What’s going on in the Delaware legislature? Those guys love to make laws, let’s check up on what they’re up to. The 1/29/16 Edition

Here’s a review of this past week’s Delaware state legislature activity and we’ve got wise insights into this ultrasound bill, the BEST legislation (yes, it happens seldom but it happens and the dumbest bill of the week.

Restricting Money Usage

It’s interesting that the sponsors of this bill are Brian Pettyjohn and David Wilson. These are two very obvious Sussex county legislators.

I’m not sure I think this is a good idea at all.

What…we are now going to allocate on event certain how the realty transfer tax is to be used? This transfer tax brings millions into Sussex county, this is no secret.

The Delaware Farmland Preservation Fund was created under the Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Act in order to conserve, protect, and encourage improvement of agricultural lands within the State. The Legislature has previously expressed its desire that $10 million in receipts from the State Realty Transfer Tax be allocated annually to this fund in order to accomplish its goals. This Act is the first leg of a constitutional amendment that will make this allocation binding on all future administrations and General Assemblies, thus allowing this essential program to continue protecting one of our State’s most important resources.

This bill came out of committee on 1/19/16.

Note that this is an attempt to make this requirement a constitutional amendment binding all future administrations.

This is a really dumb idea but kudos to Pettyjohn and Wilson for heartily representing their constituents.

But let’s not bind future legislatures with dumb rules that we make today.

Perhaps for a couple of years we allocate some realty transfer tax for farmland preservation. The fact is that Sussex county farmland, save for the chicken farms, is going to go the way of housing developments, at which point this law will be pointless.

UPDATE I am most blessed by a mentor who shall remain nameless for now, insert wink here, and am updated about this proposed legislation.

It would turn out that this bill is an attempt to make the legislature adhere to the Delaware code, which stipulates that ten million dollars be spent for farmland preservation.  It would seem that when something called the “Bond Bill” is passed, the amount allocated to farmland preservation is often changed to finance other things.  “Why can the Bond Bill override Delaware code?” I asked my mentor.  Well it turns out is just can and it happens all the time.

Which brings up the matter of that constitutional amendment which, my mentor asserts, will prevent legislators from arbitrarily changing state low.

I then asked my mentor why put into the Delaware constitution an amendment for ten million for farmland preservation, a concept that riles me let me be honest in that we need new sand dunes down on the beaches where the revenue REALLY comes into Delaware as opposed to more farmland.  My mentor explained that a future legislature can always RE-amend the constitution.

I’m not sure this is a good idea but I get the concept.

Did you know it takes TWO super-majorities to amend the Delaware  constitution?

I got a great mentor, did I mention that?

I have no idea why this legislation was proposed except I kind of think it has something to do with the contretemps in the Sussex county Department of Wills.

This Act provides that appraisal for the value of goods and chattel seized by execution shall be done using generally recognized appraisal standards based on the type of property seized and/or the training and experience of the constable. For example, an automobile would be appraised using the generally accepted industry standard of the Kelly Blue Book. If no such standard valuation of goods is available, the officer shall use his or her training, education and experience in valuing the goods, as has been the tradition. Additionally, this Act provides that the Justice of the Peace Court will develop rules and/or policy regarding the bidding process to promote a fair value sale, to the benefit of both the judgment creditor and the judgment debtor.

Johnson Additional Sponsor(s): Rep. Yearick & Rep. Bolden & Rep. Viola & Sen. Henry & Sen. Pettyjohn

This bill came out of committee on 1/27/16

It looks like common sense to me and I’m not sure why it needs to be in writing but I recall some fuss at the office of wills and how things were appraised.

I kind of think this might be directed at Dave Wilson

UPDATE  So my mentor informs me that this has nothing to do with the office of Wills, Dave Wilson or anything like that.

What this bill wants to do is assign a minimum price at which seized assets are sold at a Sheriff’s sale.  This will prevent a ten thousand dollar boat from being sold for a hundred dollars, for example.

Although I was speculating about the Sussex Office of Wills, the same principle still applies I’d argue to my mentor.

This looks like an attempt to prevent what happened to the BankofAmerica mortgage settlement. Which had the legislature using this money to pay Delaware bills when, as was argued, should rightfully have went to mortgage holders who lost their property due to ill-considered mortgage loans.

Although let us note that the proposed legislation requires settlements over $2 million to be deposited into the transportation trust fund no matter the source and reason of the legal settlement.

