Legislature opens amid calls for higher minimum wage

Cape Gazette | by Melissa Steele A minimum wage increase, gun control and legalizing marijuana, hot button issues left over from last legislative session, are still poised for action this session while a Milton legislator hopes his death penalty bill can finally get a vote. In May, Rep. Steve Smyk, R-Milton, introduced the latest version of his Extreme Crimes Protection Act – a bill originally introduced in 2017 that has since been revised. If passed, the bill would bring back the death penalty, which has been on hold since 2016 […]

Delaware Legislature Begins 2020 Session With Little Action, Lots of Unfinished Business

WRDE | by Tom Lehman Dover, Del. (WBOC) – Delaware lawmakers briefly returned to session on Tuesday as they kicked off the second leg of the 150th General Assembly. House and Senate members met for roughly 30 minutes in their respective chambers on a fairly uneventful first day of the 2020 legislative session that saw little action on much of the unfinished business from the previous year. House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf (D-Rehoboth) said the legislature may revisit proposals for more gun control restrictions, legalizing marijuana, and hiking the minimum wage […]

$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” […]

Commentary: Independent government oversight needed

Delaware State News | Opinion | by Nick Wasileski & Keith Steck Transparency, accountability, and “in the public interest” describe essential guideposts to assist state officials in establishing laws, making decisions, and carrying out policies for the well-being, safety, and happiness of Delaware’s citizens. When state officials dismiss these guideposts, misconduct, mismanagement, and neglect of office swiftly can lead to conflicting policies and actions and even fraud. Consequently, the Delaware Coalition for Open Government (DelCOG) perceives a need for an independent, nonpartisan office for oversight and investigation to ensure good […]

Kowalko: The need for good, transparent government

Delaware State News | Letter to the Editor | by Rep. John Kowalko I am challenging all of my colleagues in Dover to join me in reforming Delaware’s lawmaking process. I am asking them to join me in supporting rule changes that disallow last-minute votes on bills that have not been adequately vetted. I am asking them to support rule changes that disallow the use of “suspension of rules” to bring bills to the floor that have not been vetted by a committee or the general public. I ask them […]

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, […]

Kowalko: DE Turf bill exposes big flaws in how Delaware passes legislation

The News Journal | Opinion | by Rep. John Kowalko Congratulations to News Journal reporter Sarah Gamard on her insightful article, “Why the DE Turf vote has some lawmakers second guessing,” regarding the passage of Senate Substitute 2 for Senate Bill 178 on June 30, the final day of the legislative session. Her reporting has exposed some of the major flaws in the workings of Delaware’s General Assembly. One major concern is the fact that the legislation was presented as an economic development driver without any data to support the […]

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,” […]

Kowalko: U.S. failing to remember the lessons of past

Delaware State News | Opinion | by Rep. John Kowalko Because of the recent permission granted by Trump to the Turkish autocracy that will allow/encourage a campaign of genocide against the Kurdish people, who have exhibited a courageous and determined willingness to fight the evils of terrorism, I felt obligated to revisit a past moment in my personal experience with Turkey’s history. In 2007 I sponsored a resolution of remembrance of the atrocities committed against the Armenians by the Turkish/Ottoman Empire regime. Here is the statement I released at the […]