The Leg Hall Insider: May 17, 2013

Three Cheers for Growlers


Flanked by liquor store and Delaware craft brewery owners at Fordham & Old Dominion Brewing companies in Dover Thursday, Governor Jack Markell signed into law House Bill 31, which allows Delaware liquor stores to fill and sell growlers of draught beer on site. With beer aficionados celebrating American Craft Beer Week, liquor store owners and local breweries toasted the legislation for its benefit to craft beer makers and consumers.

Rep. Debra Heffernan said Delaware is unique because despite our small size, we have nine craft breweries in our state and we are 10th in breweries per capita in the nation. She called the bill a win-win because it helps Delaware small businesses increase their customer base while also meeting consumer demand.

Ed Mulvihill of Peco's Liquors in Wilmington, Rep. Heffernan's constituent, brought the issue to her attention. Ed says customer demand for growlers – typically 64-ounce glass glass or ceramic jugs filled with draught beer – has been high and Peco’s will begin selling growlers next week.

Representatives from Kreston Wine and Spirits in Wilmington, Dogfish Head in Milford, 3rd Wave Brewing Co. in Delmar, Twin Lakes Brewing Co. in Greenville and 16 Mile Brewing Co. in Georgetown were also present for the event and spoke in favor of the bill.

Bills Addressing Gun Violence Pass House

The House of Representatives passed two bills aimed at reducing gun violence by keeping guns out of the hands of potentially dangerous individuals Tuesday, sending one to Governor Jack Markell for his signature.

Sponsored by Newark Rep. Michael Barbieri, Senate Bill 16 would require owners of lost or stolen handguns to report such loss or theft within one week after discovering the loss or theft. Under SB 16, which passed the House 22-19, a first or second offense would carry a civil penalty ranging from $75 to $100 for the first offense and $100 to $250 for the second violation. A third offense would be a class G felony. The bill targets straw purchases of firearms, in which a person buys a gun and then transfers it to a person prohibited from owning one.

Rep. Barbieri said the bill is about responsible gun ownership, without infringing upon the rights of law-abiding citizens. He said law enforcement supports the bill because it is another step toward keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them.

The House also passed House Bill 88 40-1 Tuesday. Drafted by the Attorney General’s Office, the measure would help keep guns out of the hands of those determined to be a danger to themselves or others.

Rep. Barbieri emphasized the ability of mental health professionals and law enforcement officials to work together to keep citizens safe. By promoting that coordination, we will be able to keep guns away from individuals who could be a danger to themselves or others while at the same time ensuring they are receiving appropriate care.

Legislators Celebrate Delaware Non-Profits

Legislators attended the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement (DANA) Nonprofit Day event this week. Reps. Pete Schwartzkopf and Valerie Longhurst presented DANA President and CEO Chris Grundner with a resolution recognizing the important work not-for-profit organizations do for our state. Pictured: Rep. Melanie George Smith, Rep. Dennis E. Williams, Rep. Longhurst, Chris Grundner, Rep. Schwartzkopf, Sen. Patricia Blevins, Rep. Mike Ramone and Rep. David Wilson.

House Passes Plan to Strengthen Teacher Preparation

An educator preparation plan, pledged by the governor in his 2013 State of the State, passed the Delaware House Thursday and now heads to the governor’s desk for signature.  Senate Bill 51 aims to improve children’s education by ensuring teachers are ready for the classroom.

The bill raises the bar for entering the teaching profession, with program entry requirements and required content exams and performance assessments before licensure. It also improves teacher training with high-quality, student teaching experiences and it does more to track data on preparation programs, with required reporting of program effectiveness.

Rep. Darryl Scott, the House prime sponsor of the legislation, emphasized how important teacher quality is to a child’s academic success. He said the bill will better prepare teachers to be successful as soon as they enter a classroom.

The bill passed the Delaware Senate on May 2. It has an effective date of July 1, 2014.

Legislative Wrap-Up

The following bills were introduced in the House this week:

HB 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: House Administration Committee

The following bills were released from House committees this week:

HB 73 (Mitchell) – Helps deter the illegal possession of firearms by dangerous criminals by increasing the penalties imposed upon persons convicted of violating the crime of Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited.

The following bills passed the House this week:

HCR 17 w/ SA 1 (Q. Johnson)  – Proclaims the week of September 14 through September 22, 2013, to be "Sea-Level Rise Awareness Week."