State lawmaker asks Pension Benefit Committee to pause change to retirees’ healthcare plans

Delaware Public Media | by Paul Kiefer State lawmakers met with Delaware’s Pension Benefit Committee on Tuesday to discuss a healthcare change for 25,000 retired public employees. In February, the state’s Pension Benefit Committee awarded a three-year contract to Highmark Delaware, longtime insurance provider for state employees, to administer a new plan for state retirees known as the Medicare Advantage Plan. The plan would replace retirees’ existing Medicare plan. Delaware Human Resources Secretary Claire DeMatteis says the plan differs from the existing program in several ways. First, Highmark takes on […]

Primary election nears for Delaware candidates

Bay to Bay News | by Joseph Edelen The time for Delawareans to cast their ballot is quickly approaching, as the state’s primary election is less than a month away. On Sept. 13, voters will have the chance to pick their desired candidate for their respective party. While all of the seats in Delaware’s General Assembly will be up for election due to redistricting, there are a select number of competitive races, as many incumbent elected officials will be unopposed in the primary election. Currently, there will be three competitive […]

Opinion: Delaware’s public retirees must reject Medicare Advantage plan

The News Journal | Opinion | by Rep. John Kowalko State of Delaware retirees, retired Delaware teachers, as well as college and university faculty covered through the state of Delaware’s health benefits must act immediately and let their state elected officials know that the proposed move of all these retirees to a Medicare Advantage plan is unacceptable. What are Medicare Advantage plans? In short, they represent the privatization of one of the most successful federal programs in history and it is an embarrassment that the state of Delaware wants to […]

Manufactured housing meeting leads to feud in Newark

Bay to Bay News | by Joseph Edelen At the entrance of the Timberlane manufactured housing community in Newark, several lawn signs can be found displaying the message, “Rep. Wilson-Anton, where is the apology?” Despite these lawn signs and further requests for an apology, Rep. Madinah Wilson-Anton, D-Newark, has stood her ground. These requests stem from a feud that ignited June 8 at the House’s Manufactured Housing committee meeting, during which Rep. Wilson-Anton verbally confronted Reybold Group Executive Manager Jerome Heisler Jr. for the closure of the Timberlane manufactured housing […]

Negotiations on Delaware manufactured home bill tedious

Bay to Bay News | by Joseph Edelen Coming to a compromise for comprehensive legislation was no easy task for manufactured housing stakeholders, lobbyists and lawmakers this past legislative session. Typically home to seniors on fixed incomes or low-income families, residents of manufactured housing communities have been subject to rent increases that often lead to drawn-out court cases and arbitration hearings. Over the past several years, lawmakers had contemplated ways to level the playing field for residents. Legislators had been tasked with finding a middle ground in their discussions, primarily […]

Kowalko: House Speaker killed inspector general bill

Town Square Live | by Charles Megginson An outgoing Democratic member of the Delaware House of Representatives says House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf blocked his bill to create an office of the inspector general. Rep. John Kowalko, D-Newark, said the move was typical of Schwartzkopf’s leadership style. That leadership style can be characterized by “coercion, intimidation, incentivizing and reward,” Kowalko said, and the inspector general bill is just one example of that. “That’s not the way to lead and if that’s the way you’re leading, then obviously you have a failure […]

Key bills failed during past Delaware legislative session

Bay to Bay News | by Joseph Edelen Throughout the latest legislative session, a number of bills received support from lawmakers and their constituents, but ultimately failed despite their support. Bills ranging from the establishment of an Inspector General’s office, to protecting renter’s rights were among those that did not pass during the 151st General Assembly. Of the legislation that was not successfully signed into effect, some bills were outright defeated, never received a hearing in committee, held for the next legislative session, and in one case, vetoed by Gov. […]

As clock struck midnight July 1, Delaware legislators worked on key bills

Bay to Bay News | by Joseph Edelen On the final day of the General Assembly’s session, the House of Representatives debated critical legislation regarding bail provisions, rent protections for manufactured-housing communities and renters’ rights into the early hours of July 1. A proposal that would expand rent protections and add requirements to existing rental agreements has taken two forms since its introduction April 28, and its unique path came to a successful end during the House’s final meeting last week. The bill’s original form, Senate Substitution 1 for Senate […]

What Delaware legislators are saying about McGuiness

Bay to Bay News | by Joseph Edelen “Auditor McGuiness has been given due process and enjoyed the presumption of innocence that all Americans are guaranteed. She has been found guilty of misconduct in office and should no longer remain in her position as a public official. It is time for Ms. McGuiness to do what’s right for the public and step down. There are no alternatives left for her and as a duly elected public official, I am calling for her immediate resignation,” — Rep. John Kowalko, D-Newark “State […]

Delaware auditor receives near-unanimous condemnation from state legislators

Bay to Bay News | by Joseph Edelen The fate of State Auditor Kathy McGuiness’ political career has driven a wedge into Delaware’s House of Representatives. After being found guilty on misdemeanor charges of conflict of interest (violation of the state officials code of conduct), structuring (non-compliance with procurement law), and official misconduct, several lawmakers in both chambers of the General Assembly called for the immediate resignation of Ms. McGuiness. Following the verdict, Senate Majority Leader Bryan Townsend, D-Newark, Senate President Pro Tempore Dave Sokola, D-Newark, and Senate Majority Whip […]