* HB 80 - Parental Consent of abortion by a minor (Primary sponsor Rep. Lavelle)

This bill, in response to the recent news of Dr. Gosnell who practiced in Wilmington and is facing multiple murder charges in PA on the death of a patient and 7 late-term abortions, would require consent of at least one parent or guardian of a minor seeking an abortion (under current state law, girls under age 16 must notify a parent, and such notification can be waived by health professionals under limited circumstances); it would raise the age of the minor requiring parental consent to age 18; and incorporate new language borrowed from the PA Abortion Control Act, which has withstood a review by the U.S. Supreme Court. (The Alan Guttmacher Institute indicates that Delaware has the highest per capita abortion rate in the U.S.)

Do you agree with this legislation?

* HB 47 Inspecting Healthcare facilities

This bill will give the Dept of Health & Social Services ("DHSS") the authority to investigate and inspect unsanitary or unsafe conditions in facilities where "invasive medical procedures" are performed (a reaction to the Dr. Gosnell news stories regarding late-term abortions allegedly performed in facilities not subject to inspection). This bill will give DHSS the authority to adopt regulations to strengthen oversight of a variety of healthcare facilities. Also, the Div. of Professional Regulation (Dept. of State) and the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline would gain additional authority.

Do you agree with this legislation?

* SB 30 - Civil Union bill

Sought same-sex couples to be granted the same state-level rights as their opposite-sex, married counterparts.

Do you agree with this legislation?

* HB 46 - Disposal of Seized Firearms

Seeks to establish a process to dispose of firearms seized by Delaware law enforcement agencies 6 months following attempted notification to the gun owner by either destroying them or selling them to a federal licensed dealer.

Do you agree with this legislation?

* SB 12 - Convicted Felons to receive food stamps

Seeks to eliminate a current prohibition that prevents people convicted of drug felonies from receiving food benefit assistance. Proponents say lifting prohibition will prevent discrimination and recidivism by helping former convicts acclimate to life outside prison. Opponents argue that providing food stamps gives people with proven substance-abuse issues something of value to trade for drugs.

Do you agree with this legislation?

* SB 13 w/SA4 - Needle Exchange Program

This bill seeks to make permanent the 2006 law establishing a pilot needle exchange program in the City of Wilmington, set to expire in 2011. The bill would mandate operation solely within the City of Wilmington. Proponents say it helps to prevent HIV and other diseases spread through sharing of second-hand needles. Critics say taxpayer money should not be used to facilitate illicit drug use. On a per capita basis, DE consistently places in the top 10 states for new HIV cases annually.

Do agree with this legislation?

* SB 17 - Legalization of medical marijuana

Seeks to legalize the use of "medical marijuana" in Delaware. Opponents fear it will provide a pretext for the widespread use of marijuana, as has been the case in California, and believe that pharmaceuticals like Marinol, provide all the benefits of marijuana but without its intoxicating effects. Proponents say that 15 other states and D.C. have been able to craft legislation that avoids California's mistakes. Proponents also say that unlike prescriptions, cannabis has 85 active components and that it's this complex relationship that has proven relevant to its therapeutic value, and point to evidence that it provides relief to those not helped by pharmaceuticals, and relief from side-effects of pharmaceuticals.

Do you agree with this legislation?

* HB 81 w/HA1 - Cost-cutting initiative

Initially proposed by Gov. Markell who said that half the cost of state gov't is directly tied to state personnel, this bill that has bipartisan support, seeks to reduce expenses for state employee health and pension benefits by, among other things, requiring new state workers to work longer to be vested in the pension system and to reach certain benchmarks for the state to pay for a portion of their healthcare benefits in retirement. New workers would also have to make higher contributions into the pension system. Starting July 1, 2012, current workers and retirees will experience hikes in their share of the premiums for healthcare coverage. House Minority Leader, Greg Lavelle, voted against the bill, who said that while the package is projected to save $131 million over 5 years, it does not come close to addressing escalating growth in pension and healthcare costs, which remain at unsustainable levels, and he fears that the bill's enactment will reduce the sense of urgency to craft a comprehensive solution to the problem.

(This bill comes while the Markell Administration is simultaneously supporting a course of action to pay state workers an additional paycheck in the upcoming fiscal year that would cost state and local taxpayers an additional $68 million).

Do you agree with this legislation?

* HB 86 - Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) (co-sponsors includes Rep. Lavelle)

Seeks to withdraw DE from participation in the RGGI - a 10-state compact intended to reduce CO2 emissions from large power plants through a "cap and trade" system. Critics of this bill to withdraw from RGGI, say RGGI has been effective over its first 3 years and holds the promise of reducing carbon dioxide by 10% by 2019. Backers of the bill (those against RGGI) say the RGGI program will add $15 - $35 million to the total annual cost of providing power to Delaware. They also note that permanent changes in the way electricity is generated in Delaware will result in significantly surpassing the RGGI CO2 reduction target, reaching the reductions 5 years earleier, and without the need for the additional expense the RGGI imposes on rate-payers.

Do you agree with this legislation?

