El Somnambulo's Latest Posts
Hear me out. This is exciting.
The reason? The U. S. Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional part of a Florida statute that grants exclusively to judges the right to determine a sentence of death in capital cases.
Guess what? Delaware has the exact same provision in its statute. The irony is that it didn’t used to be that way. No, AG Jane Brady, Sen. Tom Sharp, Sen. Jim Vaughn and others demagogued the sheep in Dover into taking the power away from juries and giving it to judges. Why? ‘Coddling criminals’, blah blah blah. How great would it be if they ended up sowing the seeds for death penalty repeal?
I’m not a lawyer, but I don’t see how Delaware’s statute can be constitutional if Florida’s is not.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Only the Delaware General Assembly can change the statute. Come inside to see why that’s important….
Kathleen McGuiness is for real. Except for that whole residency thingy. BTW, turns out she moved out to Park Slope b/c a couple of her kids are competitive snowboarders. Yes, she raised a lot of money. What really surprised me is that almost all of the money comes from Delaware. Pretty much every D in Sussex County with money has ponied up. Guess there are more D’s with money in Sussex County than I thought. Bethany Hall-Long has raised a lot of $$’s as well. Ciro Poppiti has enough money to be competitive. Sherry Dorsey Walker, Greg Fuller, and Brad Eaby don’t.
Trinidad Navarro better get his ass in gear. Those who deal with the insurance commissioner’s office have apparently resigned themselves to, or more likely, fallen in love with the idea of, Incompetent Karen Weldin Stewart serving as Insurance Commissioner. He’s only raised $11K? Vs. $83K?
We could still have an epic week in store–or it could turn into a nothingburger. The minimum wage bill still awaits Senate action, and death penalty repeal maybe gets considered in the House. Or not. Probably depends on whether the respective sponsors think they have the votes. If you haven’t contacted YOUR legislators, what are you waiting for?
The minimum wage bill has already been amended primarily to reflect the fact it wasn’t considered last year. Senate Amendment 3, which passed by a 13-8 vote, adjusts the effective dates for the increases, and accordingly delays the implementation of the COLA increase until 2021. Pure party line vote. The bill appears to need at least one more D vote to pass. DINO Brian Bushweller is one of the holdouts. Who are the others? BTW, check out Colin Bonini’s amendment to the bill. The guy is a joke.
Undaunted by the prospect of blowing yet a greater hole in the budget for the next few years, the State Senate joined the House in passing legislation that would ‘remove disincentives’ for job creation for the corporate overlords. The Senate passed the bill with only one ‘not voting’ (Townsend, who was a co-sponsor on the bill), and the bill goes to the Governor. Keep this in mind in June when the Honorables (ongoing h/t to Ralph Moyed) shrug their collective shoulders and lament the ‘tough choices’ (read screw anybody but the corporate overlords) they had to make. They, of course, didn’t have to make them. They made clear that bowing to their corporate overlords is business as usual. A projected $50 mill shortfall to the budget over the first 2 1/2 years the legislation is in effect. Just curious: Who, if anybody, will keep track of all those new jobs the corporate overlords will create now that the ‘disincentives’ have been removed? Based on previous experience, my prediction is ‘Nobody’. A pure unvarnished giveaway.
Delaware’s ‘apology’ for its role in perpetuating slavery passed the Senate. Three no votes. Hocker, Lawson, and Bonini. None of whom have likely ever cracked a history book and read of Delaware’s role in perpetuating slavery.
You didn’t read about it in the ‘Paper of Record’, but the so-called ‘Delaware Competes’ bill flew through the House (only two no votes, Kowalko and Williams) and is now poised for equally-swift consideration in the Senate. Actually, you didn’t read about it in the daily Session Activity Report, either. Unless…you scrolled all the way down and saw that the bill had already been assigned to the Senate Executive Committee. Stealth all the way. So, I’ve got a legit question to some of our progressive legislators: Did you vote Yes because you’ve been informed as to how the bill will be paid for? If so, would you care to share it with us? If not, why did you vote yes? These are not snark questions, I really want to know. I’m missing something (insert joke here), just don’t know what.
HJR 10 (Bolden), in which Delaware apologizes for its role in slavery, also passed the House. The one ‘no’ vote was John Atkins’ replacement, Rep. Richard Collins.
Denise D. Bowers has filed to run against State Senator Cathy Cloutier for the 5th SD seat in Brandywine Hundred. Based on registration, this projects as a competitive race. Current figures: 13,703 D; 11,169 R; and 8790 I.
