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Here in Delaware, we are taking our own bold steps to lift up our neighbors and put our state’s economy back on track to benefit those who have sacrificed so much over the years.

As chairs and co-chairs of the House and Senate Labor Committees, we have pushed back against corporate interests, and with the support of every Democrat in the General Assembly, we raised Delaware’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, along with a $25 million tax break that will help small businesses stay afloat during our recovery from the pandemic. With the help of our General Assembly colleagues, we made unprecedented investments in Delaware’s workforce by creating new pathways for adults and children to obtain a college education, gain new job skills and complete apprenticeship training programs debt-free.

The following is a letter members sent to Delaware's Congressional Delegation regarding DC Statehood.

Last week President Biden delivered a clear and unequivocal message to Amazon, its many thousands of employees, and the American people: Workers in the United States have the right and the freedom to organize and to advocate for their best interests in the workplace, and no company has the right to silence their voices, period.

We strongly urge you to request an ESEA/ESSA assessment waiver for the state of Delaware as soon as practicable and without delay. We believe the time required for testing could be better spent by educators in continuing to provide instruction and screen students at the district and building level to inform summer intervention programs and prepare for instruction in the fall.

This Labor Day will be very different from any other Labor Day. This year’s parade is cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, this weekend’s news will be heavy with reports of social unrest and protest demonstrations in cities like Kenosha, WI and Portland, OR. However, those two items – Labor Day weekend and the protests – are not entirely unrelated.

On behalf of our members, we are asking you to support Congressional efforts to amend the CARES Act to provide states flexibility to use the funds to compensate for unprecedented revenue losses. Flexible federal funds for state revenue shortfalls will help states continue to provide vital citizen services, prevent further shutdown of vital sectors of the state economy, and hasten the recovery once social distancing measures are relaxed.

As a state, we must be attractive to medical students as they complete their residencies and transition into building practices that serve our communities. This is why we introduced HB 257, which helps us work alongside our private and public partners to address the shortage and enhance recruitment and retention of primary care practitioners in Delaware.

DelDOT briefing from Rep. Larry Mitchell's community meeting on November 18.

A safe environment in which to cultivate learning should not be a luxury; it should be an expectation. Yet, this statistic still rings true today: one in five college women are sexually assaulted. Stepping forward to report an incident of sexual assault or harassment is harrowing and shouldn’t be made any more difficult. The DOE guidelines as written will not only cause additional barriers for victims, but it may actually deter them from reporting the crime in the first place. Live hearings, cross-examination and the extremely narrow definition of harassment are just a few of the concerns we have with these guidelines.

"If we want to address our prison population, then there are more long-term and beneficial solutions than the shell game of shipping our overflow problem to other states. We must continue to pursue meaningful bail reform to ensure we are not warehousing detentioners simply because they cannot afford to post bail."

We cannot sit by silently, complicit in the inhumane treatment of other human beings. We have seen these kinds of atrocities in American history before, and people did not speak out then. This time, it has to be different. We have to be better. Our federal government must right the wrong it has committed and work diligently to reunite the families it has forcibly ripped apart.

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School deserved a typical Wednesday: a scramble to finish homework during homeroom, finalizing Valentine’s Day plans and, of course, Snapchats to document the day.

Rarely does an issue spark near-universal agreement today, but the plan your office recently unveiled to open 90 percent of the nation’s offshore reserves to drilling has done just that. We write to you as members of the Delaware General Assembly to join Governor John Carney and Attorney General Matt Denn in opposing this drilling plan.

As elected officials, we hear from our constituents about criminal and quality of life issues that affect them and their families. We take these calls seriously and work with local law enforcement to tackle these problems and make our communities safer and better places to live.

Democracy works best when everyone gets involved. That might sound cliché, but it’s an undeniable truth. And we as elected officials should do everything in our power to encourage and make it as easy as possible for everyone to participate in our democracy.

