Leg Hall Insider - 2/14/14

And Many More...

Rep. John Kowalko visited former Brookside resident Kitty Reynolds Tuesday to wish her a very happy 105th birthday! Though she now lives in Milford, Mrs. Reynolds was one of the first people Rep. Kowalko met while out knocking doors in Newark's 25th District during his run for office in 2006. 

He brought her a birthday cake from Bing's Bakery just like the one he and Gov. Jack Markell greeted her with when they celebrated her 100th birthday five years ago. The governor couldn't join her for her 105th, but he did congratulate Mrs. Reynolds by phone during Rep. Kowalko's visit and said he'll definitely plan to pay her a visit for 106.

Manufactured Housing Bills on Slate

Last year, the General Assembly passed landmark legislation providing manufactured housing residents with some rent stability by requiring homeowners and community owners go through mediation over rental rates that exceed CPI-U.

House Manufactured Housing Committee chair Rep. Paul Baumbach, who was the lead House sponsor of the rent justification law, is working on other bills to help improve the lives of manufactured housing residents. He introduced two before the legislature recessed last month, and he will pick those up when the General Assembly returns in March.

House Bill 233 cleans up a section of code that is out of date. It eliminates language concerning a Delaware Manufactured Home Relocation Authority requirement from the Delaware Code that has been fulfilled and is no longer relevant. The bill cleared committee last month.

House Bill 234 is designed to provide needed clarity to last year's rent justification system. Chief among these changes is a provision that requires market rent comparisons to be done community to community and not lot to lot. In the past eight months, there have been several examples of the new system being exercised, and the bill is aimed to correct some rough edges. Rep. Baumbach expects more committee review of this bill this spring.

Two bills he authored last year, House Bills 106 and 107, cleared the House last year and await action in the Senate.


A Path to Improving Route 1

A task force chaired by House Speaker Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf is recommending increased lighting, hybrid pedestrian signals and sidewalk and roadway improvements to make the Route 1 corridor in Lewes and Rehoboth Beach safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The Route 1 Pedestrian Safety Task Force outlined the problems and dangers facing pedestrians and cyclists traveling along the busy highway from Five Points to Dewey Beach town limits, particularly during the summer. A Delaware State Police review of pedestrian and cyclist accidents along Route 1 from 2011 through August 2013 showed 14 injuries and five fatalities.

In its 27-page report, the 14-member task force listed several recommendations, including:

• Add more overhead lighting throughout the corridor;
• Add bicycle-friendly rumble strips between through lanes and right-hand turn lanes to denote where drivers should enter the turn lane;
• Add a flashing caution pedestrian sign at the north end of the “Forgotten Mile.”
• Reduce access points to Route 1 by considering reconfigurations of current access points and not allowing the creation of new access points
• Support DelDOT plans to:
      o Add six new ADA-compliant crosswalks;
      o Add two pedestrian hybrid signals (HAWK beacons);
      o Add continuous sidewalks from north of Five Points (U.S. 9) intersection to Lewes-Rehoboth Canal Bridge;
      o Align bus stops with new crosswalks.

For more information and to read the full report, please click here.

Reps Featured on WHYY's "First"

Reps. Darryl Scott and J.J. Johnson joined two panels of lawmakers for discussions about the state budget and education policy this week on WHYY's Delaware-focused news program First.