General Assembly Pre-Game Show: Tues. June 12, 2018

Filed in Delaware, Featured by on June 12, 2018

First, we must do a post-game wrap-up from last Thursday’s action-packed session. You can follow along with the Session Activity Report. The high(and low)lights.

The Equal Rights Amendment passed the House. Six downstate R dead-enders voted no. The bill will have to pass in identical form in the next session of the General Assembly.

Rather than deal with the proliferation of deadly weapons, both houses of the General Assembly passed legislation requiring that ‘all new school construction and schools undergoing major renovations to incorporate the following safety features: a secured vestibule to be used as the primary entrance to screen visitors, installation of ballistic resistant glass or other ballistic resistant materials in all areas used to screen visitors, installation of a panic button or intruder alert system, and classroom doors that can be locked on the outside with a key or magnetic card locking system’. Despite a fiscal note that sets the cost as ‘indeterminable’, nary a no vote was cast against it.  Yep. That’ll stop the carnage.  Don’t have the guts to ban assault weapons? Require the building of schools that are bullet-proof. Although there is no such thing as a bullet-proof school. Oh, and the Honorables have allocated no money to pay for this ‘requirement’.

Legislation seeking to identify and minimize ‘out of school suspensions’ passed the Senate and heads to the Governor. Here’s the interesting stat: “(T)housands of Delaware students receive out-of-school suspensions each year for minor infractions, such as being unprepared or late for class, dress code violations, and disrespectful behavior. In 2013, only 2% of out-of-school suspensions were for serious offenses such as weapons, drugs, or serious violence. Out-of-school suspensions do not address the root causes for the misbehavior, and only serve to put the students further behind in class.” Greg Lavelle voted against this bill. Twice.  Four R senators voted for the bill: Cloutier, Delcollo, Lopez, and Richardson.

The bill permitting county governments to impose an additional 3%  lodging tax on hotels, motels, and ‘tourist home rooms’ passed the Senate and heads to the governor.

I get a hinky feeling about this bill dealing with the intersection of stormwater management and development, which passed the Senate.  Sen. Hansen went not voting. Wonder if she has similar concerns.

‘Conversion therapy’ has now been effectively banned in Delaware. Or, at least, will be once the governor signs this bill.  Carson was the only D no vote in the House, Ramone was the only R yes vote.

OK, time to stop living in the past as we’ve got another busy day ahead.

Today’s House Agenda features the following highlights:

*State employees would be entitled to 12 weeks of paid family leave should HB 3(Heffernan) become law.  I love this bill.  A genuine boon for full-time state employees. Consideration of the bill was delayed until the Joint Finance Committee funded the initiative in the draft budget.  The projected annual cost of the bill is $3,911,000.  The bill will fully take effect beginning with the onset of FY 2020. Meaning July 1, 2019.

*I also like HS1/HB 346(Bentz), which ‘establishes the High Needs Educator Student Loan Payment Program’. The program:

…allows qualified applicants to apply for a payment from the State to the applicant’s lending agency, to pay a portion of the applicant’s student loan debt. The purpose of the Program is to encourage Educators to work and remain working in certification areas in which Delaware has a shortage and to encourage Educators to work and remain working in Delaware’s hardest-to-staff Schools.

Any awards would be for no more than $2000. Projected annual cost: $200,000. Small price to pay, IMHO.

Today’s Senate Agenda features, wait for it, a rare good bill from Sen. Greg Lavelle. Although…he’s already filed an amendment that would minimize its effectiveness. SB 197 ‘provides mandatory expungement eligibility to individuals who were convicted of the possession, use or consumption of marijuana prior to Delaware’s decriminalization of these offenses’. Great, right?  Well, there’s now an amendment from Lavelle. The amendment ‘clarifies that mandatory expungement eligibility only applies if the applicant was originally charged with a misdemeanor possession of a marijuana offense and does not apply to charges that were reduced from more serious felony offenses‘.  That amendment is utter bullshit. Given the penchant of cops and prosecutors to overcharge, this amendment cuts the legs out from under the intent of the bill. As is, the bill only applies to those whose sole conviction was for misdemeanor marijuana possession. If amended, it would only apply to those who were charged with the misdemeanor and convicted of the misdemeanor pot charge, nothing else.

SB 228 (McBride) corrects one of the most grievous decisions made by the Joint Finance Committee and the General Assembly last year. The bill ‘restores the Delaware Prescription Drug Payment Assistance Program (“Program”), which was eliminated in the Fiscal Year 2018 Annual Appropriations Act’. A shameful decision made in a year where the General Assembly ended the estate tax and gave all kinds of breaks to corporations.  Just wondering: The next time the General Assembly faces a tight fiscal year, will all the ‘shared sacrifice’ once again be visited upon those with the least to share? The bill itself is little more than grandstanding in the sense that this program could have been restored in the budget w/o the enabling legislation, but, hey, it’s an election year. And it’s $2 mill in prescription assistance.

Hey, we’re about to add two Vice Chancellors to the Court Of Chancery, going from 4 to 6.  Fiscal note? About half a mill annually. Priorities, pipples…

Both agendas are well worth checking out. I get to pick and choose what interests me. YMMV.


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  1. FWIW says:

    The other limitation of Lavelle’s marijuana expungement bill is that a person is only eligible to expunge their marijuana conviction if they are “otherwise eligible for mandatory expungement.” That means if they’ve ever had any other criminal convictions- or even just a dismissed felony charge- they can’t expunge their marijuana conviction.

  2. Chicken Lover says:

    There is a lot of support on the storm water bill from Sussex because I’m hearing the last batch of regulations were in direct conflict with CDC guidelines on preventing avian flu when it came to chicken house run-off. The regulations also included a “fee in lieu” that allowed a developer to skirt the regulations entirely for a lump sum payoff. I don’t know if this bill addresses that, but someone/something should.

  3. Thanks! That’s some good inside…poop.

  4. Liz Allen says:

    Lavelle blowing smoke! I would like to blow some smoke in his face, cannibus smoke, perhaps it would help increase his brain cells to end his confusion.