Cape Gazette
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Legislative Wrap

Jul 02, 2014

Bill changes distribution of controlled substances

A bill introduced Jan. 14 would allow veterinarians and methadone clinics to dispense more than 72 hours of a controlled substance.

Senate Bill 8, introduced by Sen. Bethany Hall-Long, D-Middletown, would close the loophole created with the passage of Senate Bill 119 during the 147th General Assembly. The bill passed through the Senate on Jan. 22 and was then voted out of the House Health and Human Developement Committee on Jan. 28.

Bill prorates funding for charter school transfers

Rep. Kimberly Williams, D-Stanton, has introduced legislation that says if a student transfers from a charter school to a school district after September 30, funds will be prorated between the charter school and the school district where the student is then enrolled.

Currently if there is no agreement with the a school district, charter schools are currently to retain any funding received for the fiscal year for a student who transfers mid-year from the charter school to a school district.

House Bill 28 was introduced Jan. 22 and has been assigned to the House Education Committee.

Bills focus on public safety

Sen. Robert Marshall, D-Wilmington West, introduced two bills Jan. 27 that are focused on public safety.

Senate Bill 18 would allow judges to deny bail for a range of violent offenders for up to 120 days. The bill was assigned to the Senate Executive Committee.

He is also going re-introduction Senate Bill 19, which allows local police to operate gun buyback programs and use proceeds to help fund undercover operations to break up illegal gun sales. Marshall’s 2011 gun buyback program resulted in more than 2,000 guns being taken out of circulation.

Bill closes gap in special education funding

Three New Castle legislators have introduced a bill Jan. 28 that would provide assistance to special education students, kindergarten to third grade.

The Delaware education system classifies special education students into three categories: basic, intensive and complex. The state currently funds additional teacher units for intensive and complex special education from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. The state only funds basic special education from fourth through 12th grade, leaving a gap in support for kindergarten through third-grade classrooms.

House Bill 30, sponsored by Rep. Kim Williams, D-Marshallton, and Sens. Harris McDowell, D-Wilmington North, and Nicole Poore, D-New Castle, would extend state funding for basic special education to kindergarten through third grade.

The bill has been assigned to the House Education Committee.

Task force on education spending

Rep. Ruth Briggs King, R-Georgetown, has introduced a resolution to form a task force that will examine and study all Department of Education K-12 spending in Delaware, as it exists across all forms of education.

House Concurrent Resolution 5 will be able to use that information to make recommendations that will create and promote an equitable distribution among all children receiving an education in Delaware.

The bill was assigned to the House Education Committee.

Bill places cap on special event liability insurance

Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown, has introduced a bill Jan. 27 intended to promote the development of annual special events hosted by non-profit organizations by placing a liability cap on non-economic damages awarded for personal injury or wrongful death.

Senate Bill 14 does not place any limitations on economic damages and there is no limitation where gross negligence or intentional actions cause the damages.

The bill states the cap on non-economic damages begins at $1,000,000 and increases each calendar year by 1.5 percent except that multiple claimants under a wrongful death action may be awarded a total of 250 percent of that cap.

The bill has been assigned to the Senate Executive Committee.

Bill gives demolition credits to damage caused by natural disaster

Rep. Jeffrey Spiegelman, R-Kenton, introduced a bill Jan. 28 that creates a tax credit for demolition permit fees if the demolition is needed as a result of damage caused by a natural disaster.

House Bill 35, known as Barbara Smith-Morlock and Robert Dolga Act, has bee assigned to the House Revenue and Finance Committee.

Bill allows school districts to delay changes

Rep. Jeffrey Spiegelman, R-Kenton, introduced a bill Jan. 28 that allows a local school district board to delay new or changed rules, regulations, or administrative procedures from becoming effective during a school year once the school year has started.

House Bill 34 will allow the rules, regulations, and procedures to be consistent for the whole school year. The bill has been assigned to the House Education Committee.

Bill limits solitary confinement

Rep. James Johnson, D-New Castle, has introduced a bill that puts a limit on the amount of time that a person may be ordered into solitary confinement as part of their sentence.

House Bill 36, introduced Jan. 29, changes the limit to 4 weeks, rather than 3 months. Additionally, the bill would not allow the Department of Corrections to use solitary confinement as a punishment for disciplinary violations for more than 15 consecutive days or 20 days out of any 60-day period. This legislation would also prohibit the use of solitary confinement as a disciplinary tool for the mentally ill or juveniles.

The bill has been assigned to the House Corrections Committee.

Bill limits conviction data for employers

Rep. James Johnson, D-New Castle, has introduced a bill that limits the conviction data provided to prospective employers to Class B misdemeanors convictions or greater.

A passing of House Bill 37, introduced Jan. 29, would mean criminal acts classified as unclassified misdemeanors or violations would not be disclosed for employment purposes.

Law enforcement agencies, courts and individuals and entities in the criminal justice system would still have access to an individual’s entire criminal history.

The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.

Bill decriminalizes marijuana

Rep. Helene Keeley, D-Wilmington South, introduced a bill Jan. 29 that would decriminalize the possession, or private use, of a personal amount of marijuana.

House Bill 39 defines personal amount as an ounce or less of marijuana and a person would be given a civil penalty that will not become part of a criminal record.

This bill does not repeal or modify existing laws relating to medical marijuana or penalties for the operation of motor vehicles under the influence.

The bill was assigned to the House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee.

Bill broadens illegal firearm purchases by police

Sen. Robert Marshall, D-Wilmington West, introduced a bill Jan. 29 that allows law enforcement officers to purchase firearms as undercover officers using Community Firearm Recovery Program funds.

Senate Bill 19 also says that no firearm recovered by an agency can be sold.

The bill has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Bill requires recording of all public hearings

Sen. Karen Peterson, D-Stanton, introduced a bill Jan. 29 that provides for recording and maintaining a record of all deliberations made by public bodies during public hearings, including any discussion made “off the record.”

Senate Bill 26 has been assigned to the Senate Executive Committee.

Bill prevents convicted criminals from receiving state pensions

Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes, introduced a bill Jan. 29 that stops individuals convicted of certain crimes from collecting their State pensions.

Under Senate Bill 27, crimes include, but are not limited to, manslaughter, murder, rape and sexual abuse.

The bill has been assigned to the Senate Executive Committee.

Bill protects cats under dangerous dog laws

Sen. Karen Peterson, D-Stanton, introduced a bill Jan. 29 that adds cats to the list of domestic animals that are protected under the dangerous dog law. The inclusion of cats was inadvertently repealed in 2010 when SB 240 and HB 419 were concurrently enacted.

Senate Bill 29 has been assigned to the Senate Health and Social Services Committee.

Casino support bill introduced

Sen. Brian Bushweller, D-Dover, introduced a bill Jan. 29 that adjusts the revenue sharing model between the state and the state’s three casinos in an attempt to keep the casino viable.

Senate Bill 30 has a number of stipulations that would take affect July 1, 2015, including the deduction of video game lottery equipment costs prior to the calculation of the state’s share of revenue; the elimination of the table game license fee; the revision of the state’s share of the gross table game revenues to 15 percent; and an increase of 1 percent in the purses paid to the state’s horse racing community by reduction the state’s share.

Beginning July 1, 2016, the bill would also gives casinos up to a 5 percent credit of video lottery proceeds on both marketing expenditures and capital expenditures.

 

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