Her candidacy does not come without questions. She is a 21-year veteran of the Wilmington Police Department, although it’s not entirely clear that she was on duty for all that time. She filed at least two legal actions concerning her job during her time on the force. The first deals with compensation for a scar on her knee, aka a ‘ serious and permanent disfigurement’. The second was a prolonged litigation concerning her ‘involuntary retirement’ from the force. In fact, even though she allegedly was a police officer until 2008, it is not clear whether she was on the job after 2005, when she suffered the knee injury mentioned in the second suit. A swift Google search also reveals several actions brought against Bowers and her husband for unpaid taxes on rental properties in Wilmington. OTOH, Bowers is president of the Northwood Civic Association and is currently the State Director of the Treatment Access Center, the liaison between the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health and the courts system. I’m sure that some of you must have met her. I need feedback, pipples!
ALERT!! MARKELL, CHAMBER AND LONGHURST GIVE MIDDLE FINGER TO DELAWAREANS:
HB 235, the so-called Delaware Competes Bill, is the first bill the House will consider this year. What’s amazing, well, not amazing, but typical of the primordial ooze behind this, is that the bill will be considered under Motion to Suspend Rules. Here’s why. Even though the bill cleared the House Revenue & Taxation Committee, the bill was reassigned to the House Appropriations Committee (the committee is comprised of the House members of the Joint Finance Committee). That’s because the bill has a significant cost. Such bills are typically not considered until/unless JFC does the fiscal legerdemain. In this case, even though the bill will have a significant annual cost, the House will try to bypass the budgetary process. Since the bill wouldn’t even take effect until January of 2017, rushing this through serves no purpose other than to satisfy the Chamber and its millionaire minions. This is a transfer of wealth from ordinary citizens to the politically-connected corporate overlords, pure and simple. We’ll pay somehow, just wait. Last days of June when they hope that no one is watching. Hey, whaddayawant from Markell, Longhurst and their (wait for it) ilk? Call your state reps!
What’s not on the House Agenda under Motion to Suspend Rules is HB 50–the Opt-Out Bill. As opposed to HB 235, doing this under MTSR is legit. The bill has been through the committee process, was passed (twice) by the House, and it’s a veto override, not consideration of new legislation. Now, maybe the House will entertain a motion from the floor, maybe Speaker Pete won’t, but it sure as hell should be considered. Has the cynicism of Pistol Pete and Vindictive Val become so great that they can ignore the will of the members of the chamber? We’ll see.
We have two bills that somebody wants fast-tracked in January:
HB 240 (Longhurst) ‘establishes the Statewide Afterschool Initiative Learning Program. The Program will provide grants to public schools, that qualify as Title I schools, to develop afterschool engagement of students that will provide extended learning, homework assistance, enrichment, and nutrition.’ Sounds good. There is, however, no funding mechanism mentioned in the bill. Nor does the bill, for reasons I cannot understand, require a fiscal note. So, how are they gonna pay for the program? Will it be paid for from the Mortgage Settlement Funds? If not, what are you defunding in order to fund this? We may or may not find out sooner rather than later. Bill’s scheduled to be considered during today’s House Education Committee. BTW, here’s my uninformed guess as to what’s happening here: Sponsors can claim that this is merely ‘enabling’ legislation and that the funding mechanism will be determined by JFC. Which, of course, is totally disingenuous. You don’t need enabling legislation if the JFC funds such a program and establishes the criteria in the epilog language. But that would bypass touchy-feely brochure fluff. Someone, please prove me wrong.
HB 235 (Longhurst), the ‘Delaware Competes Act‘, allegedly ‘reforms Delaware’s business tax code to incentivize job creation and investment in Delaware, to make Delaware’s tax structure more competitive with other states, and to support small businesses by making tax compliance less burdensome. The principal change in the Act is to remove disincentives for companies to create Delaware jobs and invest in Delaware property that currently exists in how income is apportioned to Delaware for purposes of the corporate income tax’. In other words, tweaking the formula to remove inequities that create disincentives to job creation. Fine. Here’s what they didn’t tell you. This is not some revenue-neutral tweaking. Nope. There is a fiscal note attached to this bill, and here are the projected costs to the state’s coffers:
Fiscal Year 2017 $ 8,200,000
Fiscal Year 2018 $17,600,000
Fiscal Year 2019 $22,900,000
So, let’s be honest here. It’s yet another sop to business with not even a projection as to how many jobs will be created due to the removal of alleged disincentives. And this is annual revenue loss.
My outlook for January: Real interesting real fast. Just like today’s Al Show will be.
The second session of the 148th General Assembly kicks off today. Since it’s not a new General Assembly, everything that was in place on July 1 remains in place today. It’s gonna be a wild and wooly month. You can look forward to:
1. Votes on overriding the veto of HB 50-the ‘opt-out’ bill. The bill passed both houses with veto-proof majorities. The House vote was overwhelming, 36-3, so it should get through the House in comfortable fashion. The final Senate vote was 15-6, so that is the chamber where Markell might be able to flip a couple of senators. I will be especially interested to see whether her run for Lieutenant Governor might play into Sen. Bethany Hall-Long switching sides. I’d like to point out that HB 50 has already had a key impact. The decision by the Department of Education to cancel the ‘Smarter Balanced’ test for juniors in favor of the SAT would almost certainly not have been made without the catalyst of HB 50. In fact, you may recall that Sen. Bryan Townsend introduced and passed an amendment extending the opt-out provision to high school juniors. That amendment is no longer necessary, for the best of reasons.
