Should we be satisfied, so far, with the performance of the 150th General Assembly?
Status of bills we supported or opposed
The 150th General Assembly finished up this year’s session early Sunday morning. Since the General Assembly has two year terms, it will be possible for these bills to be taken up in January of 2020.
HB 166–protecting kids from lead poisoning.
This bill passed the House of Representatives but not the Senate. Delawareans are indebted to Sarah Bucic and Amy Roe for their efforts. On the other hand, we should take note of the failure of Delaware’s medical and public health establishments to step up. And what about Governor Carney? See this previous alert.
Since including a paragraph on on DuPont/Chemours Chambers Works, we found this enlightening article, worth a read: “ DuPont’sMuseum of Disastrous Chemistry Continues to Spread Its Poison“
House Bill 212–protecting residents from a Waste Management (Inc.) expanded dump.
This bill passed the House but not the Senate. Concurrently, there is a DNREC permit application for the expanded dump,and this is likely to play out before next year.
One interesting aspect is that New Castle County officials are opposing the expansion because the county police headquarters is close to the dump. Artesian Water is also opposed and Artesian has a lot of political clout in Delaware. There is more than enough information in the record to support denial of the “vertical expansion.” Of course, many nearby residents also object, but the chances of the Carney administration’s DNREC paying attention to them is far less. More here. We shall see….
House Bill 184–protecting residents from a plastics “incinerator.”
This bill did not pass the House or the Senate. We owe thanks to John Flaherty for pointing hb 184 out to us. For more info see this Alert.
And thanks to the Delaware State News for publishing our commentary on HB 184. “ Commentary: Plastics bill would cause undue harm in Delaware.” (June 28, 2019)
It appears that 348 bills have so far been introduced in the 150th General Assembly, and if we count resolutions, amendments, and substitute bills, the number of items rises to 830. (The data provided by the General Assembly website is somewhat contradictory.)
Obviously no member could be familiar with all of these. There are good bills, bad bills, and indifferent bills. How many them are focusing on making life better for Delawareans? On protecting our human resources? Our natural resources? Our cultural resources? What percentage, do you think? Note that all three bills we’ve noticed are House, not Senate bills? Why is this?
On the other hand, shoveling out money to special interests is always popular with legislators.
Rep. John Kowalko, in my opinion Delaware’s most credible legislator, had this to say:
More corporate welfare= less good government=no transparency/public oversight
Once more we find our Budget Committees and the Administration’s financial advisers eager to make millions of Delaware taxpayer dollars available to private businesses with no mechanism to ensure a return on investment for our constituents.
Allocating another $25 million (FY 2019-2020) into the Delaware Strategic Fund will guarantee more corporate welfare recommended by the secretive Delaware Prosperity Partnership (also engorged with an additional $4 million in taxpayer dollars for their operating expenses???). This “public private partnership” was created (last session) with a questionably legal FOIA exemption despite my and a few others vote against.
Not one taxpayer dollar should be spent without total transparency and public awareness. Conveniently this powerful group’s board consists of a super majority of Chamber of Commerce and Corporate interests’ allies that will not be looking out for the public’s interests.