* HB 27 - Cooperative and Municipal power utilities (co-sponsors include Rep. Lavelle)

Seeks to allow the cooperative and municipal power utilities to "utilize (allow) conservation, energy efficiency and demand-side management programs" to comply with the state's green energy mandate. The Cooperative and the state municipal power utilities support the measures which are non-polluting, non-invasive to the environment, cost efficient, economically sustainable and mitigate the need for new power plant construction. There is some concern that it may not be equitable to Delmarva Power which supplies most Delawareans, and which already has a mandate to supply 25% of the electricity it delivers from renewable resources by 2025.

Do you agree with this legislation?

* HB 24 - Lobbyists

This bill restricts members of the General Assembly, heads of State agencies, Cabinet Officials and the Executive Staff of the Governor from lobbying for a period of 1 year after their term of office ends or State employment ends. The Bill makes the penalty an unclassified misdemeanor.

Do you agree with this legislation?

* HB 11 - Elections (co-sponsors include Rep. Lavelle)

It states that at the time of filing as a candidate for office as well as at the time of the primary election, the candidate shall be a registered member of the party whose nomination he/she seeks. In addition, a candidate nominated by a party must be a registered member of that party. Also, a candidate may change their party affiliation between March 31 and September 1 of a general election year if the statewide and county chair of the political party to which the candidate is switching, want the candidate, and if they provide an affidavit to the Dept. of Elections stating the candidate is changing parties to be a candidate for their party. (typical of most states).

Do you agree with this legislation?

* HB 23 - Truancy

Provides the Justice of the Peace Court with jurisdiction to impose conditions upon the parent/guardian/custodian of a person adjudicated as truant, provided that they have been served with a warrant or summons as notification. The conditions imposed may be those necessary to assist the truant person in receiving all forms of treatment, guidance and supervision. which is often directly related to the parent/guardian/custodian who provides their care.

Do you agree with this legislation?

* HB 79 - Delaware Health Care Freedom Act (co-sponsors include Rep. Lavelle & Sen. Cloutier)

Seeks to protect Delaware residents from the mandates of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by stating that only the State of Delaware has the legal authority to regulate private healthcare insurance, systems, plans, and services within its borders. It specifies that Delawareans would be free to choose, or decline to choose, all healthcare services, without penalty or threat of penalty.

* HB 40 - Expand legalized gambling in DE (tabled in committee)

Seeks to authorize 2 new video lottery agents (new gaming venues), one in Sussex County and one in NCC. The winning bids would be selected from among proposals submitted to the Lottery Redevelopment Committee - a group created under the bill and empaneled by the governor. This Act also increases the number of required racing days to reflect the current amount of racing, and prevents the addition of video lottery agents from triggering a reduction in the minimum number of days that existing harness tracks must offer harness racing. The bill also mandates that the new casinos would be subject to a one-time license fee as well as ongoing license fees, purse contributions and other payments that are currently paid by the state's 3 existing racinos: DE Park, Dover Downs, & Harrington Raceway.

Do you agree with this legislation?

* HB 54 - Regulatory Flexibility Act

Based on model legislation prepared by the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy and patterned after the federal act, it would require state agencies to publish an economic impact study with proposed regulations. Officials would use the information to consider the costs of such regulations on small businesses and the feasibility of exemptions or less stringent compliance or reporting requirements. If enacted, the bill would not take effect until 2/1/12, to provide adequate time for implementation. The bill is intended to help relieve the regulatory burden on the small business community, because 80% of Delaware companies employ fewer than 20 people.

Do you agree with this legislation?

* HB 55 - National electoral v. popular vote

This bill is part of a larger national effort to fundamentally change the way in which the U.S. elects its president and VP. If enacted, it would enter DE into an interstate compact where the member states agree to award their electoral votes based on the national popular vote. Currently, the elctoral votes of each state are awarded to the presidential ticket that wins the popular vote in that state. The compact would go into effect when states cumulatively possessing a majority of the electoral votes (270) joined. The act contains a provision allowing compact states to withdraw from the agreement.

Do you agree with this legislation?

* HB 60 - Standards for Dog Kennels

This bill would establish statewide standards for dog kennels and enclosures, including a formula for calculating the minimum allowable enclosure size. The bill would also prohibit tethering dogs less than 4 months of age and tethering any dog between the hours of 11:00pm and 6:00am for more than 15 minutes.

Do you agree with this legislation?

* HB 9 - Felon voting rights

This act is the first leg of a State Constitutional Amendment which eliminates the existing 5-year waiting period before eligible felons who have fully discharged their sentences may have their voting rights restored.

Do you agree with this legislation?

* HB 12 - Victim actions & sovereign immunity (Primary sponsor Rep. Lavelle)

This bill ensures that for a period of two years beginning July 1, 2011, victims of childhood sexual assaults by adult public sector employees may bring actions. Additionally, in the future sovereign immunity is waived as to the State and its political subdivisions, including school districts, for sexual abuse of a minor by an adult.

Do you agree with this legislation?

* HB 15 - Budget appropriations

This is a first leg of a Delaware Constitutional Amendment requiring that a budget bill that has a spending increase above the rate of inflation may not be adopted except with the concurrence of at least three-fifths of all members of each House.

Do you agree with this legislation?

* This is not a bill (yet)

Rep. Greg Lavelle has proposed that we use some of our newly found surplus to start the process of funding DELDOT from the General Fund rather than from the Highway Trust Fund, as it is now.

Do you agree with this approach?

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