No, not as police chief. But as a public safety consultant. The only question is, is this a consultant that Dennis Williams will listen to? He hired him, so I guess the answer is yes, but it’s Dennis Williams we’re talking about here. Anyway, here’s what he’s supposed to do:
Hey, it’s an ELECTION YEAR! Try to contain your enthusiasm. At least we’ve got some new news to share. But first, let’s see where we stand regarding already-filed candidates.
Karen Hartley-Nagle Primaries Chris Bullock for NCC President. While Bullock hasn’t filed, we know he’s running. How do we know? Because we (or, to be accurate, I) have received content-free e-mails from Bullock in his capacity as NCC Prez throughout 2015. Touchy-feely crap. I think his campaign is paying for them, but I’m not sure. Perennial candidate Hartley-Nagle could pose a challenge, especially if she is part of an unofficial anti-Gordon ticket.
Because this list is generally a critical review of the year’s events, I’ve decided not to place Beau Biden’s death or Joe’s flirtation with running for President on the lists. Who is to say how one should react under such circumstances? And how does one rank a death? Answer to both questions: I don’t know. So, I won’t do it.
We start as always, with the list with the fewest nominees: The Good. Because, let’s face it, on balance, this was not a good year for Delaware. Much closer to an annus horribilis, or whatever Queen Elizabeth calls it.
Wherever possible, I’ve linked to an article that provides context.
Let’s see. He takes taxpayers’ money for Sunset Committee meetings he doesn’t attend. He has never voted for a state budget. He lied about having a Master’s Degree he never came close to completing.
It turns out he didn’t pay his taxes either. Had three separate federal tax liens filed against him. Over $28K owed (Other documents available upon request). At what point does this reach a critical mass of fraudulence?
You know, with a record like that, there’s only one elective body where he’d feel right at home: Wilmington City Council.
I can’t tell you how many hours go into preparing this list. I can only say that we are talking geometric progressions of time as opposed to, say, what I spend on the MVP Awards. My wife and daughters served as sounding boards in finalizing the list. My hope is to turn you on to music you perhaps haven’t heard on your own. Consider it my holiday gift to you–whether you wanted it or not.
How many times have I asked the question, “Won’t somebody, anybody, challenge this egregious wrong?” Lots of times. Whether it’s the illegal actions of the corrupt Minner team or the illegality of Tony DeLuca serving as both a legislator and as an administrator of a public agency, the answer has always been, no, nobody will challenge this egregious wrong. The budget that was forced through the General Assembly this year was an egregious wrong. Specifically, the (I believe) illegal application of settlement funds to help balance the operating budget. This misuse of funds violated the specific purposes for which the funds could be used. While the AG strongly criticized the misuse of the funds, he either chose not to challenge, or was not in a position to challenge, the General Assembly’s cavalier actions. But someone else did. And that someone else is our Most Value Progressive of the Year.
It has occurred to me that we don’t really know where John Carney stands on the major issues facing Delaware. So, let’s put together a list for him. You know, to give him enough time to begin thinking about these things. Please add your own questions to the list:
The Annual MVP (Most Valuable to the Progressive Cause in Delaware) Awards will be announced next week. Most likely Tuesday, to be simultaneously released here at DL and live on the Al Mascitti Show.
I know it wasn’t the best year for progressives in Delaware, but many rose up to fight the good fight.
Nominate someone and cite what they did, and I will seriously consider them for the list. Many who previously received recognition were nominated by our readers. At least two winners came directly from our readers. The responses have been kinda slow this year, but you have until this Friday to post your candidates. C’mon folks, help me out here.
A cop was once again found ‘not guilty’ for beating the piss out of an innocent man. This time a Dover cop. With a folder full of abuse complaints, none of which were allowed in at trial. Despite a video showing him kicking said innocent man.
My conclusion: More proof that Delaware is a police state.
I hope you have all read this article in Sunday’s News Journal. If not, read it and then head back here. I’ll wait.
I didn’t know, betcha that you didn’t either, that police can seize property, money and valuables when they suspect that the owners of said property, money and valuables are involved in drug-related crime. Betcha didn’t know that neither (a) the filing of charges and/or (b) convictions for said offenses were a prerequisite for police just taking stuff. Betcha didn’t know that it’s exceedingly difficult, if not down-right impossible, for innocent victims of said seizures to get their money, property and valuables back. Betcha didn’t know that the ‘proceeds’ go directly to a law enforcement slush fund called SLEAF. Betcha didn’t know that Delaware is the only state in the union that refuses to release the amount of money seized and how the money is spent….