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.

Delaware Public Media

Fifty years ago this Saturday, protesters marched on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama to advocate for voting equality. The peaceful marchers were met with billy clubs and violence from Alabama state troopers, and media coverage of the event helped galvanize mass support around the Civil Rights Movement.

This weekend, a record number of lawmakers are traveling down to Selma to commemorate that day, including Delaware’ junior senator, Chris Coons (D-Delaware).

The more than 80 percent of Delawareans eligible for insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act Marketplace could find themselves facing much higher premiums depending how the U.S. Supreme Court decides a case challenging to President Obama’s signature health care law.

The nation’s court heard oral arguments this week in King v. Burwell, which calls into question whether subsidies for insurance can be provided in states that have not set up their own exchanges.

Strine, Markell clash over budget priorities

Mar 7, 2015

Delaware’s top judge says he’s “disappointed” with Gov. Jack Markell’s (D) proposed operating and capital budgets.

Chief Justice Leo Strine Jr. recently presented a larger spending plan before the Joint Finance and Bond Bill committees, saying that Markell “did not account for the critical needs of the judiciary.”

Gov. Markell: No state of emergency

Mar 7, 2015

Gov. Jack Markell (D) is holding off on declaring a state of emergency or implementing a driving ban as snow continues to fall across the state.

"We're constantly evaluating whether a state of emergency would be warranted, but at this time, with schools and state offices closed, many drivers are already staying off the road and DelDOT has been able to sufficiently keep up with this storm on the primary roads," Markell said.

He notes that his office will reevaluate that decision as the day goes on.

Delaware Public Media

Delaware’s junior Senator Chris Coons joined two of his Democratic colleagues in introducing a bill Wednesday aimed at reforming the nation’s patent system.

If passed, the STRONG Patent Act would address so-called “patent trolls” that buy patents in order to allege copyright infringement and win settlements in court.

The law would, among other things, make it harder to file patent suits and make rules for reviewing patents clearer.

Delaware Public Media

Delaware’s congressional delegation is responding to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech in the nation’s capital Tuesday.

Netanyahu criticized an emerging deal between the West and Iran over its nuclear program; while negotiators have until the end of the month to finalize an agreement, some details have emerged, including halting Iran’s nuclear activity for 10 years in exchange for easing sanctions.

'Opt-out' efforts may come to a head in March

Mar 3, 2015
Delaware Public Media

The movement to allow kids and families to opt-out of state standardized testing could spark a full review of how Delaware tests its students.

Rep. Earl Jaques (D-Glasgow), head of the House Education Committee, says he’s talking with the Markell Administration to comprehensively review all state testing, which he says makes up about 70 percent of all testing.

It’s in response to a bill supporting the “opt-out” initiative that takes direct aim at the state’s new Smarter Balanced annual assessment.

Delaware Public Media

Ken Branner will remain Middletown’s mayor.  

Voters convincingly gave the 68 year-old Branner a 14th term Monday.  Branner defeated a pair of challengers, 18 year-old University of Delaware student Shlok Desai and 48 year-old Sanjay Patel, earning 940 of 1,176 votes cast.  Branner was first elected mayor in 1989.

In Town Council races, incumbents Jason Faulkner and Andrew Chas won re-election to two-year terms.  Howard Young Jr. won his first two year term on council.

Anne Hoffman/Delaware Public Media

US Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs Robert McDonald toured the Wilmington VA Medical Center Monday with Senator Tom Carper.

The Wilmington VA Medical Center was tagged last year for “further review” last June by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  It was one of 112 VA medical centers singled out for further scrutiny after a nationwide examination of centers regarding lengthy wait times for medical appointments. Secretary McDonald says the results of that additional review are still pending because of the volume of facilities the Inspector General has to complete.

Delaware Public Media

Rep. Earl Jaques (D-Glasgow), the new head of the House Education Committee, continues to make waves, calling for a new, state-of-the-art public high school in Wilmington.

Jaques asked lawmakers on the Joint Bond Bill Committee to set aside an unknown amount of money for the proposal Monday.

“If you’re going to have neighborhood schools, you need to have complete neighborhood schools so that you don’t just have it partially like we have today,” he said.