Cape Gazette

Legislative Wrap

Jul 02, 2014

Bill closes firearm prohibition loopholes

Two loopholes in the Delaware law prohibiting the possession of a firearm would be closed if Senate Bill 12 is passed.

Introduced Jan. 20 by Sen. Bruce Ennis, D-Smyrna, the bill requires mandatory minimum sentences for adults who possess firearms and were convicted of a violent crime when they were 16 or 17 years of age and establishes mandatory minimum sentences for those who repeatedly violate state’s illegal possession law.

The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Bill lowers seat minimum to serve alcohol

A bill introduced Jan. 7 would lower the minimum number of patrons needed for a restaurant to serve alcohol from 35 to 12.

Rep. Paul Baumbach, D-Newark, introduced House Bill 16. It was reported out of committee Jan. 15 and passed through the House on Jan. 20. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Banking and Business Committee.

Bill changes UD zoning regulations

A bill introduced Jan. 20 by Rep. Paul Baumback, D-Newark, would require the University of Delaware to conform to local zoning restrictions if a structure being built on its property is a commercial development.

Currently the university is allowed to build without approval from local planning regulators. House Bill 6 says only structures for student or academic services can be built without regard to local zoning.

The bill would affect the university's property in Lewes, Georgetown, Dover, Newark and Wilmington. The bill has been assigned to the House Administration Committee.

Task force report calls for minimum wage increase

A state level task force has made recommended that Delawareans who work for minimum wage should get a pay raise that would be annually adjusted to compensate for inflation.

The Low Wage, Service Industry Task Force released a report Jan. 16 calling for increasing the state’s minimum wage to $10.25 per hour by 2017. That wage would be indexed to the Consumer Price Index to account for inflationary pressures. The report said the state should move to a minimum wage in the $15 per hour range.

The report's other recommendations include increasing and indexing of the minimum wage paid to tipped workers; increasing the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit and possibly making the credit refundable; giving the state’s Labor Department clear authority in cases of unpaid overtime and shielding employees who report violations of wage and hour laws; increasing investment in training programs for unemployed workers; and developing a program to pay for needed infrastructure work.

Bill improves school safety

A bill requiring a number of safety measures on all new school construction or major renovations was assigned to the House Education Committee Jan. 14.

House Bill 27, introduced by Rep. Earl Jaques, D-Glasgow, would require an intruder alarm, bulletproof glass in entrance areas and interior doors and windows, and doors lockable with keys on both sides.

The bill would also require all new school construction plans to be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget’s facilities management section for compliance with these requirements.

Task force would examine learning needs of blind and visually impaired

Sen. Dave Lawson, R-Marydel, has introduced legislation to create a task force to examine whether the complex educational needs of students in Delaware with visual impairments are being met.

The bi-partisan bill would establish the Blind and Visually Impaired Education Task Force.

The panel would scrutinize the structure and programs offered by the Delaware Division for the Visually Impaired. The task force would also examine funding sources for the DVI, which has surpassed its legislatively mandated student-teacher ratio of 28 to 1.

The 28-member panel would be mandated to report its recommendations and findings to the General Assembly by June 1.

Bill allows for harvesting of gray foxes

A bill has been introduced that authorizes the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to allow the harvesting of gray foxes.

Introduced Jan. 14 by Rep. David Wilson, R-Bridgeville, House Bill 25 has been assigned to the House Natural Resources Committee.

Bill allows banks to buy own stock

A bill that authorizes the state's Bank Commissioner to allow a bank to buy its own capital stock is making its way through the legislative process.

Introduced Jan. 9 by Speaker of the House Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth, House Bill 20 was passed by the House unanimously Jan. 15 and then assigned to the Senate Banking and Business Committee.

Schwartzkopf said the bill is a corrective measure on an 80-year-old law. He said a bank would still require approval from the commissioner before any sale went through.

Bill removes $10 license plate fee

House Bill 21 removes the $10 administrative fee for applicants requesting the Gold Star family special license plate. The plate is in recognition of a close relative’s death while serving in the military.

The bill was introduced Jan. 14 by Rep. Sean Matthews, D-Talleyville, passed by the House on Jan. 20 and then assigned to the Senate Veteran Affairs Committee.


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