2015 Update—May 3rd to May 23rd

On Sunday the 3rd I spoke at and participated in the MS Walk in Newark, with the Wheeler’s Wobblers team. That afternoon I hiked with four White Clay Creek State Park advocates, to study the conditions on the ‘Lower Carpenter are’ trails. On Monday the 4th I met New Castle County Conservation District staff on site to explore drainage issues at the Estates at Corner Ketch and at Evergreen. That evening I met with members of the Medical Society of Delaware, to discuss my upcoming Death with Dignity legislation. On Tuesday before the legislative session I met with members of the restaurant industry and the bioscience industry. On Wednesday the 6th, I hosted my monthly coffee at Panera in Newark, attended a visitation for the mother of a legislative colleague, attended a memorial for fallen law enforcement personnel, and participated in the forum at the University of Delaware on the issue of Death with Dignity. On Thursday I attended the Walkable-Bikeable Delaware summit in Dover, and then attended a forum on Water is Life, a local program which brings drinkable water to communities in Kenya. On Friday the 8th I hosted a Newark-area workgroup on homelessness issues. That afternoon I joined Representative Jaques and his wife Carole, at Brader Elementary School, to see their gardening program, which is spearheaded by their school librarian Sharon Brubaker. On Saturday I toured the new Girls Scouts building construction site.

On Sunday the 10th, I joined the St Thomas Episcopal Church for an informal discussion on legislative matters, including Death with Dignity. On Monday the 11th I participated in a conference call on manufactured housing titling issues, and hosted a public meeting at WILMAPCO with DelDOT staff, to describe imminent traffic pattern changes to Library Avenue between Cleveland Avenue and Main Street. On Tuesday before session I donated blood, had a brief meeting with the Governor on an environmental issue, met with others to discuss centralized intake for those who are homeless, and a second meeting on a potential new program to assist low income owners of manufactured homes which are near impossible to bring up to community standards. After session, I attended and spoke at the monthly board meeting of the Christina School District. On Wednesday I helped at a Food Bank event to prepare thousands of backpacks of food the Food Bank distributes to school children each Friday, to help them eat nutritiously through the weekend. On Thursday I called and attended a meeting on body camera policy, and attended two evening receptions. On Friday the 15th I began a vacation.

On Tuesday the 5th, House Bill 5 passed, the e-cigarette bill, with the amendment I crafted with RepsB Short and Jaques. On Wednesday the 6th HB 39, to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, was released, as was HB 61, which mandates digital recording of school board meetings of ALL public schools. On Thursday the 7th, the Senate passed HB 64, a very important bill which establishes DMOST, a DE Medical Order for Scope Of Treatment, which is very important for the critically ill. The House passed HB50, which ensures that Delaware parents of public school students are permitted to Opt Out their students from having to take the new Smarter Balanced standardized test.

On Tuesday the 12th, the Senate passed HB 60, which creates an ABLE program, permitting families with persons with disabilities with tax-advantaged savings accounts similar to college 529 accounts. On Wednesday the 13th, the Senate passed HB 70, my midwifery licensure bill, with a housekeeping amendment. The House Revenue and Finance committee, on which I serve, released HB 140, which raises several DMV fees which have not been increased in many, many years, in order to provide for overdue infrastructure spending (roads and bridges). We included an amendment which avoids any increases on the transfer fee when manufactured homes are bought and sold. My bill. HB 120, which will establish a DE Commission on Indian Heritage and Culture was released by the House Administration committee, as was SCR 6, which calls for an Article V convention to reverse the Supreme Court Citizens United decision. The bill to repeal the death penalty was heard by, but not released by the House Judiciary Committee. On Thursday the 14th, the House passed HB 69, the Telemedicine bill, HB 70, my midwifery licensure bill, and HB 140, the infrastructure funding bill.

I have been busy with emails over the past three weeks. I have been involved with an upcoming bill to mandate reporting of sexual assault allegations on college campuses. I have been staying up to date on the DE Economic Forecasting Advisory Council’s revenue analysis subcommittee and recommendation, and have shared my input with members of the Joint Finance Committee, which formulates the final state budget. I have raised two concerns with SB 33, which includes changes recommended by the IEP TaskForce. I have reviewed a proposal for DelTech to fund necessary college infrastructure costs with members of DelTech. I addressed some questions from a teenage resident regarding the city skate spot. I have addressed concerns with Creek Road, and specifically the impact on the road surface from a recent felled tree. I have addressed several constituent concerns with the proposed reduction in the transportation stipend for Delaware families with children attending private schools. I have prepared a bill to apply streamlined enrollment preferences from the recent Sussex Tech bill to the Kent and New Castle County Vo-techs, but have not identified a Senate co-prime sponsor. I have had many emails regarding the Death with Dignity bill and forum. I worked with colleagues to identify a compromise amendment to enable the e-cigarette bill to pass the House. I have had many emails answering questions about the midwifery bill. I have had several emails regarding renewable energy issues in Delaware. I shared with a local restaurant that the minimum wage bill, which I am co sponsoring, is not expected to be considered until next year. I have worked to help the Newark Housing Authority fill its board of commissioners. I have requested and received an amendment to SB 68, a privacy bill, which ensures that there are no warrant-less searches of library records.

I have thanked DelDOT for its completion of the crossover on route 95 near the 896 interchange, to enable emergency vehicles to more swiftly address emergencies, and asked that they formally put the 896 interchange into their systems, as it is now the second-worst section of our interstate system. I have worked with DelDOT and DNREC to move a road crossing on Hopkins Road to improve safety, in time for the Saturday June 6th celebration of the 250th anniversary of the Mason Dixon Trail.

I have had many emails and a meeting or two, in support of next Wednesday’s referendum to better fund schools in the Christina School District. I passed on a parent’s concern with the Career Cruiser test to the Department of Education. I have, after an almost six-month wait, received school- and district-wide data on student need-based funding. I have learned about, and objected to news that many Librarians are on the ‘chopping block’ in Christina School District, and I have prepared legislation (currently unfunded) which requires a basic level of librarians in each DE public school. I am considering legislation to shorten the term of members of elected school boards. I have confirmed, in response to multiple constituent questions, that an education bill which prohibits the ‘five mile radius’ enrollment preference only applies to NEW charter schools, not existing ones.