal of the .05 standard is money, without checking I suspect the people behind it are the insurance companies, the state police and the prison industry which is still smarting from not locking people up for marijuana. Plan to attack all the politicians involved without mercy or restraint. Like all changes in the government my first thought is what politicians or their friends and family are making money from it. Miro goes first.

  12. Miro is already gone. Or almost certainly gone. Likely to retire.

  13. Dave says:

    “I want evidence demonstrating the efficacy of such a change.’

    Absolutely. In fact, I haven’t seen any data that suggests a lower limit is responsible for any accidents. And correlation should not be interpreted at causation. The accidents at lower limits may not have been a consequence of impairment.

    And I agree with SW that the law is being enforced. What I think is missing is a law the recognizes complicity. In theory the Ignition Interlock Device Program should take of the person’s care. That leaves only two possible conditions, the first is that they reoffend after the required period when they were required to have the interlock. Or two, they are using someone’s vehicle who does not have the interlock.

    I don’t have any insight to the distribution of re-offenders that fall under either condition, but if someone is provide access to a vehicle without an interlock, then they bear some responsibility. Don’t know if the law even addresses that issue. For the second condition, I have no objection to lifetime participation in the interlock program for repeat offenders.

  14. chris says:

    I don’t like going from .08 to .05 in one move …. way too much of a decrease… almost a 40% reduction…. the 1.0 to .08 was only a 20% reduction, which is reasonable.

    I could def see a few lives being ruined because of that second glass of wine….

    If any moves, they should go .08 to .065 and study and reassess it(that’s a 20 percent reduction in BAC) ……then look at it 5 years down the road to see if .05 has merit..

  15. puck says:

    How about looking at the evidence right now to see if any reduction has merit?