Leg. Hall Insider, May 16, 2014

Flowering Leadership in Delaware

Students from high school career and technical clubs across the state descended on Legislative Hall this week to present lawmakers with their annual batch of… annuals (geraniums, to be exact). The students are representative of the 66,000-plus students who participate in groups such as FFA, Business Professionals of America, Delaware DECA and Skills USA. The groups are part of Delaware Career and Technical Student Organizations.

School Choice Enrollment Bill Filed

Parents would be able to weigh all school choice options for their children before making a final selection under legislation filed Tuesday that would align all school choice enrollment acceptance deadlines.

Sponsored by Rep. Kim WilliamsHouse Bill 337 would require all school choice enrollment deadlines for public school districts, charter schools, magnet schools and career and technical education schools to line up, which would give parents uniformity and allow them to make decisions about which school their child will attend. Parents whose child wishes to attend a different public, charter, magnet or vo-tech school would have to apply between the first Monday in November and the second Wednesday in January for the following school year.

The bill would set a uniform deadline of the third Friday in March for parents and students to notify the school if they accept the school choice enrollment offer. Currently, there are no uniform deadlines for schools to extend an enrollment offer to a student, or for parents to accept an enrollment offer.

To read the full release, click here.

Bipartisan Support for Workers’ Comp Reform

The Workers’ Compensation Task Force, led by Lt. Gov. Matt Denn and comprised of business and legislative leaders, made recommendations to stop the large workers compensation rate increases that are burdening Delaware businesses. Rep. Bryon Short was one of the four legislators on the panel, along with Sens. Patti Blevins and Gerald Hocker and Rep. Ruth Briggs King. Also pictured are Reps. Quinn Johnson, Mike Ramone and Dennis E. Williams.

The report notes that Delaware’s workers’ compensation premiums had risen by calendar year 2006 to be the third most expensive in the country. The recommendations would address oversight of insurance carriers, stricter control on medical costs and consideration of a new rating organization.

Dangerous Dog Bill Advances

Legislation aimed at strengthening and clarifying Delaware’s dangerous dogs law passed the House unanimously this week.

Under current state law, a dog can be seized and declared dangerous if it chases a person on two separate occasions in a year, kills or injures a person and kills or injures a domestic animal. Sponsored by Rep. Dennis E. WilliamsHS 1 for HB 297 would make it clear that any – not all – of the defined instances could constitute grounds for impounding a dog.

Rep. Williams introduced the bill after hearing concerns from residents about a dog that allegedly has chased and attacked people – including a five-year-old girl – but was not able to be impounded because state law seemingly sets a high bar to do so, leaving enforcement of the law “unclear.”

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Video Wrap-up: Reps. Bolden, J. Johnson and D. Williams

 This week, Reps. Stephanie T. Bolden, J.J. Johnson and Dennis E. Williams discuss legislation they are sponsoring that advanced in the House of Representatives.

Legislative Round-Up

The following bills passed the House this week:

House Bill 270 (Longhurst) – Requires all contractors, subcontractors and independent contractors performing work under a public works contract to have an occupational and/or business license.
Status: In Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee

House Bill 320 (K. Williams) – Requires public bodies that meet four or fewer times per year to post draft meeting minutes online within 20 working days of the end of the meeting.
Status: House Passed

House Bill 322 (Q. Johnson) – Clarifies that FOIA requests submitted via U.S. mail are valid, provided that the public records requested do not fall within the scope of the enumerated exceptions in the law.
Status: House Passed