Leg. Hall Insider, April 11, 2014

Women Rally for Equal Pay

Rep. Stephanie T. Bolden discusses her personal experiences of doing the same job as her male counterparts but being paid less. Her remarks were part of an Equal Pay Day event at Legislative Hall this week, where women pushed to receive equal pay for equal work. Statistics show women are paid 77 cents for every dollar that a man earns for the same job. That disparity is larger for minority women.

Also pictured are Reps. Debra Heffernan and Rebecca Walker, Sen. Nicole Poore, Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, Reps. Kim Williams and Valerie Longhurst, Ramona Fullman, Reps. Debbie Hudson and Ruth Briggs King and Sen. Margaret Rose Henry. Also present but not pictured were Reps. Paul Baumbach, Charles Potter Jr. and John Viola.

Video Wrap: Package to Strengthen Ethics Office

Dover Rep. Darryl Scott gives the weekly wrap-up and discusses a package of five bills House Democrats introduced this week to strengthen Delaware’s Public Integrity Commission by giving it the ability to move more of its required documentation online, and hold the people it regulates more accountable when rules and procedures aren’t followed.

Read more about these bills on our website.

A Heavenly Sound

Delaware State University’s Concert Choir held its annual concert in the House of Representatives this week, wowing legislators with several musical performances. Afterward, DSU president Dr. Harry Williams presented retiring Rep. Darryl Scottwith a key to the university for his work helping the college.

View more photos on our Facebook page.

Online Sexual Predator Bill Passes

Legislation that will strengthen law enforcement’s ability to stop sexual predators from hurting children won overwhelming approval Thursday in the state House of Representatives and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

House Bill 256 is sponsored by Rep. Debra Heffernan, D-Brandywine, and Sen. Harris McDowell, D-Wilmington, who are co-chairs of the General Assembly’s Kids Caucus. The legislation was drafted in conjunction with Attorney General Beau Biden's office. More than 20 other legislators have signed on as sponsors or co-sponsors. The bill makes clear that a sexual predator is guilty of sexual solicitation of a child online whether the person is soliciting an actual child or an undercover investigator whom the predator believes to be a child.

Rep. Heffernan said that the days of just worrying when your child goes to the park or store are gone. Kids can be solicited inside the home at any hour of the day, and this bill will update the Delaware Code to include all electronic devices and modes of communication that sexual predators could use to sexually solicit a child.

Feting Firefighters

Governor Jack Markell and the General Assembly honored volunteer firefighters at Legislative Hall this week. House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf and Majority Leader Rep Valerie Longhurst spent some time chatting with firefighters from Delaware City, which is in Rep. Longhurst’s district. View more photos on our Facebook page.

Jaques Bill Would Give Vets Credit for Skills

Governor Jack Markell and members of the General Assembly announced legislation that would help veterans obtain and renew professional licenses. House Bill 296, sponsored by Rep. Earl Jaques and Sens. Brian Bushweller and Bruce Ennis, allows professional licensing boards to recognize military education, training, and experience when reviewing credentials and issuing licenses. This change would assist service personnel and their spouses in obtaining and/or renewing professional licenses when transitioning from active duty.

A retired Delaware Air National Guard brigadier general, Rep. Jaques said that guardsmen called to active duty fall behind their civilian counterparts because their work experience in the Guard does not count toward the experience that licensing boards require, essentially penalizing them for their service.

Read more about this proposal here.