John Kowalko’s Vision For Delaware

First State Update | by Staff Writer First State Update recently asked Delaware State Representative John Kowalko to share his vison for Delaware’s future. Here’s what he told us: “My vision for Delaware’s future hinges on a sea change in attitude by elected officials and government agencies regarding open and transparent government. The current system, often cloaked in secrecy and diminished access, has caused a disconcerting drop in public confidence and trust in government. Transforming the realities of the status-quo, which currently provides that those in power are allowed to […]

Delaware LLC involved in international bribery scheme

The News Journal | by Karl Baker A Chilean airline will pay two U.S. federal agencies $22 million in penalties for bribing union bosses in Argentina with the help of a Delaware company, authorities announced in a plea bargain last week. In 2006, LAN Airlines paid $1.15 million to “labor union officials in exchange for the union agreeing to accept lower wages,” a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice said. In order to conceal the “sham payment,” officials from LAN first transferred the money to their subsidiary, a Delaware-registered limited liability company, called Atlantic Aviation Investments LLC, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission statement. Atlantic Aviation Investments (not affiliated with New Castle-based Atlantic Aviation) then transferred the funds […]

Kowalko: TPP – An abdication of workers’ rights

Delaware State News | Letter to the Editor | by Rep. John Kowalko All Americans should absolutely and resoundingly oppose the American worker-rights concession known as the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement. It has numerous, irreconcilable flaws and will cause much horrible damage to working families and American businesses. I will only list a few of the nearly dozen reasons that all should oppose this dereliction of duty. First, the current Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) text allows multinational companies to challenge U.S. laws, regulations and safeguards through a provision called “investor-to-state dispute settlement” […]

Kowalko: Delaware law – facilitator or conspirator?

Delaware State News | Letter to the Editor | by Rep. John Kowalko I filed HB 442 on June 23. It’s a bill to reform Delaware’s LLC licensing process to protect the integrity of the system and prevent illegal and illicit activities from being perpetrated. Recent worldwide media accounts have tarnished Delaware’s reputation as a leader in corporate investment, with oftentimes valid questions raised as to the willingness of Delaware and its citizens to provide an unquestioning attitude towards companies that incorporate here or form LLCs. The questionable behavior of […]

Legislature finishes budget after a second consecutive marathon June 30

Delaware State News | by Matt Bittle DOVER — Flanked by lawmakers, Gov. Jack Markell signed the budget bill just after 5:15 a.m., bringing to a close a day that began 17 hours before for some. Although lawmakers were optimistic the General Assembly would be finished earlier than last year, a dispute between the Senate and House of Representatives caused a significant delay, and the governor did not approve the three budget, bond and grant-in-aid bills until the sun began creeping up over the horizon. The $4.08 billion budget, the […]

Delaware General Assembly passes state budget

Newsworks | by Zoë Read The Delaware General Assembly voted in a $4.8 billion operating budget Wednesday with a 31-8 vote in the House. “This was a difficult year, we had to make many difficult cuts, we had to make many challenging decisions about what to fund, and we respect the fact every decision we made had a real impact on peoples’ lives,” said State Rep. Melanie Smith, who heads the joint finance committee. “We thought carefully about what was in Delaware’s best interest.” Delaware’s budget has taken a hit […]

Delaware budget approved; final day of legislative session arrives

Delaware State News | by Matt Bittle DOVER — The House of Representatives approved the state budget Wednesday, sending it to Gov. Jack Markell ahead of the final day of the legislative session. Lawmakers have their last chance to approve any legislation today when they gavel in in the evening on what is also the close of the fiscal year. Wednesday was a late day with many legislators not leaving the state capitol until well past 9 p.m. They did make progress on the money bills, however, with the Bond Committee […]

Wilmington redistricting plan passes House

Delaware Public Media | by James Dawson Efforts to redistrict Wilmington schools overcame a significant hurdle Wednesday as House lawmakers signed off on a resolution and bill allowing progress to continue. Democrats overruled Republicans who tried to block the legislation in vain over concerns that the state couldn’t afford the implementation plan. Overall, proponents say moving students from the Christina School District to the Red Clay School District will help move kids closer to their schools, potentially boosting parental involvement and test scores for minority children. “The need to fix the […]

Lawmakers override state code to let charter schools keep extra bus funds

Delaware State News | by Matt Bittle DOVER — Every year, Delaware allocates millions of dollars to help charter schools pay for the cost of busing students. According to state law, all Delaware schools are suppose to return any unused funding, but in each of the past seven fiscal years, a special provision included in the budget has allowed charters to keep excess allowances. This year, the Department of Education spent a total of $10.7 million providing funding to the state’s 27 charter schools, but the schools themselves spent only $9.3 million […]

Kowalko: Delaware economy stalled due to flat tires on the bus

Delaware State News | Letter to the Editor | by Rep. John Kowalko Once again, as we rapidly approach the June deadline, the Delaware General Assembly is boarding this administration’s economic stability/budget bus. Once again, the bus is fitfully careening forward on nearly flat tires. The primary reason leading to this predicament has been this administration’s policy of deflating those tires of their revenue by irresponsibly pushing policies and laws that have taken corporate welfare to a new level. The General Assembly and various agencies such as DEDO (Delaware Economic Development […]