I note that Bryant Richardson is a co-sponsor of this bill, interesting.

House Bill 256

Primary Sponsor(s): Matthews Additional Sponsor(s): Sen. Peterson

Co-Sponsors: Reps. Lynn, Ramone; Sens. Hocker, Richardson


Synopsis of Original Bill:
(without Amendments) This bill requires that any one-time settlement money that has a value to the state (after payments and distributions required by the terms of the settlement) of more than $2 million shall be deposited to the Transportation Trust Fund. This promotes fiscal responsibility and integrity by curtailing the use of settlement moneys to offset deficiencies in the General Fund in a manner that is unsustainable – while at the same time providing additional moneys for the chronically under-resourced Transportation Trust Fund. The bill is modeled on a Massachusetts statute requiring similar settlement moneys to be deposited to the state’s rainy day fund. This section does not apply to penalties or fines that are appropriated by statute to the enforcing department or agency.

Now in House Transportation/Land Use and Infrastructure Committee   On  01/26/16

This is Senate Bill 139 and while it looks like a good idea to grab owed child support out of delinquent parents’ “accounts”, why are only “voluntary” accounts the only ones that can be attached.

This bill effectively saves state employees from having their state retirement accounts attached for back child support cannot be touched.

Why? Perhaps these state employees should have paid their child support, huh? This bill penalizes the schlub working at a private business who creates his or her own personal IRA for retirement while protecting the schlub smart enough to work for the state of Delaware.

I might add, REPUBLICAN primary sponsor, Ernesto Lopez, IS A state employee….protecting his cohorts it would seem.

Primary Sponsor(s): Lopez Additional Sponsor(s): Sen. Lavelle & Rep. Dukes

Introduced On: 06/16/2015


Synopsis of Original Bill:
(without Amendments) Over the past several years, the federal government and states have begun to place liens on retirement accounts held by noncustodial parents who owe past due child support. This Bill will amend the Delaware Code to include public and private retirement fund accounts by including them in the definition of “account.” Only those accounts that are created and funded voluntarily are included in the definition, thus excluding certain pension and state retirement accounts.

Current Status: House Health & Human Development Committee On 01/27/16

Again, Delaware state employees make out like bandits, getting 12 weeks of paid leave after birthing or adopting a child.

This is how gubmint grows unchecked. Cause any regular worker in the private sector out there reading this should now know that if you want it all….WORK FOR THE STATE OF DELAWARE!

Bah, humbug.

House Bill 165

Primary Sponsor(s): Heffernan Additional Sponsor(s): Sen. McDowell

Introduced On: 06/03/2015


Synopsis of Original Bill:
(without Amendments) This legislation requires that all full-time employees of the State, including employees of school districts, continuously in the employ of the state for at least one year, shall be eligible for 12 weeks of paid leave upon the birth or adoption of a child 6 years of age or younger. Both parents would be eligible for such leave. Employees shall continue to have the right, as they do under current law, to use accrued sick leave for maternity and paternity purposes. This legislation leaves intact the rights of persons adopting a child over 6 years of age to take unpaid leave. Due to lack of adequate paid family leave policies, many parents must return to work sooner than is optimal for the health of mothers (in the case of biological birth) and children. Granting paid leave will contribute to the establishment of parent-child bonds, breastfeeding establishment, and allow infants to receive vaccines and develop stronger immune systems prior to entering daycare. Further, a more generous leave policy will increase the productivity of workers and reduce employee turnover.

Current Status: Out of Committee On 01/27/16

Increase in Minimum Wage Passes in Senate

OMG….do these people ever freaking stop? Note that one greedy lawmaker wanted to make increasing minimum wage in tandem with social security COLA. He pulled that provision out when it appeared to be a bit much THIS time. It’ll come up next time cause give them an inch and they will always take a mile.

This bill provides for an increase of the minimum wage by .50 cents per year for the next 4 years beginning June 1, 2016 and adds a COLA increase thereafter.

SB 39 w/SA 3 LOT Marshall This bill provides for an increase of the minimum wage by .50 cents per year for the next 4 years beginning June 1, 2016 and adds a COLA increase thereafter. AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 19 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO MINIMUM WAGE.

Legislation to increase Delaware’s current $8.25 minimum wage by $2 over four years has passed the state Senate after generating heated discussion among lawmakers.

The bill cleared the Democrat-led Senate on an 11-to-8 party line vote Wednesday and now goes to the House.

To increase the bill’s chances, chief sponsor Robert Marshall, a Wilmington Democrat, withdrew a provision that called for cost-of-living adjustments tied to Social Security benefit increases starting in 2021.

Supporters say the measure will help struggling low-wage earners. Opponents say it will lead to businesses cutting jobs, hiring fewer workers, especially young people, and even leaving Delaware.

Marshall previously added an amendment delaying the start of the annual 50-cent increases until 2017, instead of this year.

Democratic Gov. Jack Markell won’t say whether he supports the bill.


Let’s take a look at a citizen who took the time to explain why increasing minimum wage hurts his business.

sf1.26.15dellegisduckcitizenminimumwageA quick defense of why i felt the need to leave work yesterday and go testify in front of the Senate in regards to the proposed minimum wage increase in Delaware… As a small business owner who employees roughly 60 people both part and full time i am dramatically effected by the Senate Bill 39. Out of my 60 employees only 10% are currently making minimum wage, the other 90% are making more. The first problem with increasing the wage to an eventual $10.25/hr is it only covers your beginning workers. How about all the other employees? Everyone gets a pay raise no matter what. A perfect example is last June when Delaware had their second minimum wage increase in 2 years. On that Friday when the increase took effect i had 60 employees get a raise. Yeah it may have only been $.50/hr, but when you add that to every employee times a 40 hr work week times 52 that number becomes a lot bigger than $.50. What some people also don’t understand is that as an employer there are other items that are effected by your weekly and annual payroll. Every week I’m subject to paying the federal 941 payroll taxes.

My portion that is beyond my payroll obligation is the % match of my employees medicare and social security deduction. Other factors are an increase in my workers comp fee (has been increased multiple times by our business frienly state over the past several years) which is based on my annual payroll, I will see in increase in both my federal and state unemployment tax, as well as my Delaware Training fund tax. At the end of the day how much can i charge to wash a car before it’s too much? I have to staff so many people on a given day to try and provide the highest quality product. Some people say they will cut jobs with the wage increase. I don’t see how i will be able to do that and still produce the same product i expect to produce. I’m going to be forced to raise prices year after year until it gets to the point where i may have to consider changing my business model. Maybe i invest some money into 15 self service vacuums between the 2 locations and go to free vacuum and glamorized exterior wash and just eliminate the labor all together.

I could go on forever but i want to end by saying that i do anything and everything i can to try and provide my guys and girls with a good job that pays a fair wage. I care about each and every one of them and how they live outside of work. I don’t run a sweat shop that encourages people to live in poverty. I wish the democrats that voted yes last night would come sit in my shoes for just one week and see how difficult it can be as a small business owner. If Senate Bill 39 takes effect we will see a minimum wage increase beginning June 2017 every year through 2020 on top of the other 2 increases we saw in 2014 and 2015. With an increase 6 out of 7 years minimum wage will have increased nearly 30%. I encourage anyone who agrees with some of my points to contact members of the house and encourage them to vote NO when it’s their turn to vote on Senate Bill 39. Garrett Grier (Owner Duck In Car Wash)

House Economic Development/Banking/Insurance/Commerce Committee   On  01/28/16

Some Social Bills

I had lunch the other day with a dear friend who owns a home in a manufactured housing development.

Yes indeed, I sure got two sides of the picture.

She complained that while her lot rental increases every year, that the services provided her keep decreasing.

Let me add here that I spent many years working for a big owner of manufactured housing developments and I know that side too.

The problem here, not that I don’t have to explain everything, is that the business of renting land to owners of mobile homes that sit atop, is that the “customer” -ie the owner of the mobile home, is denied, effectively, the benefits of competition.

For if it were a sandwich at a local shop that so displeased her she could easily stop using that shop and buy her sandwiches elsewhere.

With her home sitting comfortably atop a piece of land she rents, she can’t just pick up and leave for her displeasure.

Delaware, in the form of lawmakers, keeps trying to write laws to insert competition into this business and we end up with the gubmint telling a local entrepreneur how much he or she can charge….yada, yada.

Add the local angle here in Delaware, in that New Castle county could care less about manufactured housing developments so they’ll vote in favor of any damn law that stops those horrible manufactured housing development owners from making a profit….go to hell.

While Sussex county thrives and breathes, with its tourist industry, on manufactured housing developments and….lookit….there’s problems.

I think my friend has a point. I explained to her that Delaware now has a law requiring owners of manufactured housing parks to justify seemingly unjustifiable increases.

The really sad thing here is that the people the laws our legislature makes that are supposed to be helped don’t understand a thing about it all.

I don’t know what HB188 is all about but it’s in the genre of the ever-increasing insertion of the gubmint into a private business and guys, there’s got to be a better way.

This bill clarifies the requirement of filing an appeal within 30 days of a final meeting. The bill also clarifies that the community owner may elect to hold informal meetings prior to the final meeting. Finally, the bill provides that any agreement to extend an informal or final meeting must be in writing, specifying the date of the continued or extended meeting, signed by the community owner, and approved by the Authority.
This bill also expands the scope of Superior Court’s review to include correction of legal error and the existence of substantial evidence to support the arbitrator’s decision.

So the gubmint has to further clarify “bullying” as in HB250 .

Again we got the mighty Delaware gubmint trying to stop bullying , which a good notions.

In 2014, the Legislature passed a bill adding instances of “reported and recorded” bullying to the list of reasons why a child could be withdrawn from a choice or charter school before the expiration of the statutory minimum enrollment period or why an application for admission or withdrawal could be accepted outside of the statutory timeframe for submission. This bill seeks to clarify and strengthen that law by adding a requirement that the instance of bullying must also be substantiated. This will ensure the integrity of the law by limiting its exploitation by persons who wish to change schools for unrelated reasons, but preserving the exception for children truly in need of special consideration due to school bullying.

But evidently when they passed this bill in 2014, a bill which would expel children from state-supported charer schools if they bully other children….evidently they forgot to add that this bullying must be documented.

Janey, for example, can’t accuse Susie of calling her names in the school yard and that’s all we need before taking action.

Nobody told the lawmakers that people sometimes lie and cheat.



Anybody thinks this a noble piece of legislation raise their hand. Cause I got a bridge to sell you, cheap.

HB259 wants to prohibit ultrasounds for anything other than diagnostic procedures. It says it’s not a good idea to do ultrasounds often because it’s bad for your health.

Or something.


The bill says that ultrasounds should be prohibited for such as picture keepsakes.

Come on people….most such ultrasound pictures are a direct result of ultrasounds done in the process of obstetrical examination.

sf1.28.16dellegisultrasoundThis bill is an attempt to STOP showing women considering abortions pictures of their unborn baby. Somebody from Planned Parenthood, the abortion mill that makes millions, got some Delaware legislator to introduce this piece of insufferable legislation.

Studies show that women considering abortion very often back down once they see that what they are treating as a cavalier inconvenience is really a living human being.

Planned Parenthood can’t have that.

This bill prohibits persons from performing an obstetrical ultrasound procedure unless such procedure is for a medical or diagnostic purpose. The FDA has raised concerns about the use of diagnostic ultrasound equipment for keepsake videos and views such use as an unapproved use of a medical devise….more

House Health & Human Development Committee   On  01/27/16

So Ruth Briggs-King pet project, HJ4, strives to teach school children about….what? Finance?

Isn’t this why kids go to school in the first place?

Now I’m not faulting King, who is one of my more favored legislators . Because yes, I think she’s right. We have kids graduating from our high schools who can’t balance a checkbook much less make a budget.

It doesn’t help that the gubmint gives these young people free money that will be a financial noose around their necks for the rest of their lives in the form of student loans.

Here’s my anecdote….I got a nephew, graduated from college but is so tied down with college loans he simply cannot get ahead.

And this may be because he accepted HUGE student loans when in college that he may live in Spain and Scotland while in college and have a blast.

No way should that boy-child (then 18, now 30) have been given over a hundred grand in student loans that he might merrily traipse around the planet.

I do not cast aspersions on my nephew; he was just a kid and the money given him was, in his mind, free money. Now he suffers for not being able to get out from under.

Seems he learned, in his late 20’s, that when money is loaned to you it is expected to be paid back.

So Ruthie….be sure to make sure that task force looks into the guilt of the gubmint on these young inexperienced financial minds.

Many students in Delaware schools are failing to receive the education and training that is required to achieve the financial literacy required to be productive citizens.
This joint resolution is designed to establish a task force to study and make findings concerning financial literacy education in Delaware.
The task force will also make policy and program recommendations that will help increase the financial literacy of our students.

