Leg. Hall Insider, April 7, 2014


Recognizing Disabilities

Lawmakers welcomed members of Delaware’s disability community to Legislative Hall this week as part of Persons with Disabilities Day. House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopfand Majority Leader Rep. Valerie Longhurst took time to chat with the Kanefsky family of Middletown. Cathy Kanesfsky is vice president of Autism Speaks.

Same Day Voter Registration Passes House

Legislation allowing Delaware residents to register to vote on Election Day passed the House Thursday. Sponsored by House Majority Whip Rep. John ViolaHouse Bill 105would allow Election Day registration, which permits eligible residents to register to vote and cast their ballots on the same day. The House passed the bill 24-15.

Under HB 105, a person would be able to register to vote at his or her polling place on the day of a presidential or state primary, general or special election by showing a valid government-issued photo identification card, current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or other government document displaying the name and address of the person registering to vote. Those are the same criteria required for a person registering to vote under current Delaware law.

If passed in the Senate, the bill would take effect October 31, 2014.

Video Wrap: Campaign Finance, Election Bills Unveiled

This week, House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf discusses a package of six bills the House and Senate announced Thursday to improve Delaware’s campaign finance system and election laws. To learn more about the specifics of the proposal, visit our website. To see photos from the press conference, visit our Facebook page.

Lawmakers to DOE: Concerns About Charter Apps.

A bipartisan, bicameral group of 20 legislators sent a letter Thursday to the Department of Education raising concerns about new charter school applications currently being considered.

The letter, which was authored by Reps. Kim Williams and Helene Keeley and signed by 15 House Democrats, notes the four of the five new charter applications would draw heavily from Red Clay School District. Pulling students from the district, the legislators said, would have a financial and enrollment impact, potentially reducing the number of students by 800 and removing $2.6 million in local funds.

“The state must do everything in its power to ensure that all families and children have the opportunity to attend schools that are a welcome part of the community, and this includes the community of public schools that charter schools will be operating amongst,” the letter reads. “The charters that the state approves must, at the very least, provide our students with a wholly unique and high-quality education. It is not clear that these five charters, especially those that will impact the public school districts of New Castle County, will meet these expectations.”

Read the full letter here.

Wrestlers Recognized

Smyrna Rep. Bill Carson (front, second from right) proudly hosted the Smyrna High School wrestling team at Legislative Hall this week to honor them for winning the state championship this winter. Fellow Reps. Jeff Spiegelman, Becky Walker and Trey Paradee also celebrated with the team.

Legislative Round-Up

The following bills passed the House of Representatives this week:

House Bill 246 (Paradee): Closes a loophole in Delaware’s criminal code and broadens the “unlawful use of a credit card” statute to include debit cards and other types of payment cards.
Status: Senate Banking Committee

House Bill 271 (D.E. Williams)Requires the Division of Professional Regulation (DPR) to notify the Department of Finance of any person who practices a profession without a license and who DPR believes should have a business or occupational license.
Status: Senate Sunset Committee

The following bills were released from committee this week:

House Bill 258 (B. Short): Allows for the insurance cards in an electronic format to be used as proof of insurance.
Status: On House Ready List

House Bill 269 (Potter)Requires the Department of Finance to provide an anonymous reporting system for the reporting of individuals or businesses who have failed to obtain an occupational or business license.
Status: On House Ready List