Delaware Public Media

Legislative Update

Daily during Morning Edition & All Things Considered (during General Assembly session)

Delaware Public Media Political Reporter James Dawson covers the state's General Assembly each and every day lawmakers are in session.  You can hear his in-depth reports on what's happening at Legislative Hall during both Morning Edition and All Things Considered. 

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Those with disabilities in Delaware could save for their future without losing federal benefits under a new bill in Delaware.

Legislation would create a tax-exempt savings account under the federal ABLE Act that Congress passed last year.

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Gov. Jack Markell is ordering a moratorium on all new charter school applications for the 2016-17 school year.

Markell made the announcement at Thursday’s State Board of Education Meeting alongside calling for a review of all school programs and assess demand for different subjects.

Both initiatives came from a preliminary report from the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee, which Markell says need to be applied statewide.

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Anti death penalty advocates kicked off their latest repeal campaign in earnest at Legislative Hall Wednesday.

About 30 people showed up to a press conference held in the Senate chamber to officially announce the bill, which would repeal Delaware’s death penalty, but not retroactively to those already on death row.

Tom Byrne/Delaware Public Media

The overhaul of Delaware’s Supreme Court is nearly complete as senators unanimously confirmed Collins “CJ” Seitz to sit on the state’s highest judicial body.

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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.

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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.

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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.