Meet the Delaware Prosperity Partnership’s Board of Directors:
Gov. John Carney, Governor of Delaware Co-Chair
Rod Ward III, President & CEO, CSC Co-Chair Desmond A. Baker, Founder, Desmond A. Baker & Association
Rep. William (Bill) Bush, Delaware House of Representatives, District 29
Patrick Callahan, Founder, CompassRed
Dr. Eric A. Cheek Professor, Delaware Technical Community College, Dover Campus
Doneene Damon, Executive Vice President, Richards, Layton, & Finger
Sen. Anthony Delcollo, Delaware Senate, District 7
Jeanmarie Desmond, Chief Financial Officer, DuPont
Robert Herrera, Co-Founder, The Mill
Ed Kee, Former Delaware Secretary of Agriculture
Nick Lambrow, President, M&T Bank, Delaware Region
Gregg Moore, Vice President, Becker Morgan Group
Lori Palmer, Director, Global Marketing, Wesco Aircraft
Rob Rider, CEO, O.A. Newton
Richelle Vible, Executive Director, Catholic Charities
Sen. Jack Walsh, Delaware Senate, District 9
Rep. Lyndon Yearick, Delaware House of Representatives, District 34 Kurt Foreman, President and CEO
[Note the disgraceful presence of the head of ‘Catholic Charities’ AM]
From their website is the following:
“In a state like Delaware, we know that a little can go a long way. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing you with the highest level of service, no matter how large or small your needs. If you’re looking for information on how to start a company in Delaware or a specific data point on any of Delaware’s major industries, know that you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to help you succeed. Learn more about our team and what drives us to make Delaware the nation’s best state for business”
You should note the absence any reference to the public interest.Visit this Delaware State News link: https://delawarestatenews.net/news/signed-sealed-and-delivered/
A Delaware State News wrap-up story notes, without apparent irony: “Included in the budget is $20 million for students who come from impoverished areas or don’t speak English as a native language, part of $75 million officials plan to spend over three years to help those often-ignored populations and to give elementary schoolers more mental health and reading support. The bond bill contains $20 million the state’s higher education institutions can access for economic development projects, as well as $425 million for transportation-related projects.”
We are well into Delaware’s bad air season and Thursday (June 27th) Friday (28th) and Saturday (June 30th) were Code Orange bad air days. Officially Code Orange means “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.” With the monstrous trump rolling back of Clean Air Act enforcement, the number of such days may increase.
Many people will experience some level of discomfort/distress from the combinations of air pollutants, allergens (pollen) and high temperature and humidity that often prevail in summertime Delaware. Also note that 4th of July fireworks cause a pulse of air pollutants.
These days the literature is full of (1) ever-growing evidence of the harm done by air pollution, and (2) trump rollbacks of environmental regulations, aimed directly at your health. This situation calls for state-level efforts to fill the collapse of federal environmental regulation. Delaware could take many steps, given the political will. Is this happening??
Climate change and sea level rise
I’ve been writing for perhaps 30 years about Delaware’s special vulnerability, as the lowest-lying coastal state, to climate change and the resulting sea level rise. Of course tiny Delaware can’t, by itself, abate global climate change, but it could sound the alarm and take protective measures for itself.
The DNREC, mostly the Coastal Programs shop, with federal funding, has convened committees to yak about the problem and write reports. (Green Delaware has never been invited to participate, nor would we expect to be.) At the same time, the state government is supporting development in the most vulnerable places, the lowest-lying and first to be under water. These include Delaware City, Fort Dupont, Wilmington’s Seventh Street Peninsula, and sprawling suburbia in Sussex County.
You can easily find all sorts of estimates, but ALL official estimates of sea level rise are likely to be lower than what will happen.
Rising seas: ‘Florida is about to be wiped off the map’
Earth’s oceans could rise over 6 feet by 2100 as polar ice melts, swamping coastal cities such as NYC
Was there a single bill or resolution, among those hundreds, addressing climate change and sea level rise? If so, please tell us about it.
At one time Green Delaware maintained some lobbying presence in the General Assembly. This largely ended, due to relentless harassment.
It’s no secret that Delaware is run as a safe harbor for corporate misconduct. The court system is run as a promoter of “economic development.” The state is proud of its role in chartering thousands of artificial business entities and accepting no responsibility for what they subsequently do.
Delaware has not had a seriously thoughtful governor since Russ Peterson (1968-1972). Inevitably, such a political system is hostile to independent voices and human–as opposed to corporate–citizens. so activist-type people seldom stick around in Delaware, and those that do pay a price–physically, emotionally, financially. All considered, it’s impressive how many people in Delaware do care and fight to make the state better. Still, not being in Delaware, for me, has a non-in-jail-any-longer feeling. I’m going to write a series about if but you can take a look at this from some years ago:
Evil in a small place–harassment and selective prosecution by New Castle County
And this from 2004:
“April 9, 2004. Harassment of activists and independent voices is common enough in Delaware, where mainstream environmental and civic organizations have close ties to the chemical and other industries.”
Tomorrow is celebrated the 4th of July: