2014 Update—January 26th to February 1st

It was an unusually busy week, so rather than wait a week and make another painfully-long update, I’ll post today on the past week.

On Monday my core campaign team met to discuss the 2014 campaign—yes, I shall be running for re-election, looking for volunteers, contributions, and votes.  On Tuesday, due to the snow days the prior week, some committees met.  Senate Bill 6, the minimum wage bill, was heard in the House Economic Development committee on which I serve, and after lively debate, was released from committee—I voted for the bill’s release.  In the House session we passed HB 167, the “ban the box” bill.  I voted for this bill.  We also passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 36, which establishes a task force to consider whether to issue Driving Privilege Cards to undocumented Delawareans, to improve road safety for everyone.  I am a cosponsor of all three of these bills.  After session, I attended the quarterly meeting of the White Clay Creek Citizens Advisory Council meeting at the Judge Morris Estate, to learn of plans and concerns related to our wonderful White Clay Creek Park.

On Tuesday I headed to Dover over snowy roads to participate in the legislative panel with the Delaware Dietetic Association, joined by Senator Bethany Hall-Long and Representative Rebecca Walker.  We enjoyed the opportunity to share insights into the legislative process, to learn the dieticians’ top policy concerns, and to brainstorm to identify best strategies for this wonderful group.  I then met with Senator Ennis and leaders of the manufactured homeowners community.  Next I chaired the meeting of the House Manufactured Housing Committee, where we discussed and voted to release one of my bills, HB 233, and discussed in depth my other new bill, HB 234, which I need to work further on.  At the House Economic Development committee, we considered two bills.  The first was HB 187, to join most states in having laws limiting fraudulent solicitations, by instituting some minimal regulations on permitted charitable solicitations.  The second bill is HB 60, which provides for the direct shipment of wine to homes in Delaware.  There was very interesting debate on this issue, and there are good arguments both for and against.  Ultimately the bill was released from committee (and I voted to release the bill ‘on its merits’).  I am hopeful that Representative Hudson, the bill sponsor, will add one or two additional components to the bill (steps to improve confidence that this will not lead to increased underage drinking, and steps to ensure that big vineyards will not use this to bypass our existing systems); I am likely to vote against it without at least one additional protection.  After session I attended the last half of the Charter-District Collaboration Task Force meeting in Dover.  The meeting was a bit unsatisfying, as there was mostly speaking at each other and little listening to each other.  After this I headed to Maclary Elementary School for the meeting of the maintenance corporation for Nonantum Mills/Chapel Woods (http://nonantummills.net).  After this I went to the United Church for Christ, which was hosting a Code Purple night for the area’s homeless, and chatted with volunteers and several of the guests.  t was quite a busy day!

On Thursday morning I attended the Kids Caucus in Dover, where Lt. Governor Matt Denn discussed progress in youth issues over the past few years, and we also discussed legislative initiatives, including HB 241, which makes it illegal to sell e-cigarettes to minors—I am a co-prime sponsor of this bill.  After this meeting I headed to the Governor’s press conference at which he and his staff presented the highlights of his proposed FY 15 budget.  I was interviewed by a reporter afterwards.  During the House Democratic caucus meeting, among other items, we were briefed by the Governor and OMB Director Visalli, and the caucus members provided spirited feedback and posed many questions.  After caucus, I attended the Governor’s signing of the minimum wage bill.  After this, the full House reconvened and considered and passed seven bills, including SB 151, which clarifies the duties of the Cash Management Policy Board.  One amendment came close to passage (19 for, 19 against, 2 not voting, and one absent, but you need 21 for to pass), which would require that the board’s members provide annual financial disclosures.  We were assured that good governance issues such as these will be considered by the Joint Sunset Review committee’s review of the CMPB later this year.  I attended an AFL/CIO reception in Dover after session.

I have been busy this week with emails on the midwifery policy front, and the manufactured housing front (especially concerns from residents of Bon Ayre and different concerns from residents of Pot Nets).  I met with Hetti Brown, who leads the new Office of Animal Welfare, to learn more about what happened with Safe Haven, and what is done when a dog-fighting ring is found, and shared information with a resident who had asked about this.  I addressed a concern raised by the adult child of an area elderly resident who has been the victim of various scams.  I have reached out to several area leaders to explore if there are some plans to improve how Newark addresses/serves our homeless citizens.  I pushed DelDOT to address the terrible potholes on Elkton Road and Christiana Parkway, and on Friday afternoon they filled the potholes they found on Christiana Parkway.

That’s it for now.  Today I will be catching up some of my day job work, working on the midwifery and manufactured housing issues, and digging into the budget.