I was on vacation the 2nd half of February, and so had emails and phone calls but no meetings during those days.
On Monday the 29th I met with colleagues and superintendents from New Castle County public schools to discuss education policy. On Tuesday the 1st I met with a constituent to discuss the state’s budget, met with members from the Newark Country Club to discuss how they can successfully remain in Newark, and afterwards joined their 95th anniversary celebration. I hosted my monthly coffee at Caffe’ Gelato on Wednesday the 2nd, met with a member of the City of Newark to discuss a trail to connect the White Clay Creek State Park with the city’s Redd Park (north of the reservoir), and later met with a representative from DuPont to discuss upcoming legislation. On Thursday I discussed medical legislation, provided a presentation on effective issue advocacy with the Newark Senior Center’s Senior Surfers group, and ended the day at a fundraiser for Easter Seals. On Friday I had a meeting to discuss manufactured housing issues, to discuss the plastic bag bill, and to discuss an expansion to our medical marijuana program. On Saturday I drove to Camden, DE, for a meeting with manufactured housing homeowners, and gave a presentation on past and upcoming legislative issues affecting their communities.
On Monday the 7th I taped a segment with WHYY’s Larry Mendte, in which I discussed the EITC, Earned Income Tax Credit and other financial legislation. That evening I attended the 23rd RD Democratic Committee meeting. We heard from several candidates, and we planned our April 15th annual Spaghetti Dinner and Auction. On Tuesday through Thursday the legislature was in session.
On Tuesday I presented House Bill 206 (HB 206), which added the Food Bank of Delaware and Habitat for Humanity to the Delaware income tax return form, to permit taxpayers to direct dollars to those organizations if they wish. The bill passed unanimously. I also presented SB 125, which helps the Public Integrity Commission to operate more efficiently, especially when their monthly meeting is cancelled (often due to snow). On Thursday the Senate passed HB 85 which permits ‘tax intercept’, the direction of tax refunds and lottery winnings to pay past-due school and real estate taxes. It also passed SB 200, the Delaware Commitment to Innovation Act, which the Governor and others developed to encourage two of the three parts of DuPont to keep their headquarters in Delaware.
I have had many emails about the Early Learning program which introduces a new $11 million cost to this year’s proposed budget. I have had some regarding DelDOT, city, and DNREC plans for trails and other connectivity. I have had emails with DelDOT regarding projects and potholes. I have had emails on several education matters, including the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission’s proposal, and one regarding a resident’s identity theft which could have been tied to UD’s data security breach a year or two ago. I have had emails about the End of Life Task Force, on which I serve and which has a draft report, which incorporates much input received from four public listening sessions. I have had discussions on the farmland preservation program, and on helping the City of Newark fund some road repaving projects.
I have had emails about legislation I am working on, in the areas of health care, finance, education, manufactured housing, insurance, real estate taxes, and midwifery. I have had emails about legislation that colleagues are working on, including a one-year boost to the gas tax, the minimum wage increase bill, prenatal drug exposure, the SAIL act (which adds funding for after-school services for students from low-income homes), library record privacy, HB 1 (regarding the reporting of allegations of on-campus sexual assaults), the annexation of property to large municipalities, encouraging employers to hire those with disabilities, limiting the current system on ‘civil forfeiture,’ taking steps to improve the tracking of those with sex offender convictions.