Delaware Public Media

Politics & Government

Delaware Public Media's coverage of First State politics and government, including the General Assembly. Coverage is led by Delaware Public Media's political reporter Sarah Mueller.

UD, DSU transparency bills return

Mar 20, 2015
Delaware Public Media

Open government advocates are renewing their fight to make Delaware’s universities more transparent.

Rep. John Kowalko (D-Newark South) introduced legislation that would require the University of Delaware and Delaware State University to fully comply with the state’s Freedom of Information Act – including their Board of Trustees.

Delaware Public Media

Despite the sunny sky and warm spring temperatures in Dover, it was a gloomy start for the General Assembly reconvening after a month of early budget hearings.

The Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council or DEFAC released its latest revenue projections Monday, reporting a $45 million dollar downtick that took lawmakers by surprise.

Karl Malgiero/Delaware Public Media

Delaware’s minimum wage could be among the highest in the nation under a new bill set to be introduced in the state Senate.

Sen. Robert Marshall’s (D-Wilmington West) proposal would hike the state’s minimum wage to $10.25 per hour by 2019 and tie the figure to inflation from 2019 on.

Delaware Public Media

An effort to ban electronic cigarettes or e-cigs from indoor public places is back before lawmakers this year.
Rep. Debra Heffernan (D-Bellefonte, Claymont, Edgemoor), an environmental toxicologist, is offering the same legislation she pushed a year ago, saying that cancer-causing elements are emitted in vapor expelled by the user.

Delaware Public Media

Balancing the First State’s budget just got a bit more difficult for lawmakers.

The latest revenue estimate from Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council or DEFAC cut $45 million from the state’s bottom line as the General Assembly works to build the state’s Fiscal year 2016 spending plan.  

A $25 million drop in abandoned property collections in the current fiscal year was the biggest budgetary dent in DEFAC’s first forecast since December.

Anne Hoffman/Delaware Public Media

Attorney General Matt Denn is asking lawmakers to change Delaware’s Violent Felony Law.

If approved, legislation Denn is backing would strike drug possession without intent to sell from the state violent felony list. The Attorney General says simply possessing a small amount of drugs is not, in itself, a violent crime. Beyond that, it’s expensive.

Lawmakers take issue with concrete crushing permit

Mar 17, 2015
Delaware Public Media

Two New Castle County lawmakers are calling on DNREC to block a permit application for a concrete crushing operation just south of Wilmington.

Senate Majority Leader David McBride and Rep. James Johnson told state officials to reject a permit application from Diamond Materials LLC for a roving cement crusher at 200 Marsh Lane.

In the weekly Republican message, state Representative Dave Wilson criticized Governor Jack Markell’s administration for defunding Delaware’s Farmland Preservation Program.

That program sets aside money every year for the state to buy development rights to farm property, ensuring it remains in agricultural use. Wilson says Markell has depleted the program’s fund for the past five years, including in his proposed fiscal year 2016 budget, which would only provide 30 percent of the $10 million in annual funding originally intended.

Tom Byrne/Delaware Public Media

Gov. Jack Markell (D) is touting an effort to curb excessive testing in his weekly message.

Markell announced the move Thursday, which would set aside money for school districts to inventory the tests they give students and getting rid of those they find ineffective.

He says that extra time can be better used in the classroom.

The governor also took issue with a bill just introduced in the state House that would allow parents to opt their kids out of the new Smarter Balanced Assessment.

Delaware Public Media

On Thursday night, Wilmington City Council voted to approve two budget amendments.

The first amendment will add $1.2 million for police overtime through June 30, 2015. That amendment will also fund the creation of a Town Watch Crime Reduction Website.

Mayor Dennis Williams (D) says the funding comes at a good time.