Delaware General Assembly Pre-Game Show: Tues., January 8, 2019

Filed in Delaware, Featured by on January 8, 2019 17 Comments

Please excuse me while I jump into the Wayback Machine to pay a visit to January 2017 in order to do a cut-n paste. Be back in a jif…

…I’m back. Man, Nemski was really on fire early in 2017. But, I digress. OK, the General Assembly convenes for its first session tomorrow.  So, first order of business, that cut-n-paste from 2017:

“The first day invariably consists of ceremony. The swearing-in of the members, lots of family and friends in the respective chambers, and usually a reception to follow.

For newbies, here’s what to expect in January. The General Assembly will be in session for three weeks and nine sessions, weather permitting.  Governor Carney will present his State of the State address to a joint session. Before the month is out, the governor will present his proposed budget for FY ’20. Delaware’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. The submission of the budget sets the stage for six weeks of Joint Finance Committee hearings. State agencies come before the committee to present their budget priorities.”

Now that we’re on the same page, what can we expect during January? Clearly, the General Assembly will pass this second leg of a constitutional amendment codifying the equal rights of women in the Delaware Constitution.  Only real question is whether anybody will vote no.  Several downstate Rethuglican troglodytes voted no last time, so there will likely be a sprinking of nays.    Nevertheless, this will be passed with great fanfare. While I support the bill, I would be remiss in pointing out that this is largely symbolic, which won’t in any way put a damper on the self-congratulation that will follow.  Not to mention the presence of this milestone in political brochures.

I know what to expect in Carney’s State Of The State except for how he addresses one specific issue.  How does he propose to fix the ongoing conflagration that is the state’s corrections system?  The rest I think I know: A too-cautious short laundry list of one-time initiatives, a promise of fiscal austerity using Ken Simpler’s magic ‘budget-smoothing’ tricks, a warning about creating any new programs that will require ongoing budgetary commitments, and, of course, an insistence on ‘living within our means’ with an emphasis on not raising taxes on those very few who have been the sole beneficiaries of the so-called recovery. In other words, well, word, well, non-word, “Bleccch”.

Here’s what I think should and could happen in January:  Leadership in both houses should introduce and pass legislation striking Melanie George Smith’s self-serving sustainability bill from the Delaware Code.  And, in a message to the gun nuts that the General Assembly isn’t playing around any more, they should, and just might, pass the bill that Greg Lavelle and Dave McBride buried in the Senate last year.  It would also give Laura Sturgeon a great chance to shine. This is one reason why I anxiously await the Senate Committee assignments. I don’t think McBride can bury the bill this time. Doubt that he wants to.

Here’s what should, but won’t happen, in January. Both Mike Ramone and Nicole Poore should be subject to ethics investigations.  These investigations won’t happen. Why? Can you imagine Ethics Chair Val Longhurst, who finally converted her legislative clout into a position as the head of the Police Athletic League, agreeing to investigate Ramone’s self-dealing on that e-stock exchange business?  No. But I think Ramone’s misdeeds, in particular, deserve at least a look-see from the AG’s office.  Maybe Kathleen Jennings will break the Justice Department tradition of looking the other way when it comes to political misdeeds. Not holding my breath, but who knows?

That’s it for now. We have a couple of house committee meetings scheduled for Wednesday, so at least we’ll have something to discuss, presumably along with Senate committee assignments. See you tomorrow.

 

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  1. jason330 says:

    It is interesting to me that both Paradee and Hansen came down hard on the Trumper A-Hole parade in Middletown. They were actually out in front in a way you wouldn’t have seen a few years ago.

    I wonder if it is a tea leaf that indicates that a “progressive caucus” of sorts may have more juice than we might typically expect?

  2. Hansen has been a solid senator so far. Paradee has been good on some progressive issues, not so good on others.

    This, however, was a slam dunk. A good stand, but also good politics.

    • jason330 says:

      Agreed. Paradee is nobody’s liberal but he knows which way the wind is blowing.

      • He’s a canny politician. Always been good on minimum wage as well. He’s not a guy that progressives will get on every issue, but he’s no impediment in an otherwise progressive caucus. A pretty good match for his district.

        You know, in writing that article about the House committee assignments, it became clear to me that the Senate is now the more progressive body.

  3. Delawaredude says:

    Hansen is already thinking state office and sees the tea leaves, something BHL still can’t seem to grasp. That said she kind of panders a lot, big time supporter of bill powers against Carter and then switched up after the win. I don’t know yet what to think of her. She has been solid on somethings but still trying to figure if she’s genuine or not.

