$15 minimum wage is mantra of janitors, lawmakers during Wilmington march

WHYY | by Cris Barrish Chanting in English and Spanish, about 50 union janitors didn’t mince their words Thursday afternoon in downtown Wilmington. “What do we want?” the members of the local branch of the Service Employees International Union called. They had gathered in Rodney Square, surrounded by many of the buildings they clean. “Fifteen!’’ They shouted their desired hourly wage for their next contract. Their current one expires at the end of January. “When do we want it?” “Now!” The office cleaners carried Santa signs emblazoned with “$15 Now” […]

Open government advocates urge ethics oversight in wake of Kent County lodging tax questions

Delaware Public Media | by Sarah Mueller State Sen. Trey Paradee (D-Dover) plans to amend legislation he sponsored giving revenue from a new lodging tax to a Kent County sports complex. The lodging tax bill Paradee sponsored earlier this year allows Kent County Levy Court to implement a 3 percent hotel lodging tax solely benefiting DE Turf, a privately-run facility near Frederica. Paradee’s brother John is on DE Turf’s board and has an interest in an adjacent retail complex. Paradee denies he sponsored the bill to benefit his brother. He […]

Law to give taxpayer money to Delaware sports facility would benefit sponsor’s brother

WHYY | by Cris Barrish A new law that was rushed through the Delaware General Assembly on June 30, the final day of the legislative session, could benefit the sponsor’s brother in a commercial development deal. Now lawmakers are criticizing the familial conflict and a process that skirted the rules governing the legislative process. One said “it just doesn’t smell right.” Another called it an indictment of the so-called Delaware Way of cooperation for the greater public good. Some lawmakers who supported the measure tell WHYY they want it repealed, […]

Why the DE Turf vote has some Delaware lawmakers second-guessing

The News Journal | by Sarah Gamard Some members of the Delaware General Assembly are second-guessing their yes votes on a bill that allowed Kent County to tax hotel stays and give the resulting $1 million in revenue to DE Turf, a sports complex near Frederica. After learning the tax could benefit a proposed development championed by John Paradee – brother to the lawmaker who sponsored the bill – Sen. Cathy Cloutier, R-Heatherbrook, is one of the lawmakers who thinks there is a conflict of interest. “It doesn’t look good,” […]

State issues fines for mishandling asbestos at Boxwood Rd. site

Delaware Public Media | by Nick Ciolino The state is penalizing a subcontractor for mishandling asbestos at the former GM plant on Boxwood Rd. in New Castle County. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) fined the Pennsylvania company EcoServices $20,000 for violating Delaware’s emission standards for hazardous air pollutants. DNREC is also charging EcoServices an additional $13,000 for the cost of the investigation. The ruling comes months after construction workers released a video of numerous particles floating through the air at the Boxwood site. The video […]

NCSL Digital Goods Policy Becomes Proxy Fight Over Wayfair

Law360 | by James Nani Law360, Nashville, Tenn. (August 8, 2019, 5:53 PM EDT) — Lawmakers at a National Conference of State Legislatures meeting voted Thursday to support federal legislation standardizing the taxation of digital goods, with New Hampshire and Delaware legislators opposing language added about the Wayfair ruling. Lawmakers from 47 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., voted to support a resolution urging Congress to pass the Federal Digital Goods and Services Tax Fairness Act, S.B. 3581, which according to the resolution would address the taxation of digital goods […]

State lawmakers, education advocates react to student test scores

Delaware Public Media | by Sarah Mueller State lawmakers and education advocates are reacting to Delaware students’ performance on this year’s statewide tests. Fifty-thre percent of third through eighth grade students across the state are proficient in English, a 1 percent drop from last year. The percentage of students proficient in Math, 44 percent, remained the same. Delaware Department of Education officials say scores have been generally trending up since the state transitioned to the Smarter Balanced tests in 2015. Daniel Walker is with the education non-profit Delaware Campaign for […]

With Delaware plastic bag ban coming soon, state struggles to enforce existing plastic rules

The News Journal | by Sarah Gamard Wawa, the beloved convenience chain that ranks among the top grocery store locations in the First State, will be giving up plastic shopping bags in Delaware come 2021. But it’s unclear what other stores will and won’t keep plastic bags when Delaware becomes the next state to ban the single-use bags at major supermarkets and retail stores. That’s because the state Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is struggling to enforce the requirements of the state’s current plastic bag recycling laws, which […]

How Delaware legislators quietly created ability to give millions to developer

The News Journal | by Karl Baker Lawmakers in Dover last week quietly gave the state authority to hand over millions in taxpayer dollars to developers. Buried 30-pages deep in the epilogue of the state’s bonding legislation, the new legal authority stated that Delaware can help to fund 3% of the construction of facilities that cost at least $75 million and would eventually employ 500 workers or more. No developer or property was identified in the bill. But numerous sources confirmed that lawmakers approved the language in order to give […]

Signed, sealed and delivered

Delaware State News | by Matt Bittle DOVER — The first leg of the 150th General Assembly is in the books. Going into session late Sunday afternoon, lawmakers wrapped up business early Monday, marking an uneventful end to the 2019 legislative session. After failing to finish until around 5 a.m. or later four years in a row the legislature concluded business just after 1 a.m. this time. Gov. John Carney signed the capital bond and grant-in-aid bills Monday at 1:40 a.m., allowing everyone to head home. Because this is just […]