Below a quote from Rep. Ruth Briggs-King herself:

My legislation aimed at helping Delaware’s young adults get the skills they need in order to handle money and debt has passed the House and is now in the Senate for consideration there,

Last week, the House unanimously approved House Joint Resolution 4, a bipartisan measure creating a 16-member task force. The group’s report, due by June 30th, would be used by the State Board of Education to develop a regulatory framework for strengthening financial literacy at all grade levels.

This is an issue that I firmly believe in because adults lacking a grounding on how to evaluate financial decisions are at-risk for falling into difficulties. Whether it be student loans, payday loans or title loans, from the minute they become an adult there is the potential for them to become indebted for most of their lives.

It is my hope that better education will help future young adults avoid becoming servants to their debts.

The resolution is pending action in the Senate Education Committee. As an HJR, it requires the signature of the governor to be enacted and will carry the weight to law once it is signed.

Out of Committee   On  01/27/16

Heh, so our legislators apologized for slavery. Man, how damn dumb is this?

Mine own Representative, Steve Smyk, said on WGMD one day that clerics from the Wilmington black community swore that if the slavery apology was issued that Wilmington crime would decrease.

Smyk says he’s going to hold them to it and I am going to hold Smyk into checking on it in about a year
So the Senate passed the death penalty removal but the House did not.

Don’t nobody tell the legislators this cause they obviously do not want to learn….but AMERICANS WANT THE DEATH PENALTY! Even in Delaware.

Cause Delaware once before removed the death penalty and guess what? THEY HAD TO PUT IT BACK!!!

Pete Schwartzkopf did a helluva job introducing this bill but the House is filled with legislators that are closer to the people than the vaunted state senators. Not to mention Republicans are more plentiful in Delaware’s House.

Best Legislation Passed

Senate Passed   On  01/21/2016 04:38:59 PM


I was going to put a long quote here regarding HB235 but yon reader should read mine own spreadsheet calculation done in THIS POST

So if I complain the rule is I should compliment when required. THIS is the best legislation passed by the Delaware legislature so far, proving there really IS a need for lawmakers.

The difference here is that this legislation will make life BETTER for Delawareans rather than place more endless burdens upon them.

Basically this law makes Delaware fair in how it allocates Delaware taxable income. Now the ratio to determine that amount involved payroll paid in Delaware, property owned in Delaware, and sales of product in Delaware.

The new law will make only SALES in Delaware as a basis to determine corporate income subject to Delaware income tax.

Using logic, why should Delaware be, effectively, punishing a corporation for paying Delaware citizens or owning and maintaining property in Delaware?

By my calculation in the link above, a company making 500 million gross a year will enjoy a drop in Delaware taxable income of over a million dollars.

There were a few other stipulations in this bill that seemed thoughtful and forward-thinking.

KUDOS to the Delaware legislators for passing a bill that will make Delaware a better place to live and own a business.


I kind of like this and I note that the sponsors are Republican although I have issues with Greg Lavelle, who MSNBC referred to as a “shining star”…yeah, MSNBC.

The bill will require elected officials to disclose just how many state agencies they work for and the state auditor will determine if Senator Joe Blow is doing two jobs at one time and getting paid for both.

Primary Sponsor(s): Hudson Additional Sponsor(s): Rep. Ramone & Sen. Lavelle


Synopsis of Original Bill:
(without Amendments) This bill requires an elected official or other paid appointed official of this state or any county or political subdivision who is also employed by any state agency, education, or other institution, or any other political subdivision of this State to disclose such employment to the Public Integrity Commission (PIC). This disclosure will assist the PIC and the State Auditor in evaluating if the official is receiving dual pay for coincident hours of work.

House House Administration Committee   On  01/20/16

Seriously the dumbest bill of the week.

I understand that legislatures do this sort of thing all the time but really…”women in construction”?

This resolution recognizes the NAWIC Delaware Chapter 96 and designates March 6 through 12, 2016 as “Women in Construction Week.”

McBride sponsor

The Future

I have every intention of following the actions of our state legislature and be patient with me, I am learning.

I will be fair and at times I will be contacting state legislators to get their take on things.

You’re gonna love it….tune it for wise and funny updates.
I do not respond to comments on my posts. I certainly have no problem with such commentary and, indeed, encourage it. But I’ve written my piece and I don’t want to argue it further.
Please feel free to email me at patfish1@aol.com if you want to send me a special comment or have any ideas or information you want to share.

NEXT : Perhaps a review of the recent Republican debate and of course the Sunday political talk show post. Check in, you never know what you’re gonna get.

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