    • Thing is, you don’t have to be ‘genuine’ to cast progressive votes if there is a wind at the back of progressive initiatives and you’re experienced in feeling which way the wind blows.

    • jason330 says:

      “Hansen is already thinking state office and sees the tea leaves, something BHL still can’t seem to grasp.”

      Agreed. Oddly, it is always 1998 for BHL.

      “(Hansen) kind of panders a lot, big time supporter of bill powers against Carter and then switched up after the win.”

      That’s SOP for all incumbents. I’m sure Dave Carter would have appreciated Hansen being neutral, but I’m sure he wasn’t expecting it.

      • Delawaredude says:

        This bill bell primary will tell us a lot about all the mot folks. However it also is mostly Nicole Poore district so let’s see if she’s gets on the good old boy bill bell network or not. I expect her too. I expect all of them too besides Carter who I’m feeling has a candidate in mind.

        • Don’t think Nicole Poore will be involved in any primary–except her own. She has set a standard for self-dealing that only Tony DeLuca rivaled. She is extremely vulnerable, and she is likely to have a strong challenger.

          • Delawaredude says:

            I honestly don’t know how vulnerable she is. She is everywhere in the district at all times. Great retail campaigner even if she’s bad on the issues and will raise a ton. Who’s in the 12th that’s wants to do it??

  4. It’s more than a little weird that (a) no Senate committee appointments have been posted; (b) no Senate prefile has been posted; and (c) no committee meetings have been posted.

    This means, at least, that there can be no Senate committee meetings tomorrow unless the Senate violates its own rules.

    Starting to wonder if there’s more at work here…

  5. Man, that Oath of Office is unwieldy. Former House Speaker Chuck Hebner somehow convinced the General Assembly to adopt this, and it’s long past time to prune it.

    Yes, I’m listening to the live feed.

  6. FWIW, as of 5:30 this evening, STILL no Senate committee assignments posted.

  7. According to Scott Goss, Sen. McBride allegedly provided the committee names this afternoon. The link Goss provided sent me to the same committee site that lists no committees and no committee members.

    McBride’s weird. And Goss isn’t much of a reporter. Until it’s officially posted, it doesn’t exist. Which it doesn’t as of now.

  8. Nancy Willing says:

    This is pissing me off today from the Newark Post (below). Dover has to take on (pay for) statewide reassessments. Look at the shameful comments from some of the DEM leadership (well, just Pete’s comment)……very disappointed…..

    Delaware lawmakers gather for new legislative session
    https://www.newarkpostonline.com/news/delaware-lawmakers-gather-for-new-legislative-session/article_2e2dbb3f-2853-507a-a823-c978f31037db.html

    “It remains unclear whether lawmakers will tackle the thorny issue of county property tax reassessments. State and county officials have been named as defendants in a lawsuit alleging that Delaware is failing to provide adequate educational opportunities for disadvantaged students. A Chancery Court judge last year denied separate motions by the state and county defendants to dismiss the lawsuit, which alleges in part that school property tax collections based on outdated assessments are partially to blame for the lack of funding. While state law does not require that counties conduct reassessments on any particular schedule, it does require that property be assessed at fair market value. “The counties are responsible for doing that, and they have not met their responsibilities,” McBride said. “I think the state needs to be looking at a role in it, because it is not happening, and it should be happening.”

    Kent County in central Delaware last reassessed property values in 1987, while northern New Castle County’s current assessment dates to 1983. Sussex County, home to million-dollar beach homes in Rehoboth Beach and other parts of southern Delaware, last reassessed property values in 1974.

    House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth, does not favor reassessment. “In my district, no, I’m not,” said Schwartzkopf, noting that counties and school districts have the ability to raise tax rates based on current assessed values. Carney said the state should encourage the counties to “do the right thing” with respect to assessments. “It has to get done, and I wouldn’t be surprised if, well, I shouldn’t comment on what the judge might do,” he said.

    • I know. Political cowardice. Hopefully the courts do what the General Assembly has refused to do. That lawsuit is a ticking time bomb. We can only hope that it goes off.

    • mediawatch says:

      Carney says he “shouldn’t comment on what the judge might do” but he knows damn well what’s going to happen. Unless they discover some obscure technicality, the state and counties are going to lose the lawsuit, a statewide property reassessment will occur and the state will be directed to join the 21st century and pony up essential funds to educate the kids who need the most help. There will be much agonizing, hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth, but Pete and the governor won’t have Murray Schwartz or some other federal judge to scapegoat because the case is in a state court. Ah, the delicious irony of being held accountable by a judge appointed by Jack Markell, who tried to talk a good game while doing all he could to starve the schools with the greatest needs.
      Can’t wait.

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