Leg. Hall Insider, June 27, 2014

Let There Be Sunlight

Gov. Jack Markell Thursday signed into law a package of House bills sponsored by Reps. John Atkins, Quinn Johnson, Ed Osienski and Kim Williams that expand and strengthen Delaware’s Freedom of Information Act. The bills were introduced in early May and passed both chambers of the General Assembly with unanimous votes. The new laws cover posting of meeting minutes, mailed FOIA requests, publishing of annual reports and education of FOIA coordinators. View more photos here.

‘Revenge Porn’ Bill Advances

This week, legislation that would make it a crime to disseminate video or photos of a person who is naked or engaged in sexual acts without his or her consent passed the House and cleared a Senate committee.

Sponsored by Rep. Andria Bennett, House Bill 260 addresses the cyber trend of posting sexual images or videos of a person taken under circumstances when the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. This also is known as “revenge porn” because it often involves the willful humiliation of a former intimate partner. This legislation would expand the existing crime of violation of privacy to include revenge porn or intimate partner harassment.

According to the bill, a person who disseminates a visual depiction of a nude or partially nude person or a person who is engaging in a sexual act would be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. That charge can be increased to a Class G felony if the photo or video was originally obtained without the victim’s consent, is distributed for profit or is paired with information identifying the person.

Bidding a Fond Farewell

Fellow House members of the Class of 2008 present Rep. Darryl Scott with a photo frame as a farewell gift. Rep. Scott is not seeking re-election this fall. He counted among his top accomplishments passing legislation prohibiting texting and handheld phone calls while driving, and creating the Inspire Scholarship for Delaware students wishing to attend Delaware State University. Also pictured are (L-R) Reps. Quinn Johnson, Dennis E. Williams, Earl Jaques, Michael Barbieri, Michael Ramone and Dave Wilson. For more photos, visit our Facebook page.

Bill Allowing DOC to Hire Ex-Offenders to Governor

The Senate unanimously passed a bill sponsored by Rep. J.J. Johnson aimed at allowing the Department of Correction to hire ex-offenders to work part-time for the agency.

House Bill 264 would allow DOC to offer casual/seasonal employment for up to six months to ex-offenders who demonstrate exceptional job skills while enrolled in a Level 4 or Level 5 vocational program, notwithstanding any prior felony convictions. State law currently forbids the department from employing any person ever convicted of a felony offense in Delaware or any other state or jurisdiction.

The bill now heads to Governor Jack Markell for his signature.

Video Wrap-Up: Reps. Kowalko and Q. Johnson

This week, Rep. John Kowalko discusses his bill to provide a one-year ‘cooling-off’ period for legislators leaving office before they become lobbyists. Rep. Quinn Johnson speaks about a package of FOIA bills the governor signed into law this week.

Legislative Round-Up

The governor signed the following bills into law this week:

House Bill 256 (Heffernan) – Makes clear that a sexual predator is guilty of the charge of sexual solicitation of a child online whether the defendant solicits an actual child or an undercover investigator whom the predator believes to be a child.

House Bill 258 (B. Short) – Allows for the insurance cards in an electronic format to be used as proof of insurance.

House Substitute 1 for House Bill 302 (Jaques) – Establishes a more efficient structure for the administration of Delaware’s campaign finance laws, establishes a mechanism for citizens to report possible violations, and gives the State Election Commissioner the resources necessary to investigate potential violations.

The following bills passed the House this week:

House Substitute 1 for House Bill 319 (Baumbach) – Addresses the practice of midwifery; establishes a Midwife Advisory Council to make all rules and regulations for midwives, continuing education requirements, and practice standards.
Status: To Senate

House Bill 148 (Paradee) – Directs the Office of the State Treasurer to add a Roth option to state sponsored 403(b) and 457(b) savings plans that are offered to eligible teachers and state employees.
Status: To Governor