Cape Gazette

Legislative Wrap

Jul 02, 2014

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 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 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 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 The inclusion of cats was inadvertently repealed in 2010 when SB 240 and HB 419 were concurrently enacted.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.

Bill establishes Right To Try law

Sen. Colin Bonini, R-Dover South, introduced a bill Thursday, Feb. 12, that allows terminally ill patients to have access to investigational medications that have passed basic FDA safety tests but are not yet on the market.

According to a Bonini press release, terminally ill Americans must navigate an expensive and time consuming process with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration if they want to try a drug that is still under development, even if it has been effective in clinical trials.

The release said the law allows patients and their doctors to work directly with companies that have promising drugs under development.

Last year, five states – Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan and Missouri – adopted Right To Try laws. Delaware would be the 27th state to introduce the law this year.

Bill increases voter participation

Rep. Earl Jaques, D-Glasgow, announced Tuesday, Feb. 24, that he will file legislation aimed at increasing voter participation.

The draft measure would extend absentee voting to all eligible Delaware voters by removing a handful of requirements limiting when a person can vote by absentee ballot. Under current state law, absentee voting is limited to only those who are unable to physically make it to their polling place on Election Day. Those reasons are limited to eight situations, such as being in the military, sick or physically disabled, on vacation or religious reasons.

The proposal was first introduced during the 147th General Assembly in 2013, but House Bill 20 failed along party lines. The draft measure would be the first leg of a constitutional amendment. If it passes the General Assembly during this two-year session, an identical version must pass the 149th General Assembly, which begins in 2017.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 27 states and Washington D.C., already have no-excuse absentee voting. Neighboring states New Jersey and Maryland are among those states.

Jaques expects to introduce the measure when the House returns to session in March.



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