We write with great concern about the impending changes to several DART bus routes and schedules in our communities that stand to impact thousands of residents, students and workers who commute to and from these areas. We are concerned that these changes largely have sprung up unnoticed by members of the public and legislators due to a lack of outreach and communication. As part of that lack of communication, we have not been informed of the urgency of some of these changes, why they are being proposed, or how DART intends to provide funding for them.

We often talk about how critical it is to invest in our future generations, to prepare them so they can pursue productive, successful lives and advance our society as the whole. Access to quality, sometimes lifesaving healthcare for our children is a vital part of that investment. A healthy child is more productive in school, at home and in all aspects of life. Children should not be frivolous pawns in the budget and political negotiation process. Nor should ensuring their health be a partisan issue.

 

Recently, news circulated that the EPA is investigating whether to add a polluted plume of groundwater in Newark to its list of Superfund sites. What might surprise many is that Delaware has had more than 20 Superfund sites throughout the state.

That’s why news that the Trump Administration wants to cut the Superfund program by 30 percent should alarm every Delawarean, regardless of political persuasion.

As an Operation Iraqi Freedom war veteran, I am fully aware of the qualifications a member of the U.S. military must possess in a combat theater. I know what it takes for our American military to be successful in these situations.

Cancer will destroy any adult or child’s immune system. Surgeons do not base a knee replacement on whether the joints belong to a Democrat or Republican.
Medical crises don’t discriminate. Health care coverage shouldn’t either. Health care should be a right, not a privilege.
That’s why we write with great urgency about the American Health Care Act of 2017, which presents a misguided and detrimental attempt to “reform” our health care system. We urge you to continue to fight for the right of every Delawarean to have quality health care, and to oppose any effort that does not make that access a priority.

"We heard loud and clear from legislators, community stakeholders and affected residents about these potential cuts and we understand those sentiments. For that reason, we have asked JFC to take a step back and give legislative leaders the opportunity to meet and see if there is room for compromise to raise additional revenue so that we can balance any cuts we might have to make to the budget."

The U.S. House Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would worsen health care coverage by being less accessible, while marginalizing people who need affordable care the most, such as low-income older Americans. It is not a serious solution and it would have serious ramifications for Delaware families.

Make no mistake, “right-to-work” legislation is anything but. These laws directly affect our neighbors who work as teachers, police, government employees and construction workers by weakening and removing the ability to bargain collectively for health insurance coverage, safe workplaces and retirement benefits.

We must safeguard our country’s borders and support a thorough vetting process, but this order completely contradicts our country’s founding principles under the guise of “protection.” It neither protects nor preserves national security; frankly, it is un-American and unconstitutional. We call on you to renounce this order on immigration and rescind it immediately. The future of our country could be in jeopardy if we choose to govern by hate and fear instead of inclusion.

Ms. DeVos is wholly unqualified to lead the U.S. Department of Education. She has no public school experience whatsoever – not as a school administrator, not as a teacher, and not as a school board member.

You have heard the troubling statistic before: one in five women will be sexually assaulted while in college. The vast majority of these crimes are never reported. These are statistical facts that we and many others have been trying to change across the country and here in Delaware.

The University of Delaware has announced that it is adjusting their policy regarding state-funded merit-based scholarships. Beginning with this fall's first-year students, UD will remove the Diamond State Scholarship and the Michael Ferguson Scholarship from their need-based financial aid equation. Rep. Kim Williams has been working with the university since October to resolve the issue after she was contacted by a Delaware family. Please see the full letter below.

We have read with deep disappointment the recent news that the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is requiring that Delaware electricity customers shoulder the bulk of the cost of a power line project on Artificial Island, despite Delaware customers receiving only a small portion of the benefits of said project. The House Democratic Caucus stands united in opposition to the FERC’s decision and urges the FERC to reconsider this ruling.

It is past time for us to simply pay lip service to the importance of a healthy family and to actually do something about it, and with that in mind, now is the time for Delaware to “Lead on Leave.” Right now, our state is in a prime position to become one of only a handful of states that offer its public employees paid maternity and paternity leave when they become parents.

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