Welcome to The Press Room, a weekly roundup of the most important tales and happenings of the 2023 Delaware legislative year.
My identify is Meredith Newman and I’ve been a reporter with The Information Journal for greater than 5 years. I started overlaying the legislature final spring. The hope of this roundup is to offer Delawareans digestible details about laws and the way coverage may have an effect on their on a regular basis lives. I additionally hope to offer some behind-the-scenes insights and evaluation.
This format will evolve because the session wades on. Ship story suggestions, suggestions, concepts or good gossip to me at email@example.com. Comply with me on Twitter at @MereNewman.
This week’s roundup consists of what you might need missed from the State of the State, the continued combat to legalize marijuana, a job drive specializing in long-term care and why retirees are upset with a invoice handed by the Senate.
The state of the State of the State
Gov. John Carney gave his sixth State of the State address this week, by which he laid out his priorities for the upcoming 12 months. Schooling seems to be a significant focus for each the governor and lawmakers.
Listed here are essentially the most noteworthy issues from the speech:
- Carney’s funds suggestion will embrace a 9% pay improve for lecturers, a lot of whom are leaving the state as a result of burnout or increased pay elsewhere.
- Alternative funding, which fits to low-income college students and English learners at Delaware public faculties, will improve to greater than $50 million. Extra state cash will go towards early childhood training.
- Extra inexpensive housing investments can be introduced in his funds presentation. There can be a give attention to rehabilitating blighted houses in Wilmington’s East Facet.
- Federal funding will go to constructing an infrastructure for the charging of electrical automobiles.
READ THE COVERAGE:Here are 5 takeaways from Delaware Gov. John Carney’s 2023 State of the State address
Puff, puff … may leisure marijuana lastly cross?
Home lawmakers launched two payments Friday to legalize and create a leisure marijuana trade in Delaware, establishing a probable combat inside the Democratic Social gathering this legislative session.
The combat to legalize leisure marijuana has been happening for a decade now, with efforts reaching a climax final 12 months. The Normal Meeting handed a invoice to legalize one ounce or much less of weed for folks ages 21 and older – however it was then vetoed by Carney. Democrats did not overturn it.
HERE WE GO AGAIN:Could this be the year Delaware legalizes recreational marijuana? What you need to know
The technique, as soon as once more led by Rep. Ed Osienski of Newark, stays the identical. One invoice goals to legalize small quantities of leisure marijuana for private use and one other seeks to create and regulate the trade.
The regulation invoice can be heard within the Home Income & Finance Committee at midday Tuesday. The legalization invoice can be heard on the Home Well being & Human Growth Committee at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
An necessary job drive you’ll want to regulate
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic confirmed how understaffed nursing houses and assisted residing services are in Delaware. Current state numbers confirmed that residents in assisted residing services now outnumber these in nursing houses.
In contrast to nursing houses, there aren’t any laws for particular staffing ratios for Delaware assisted residing services. Final session, a invoice was launched to create ratios for these services. However that laws was dropped and this taskforce was created instead.
Many Delaware caregivers have expressed critical concern concerning the state of dementia care in Delaware, significantly in assisted residing services. They’re imploring the state to replace laws to require higher coaching and take care of these susceptible residents.
The group, which largely consists of lawmakers and folks from the healthcare trade, has been assembly for just a few months now. The subsequent assembly is 2 p.m. Friday. To hear in or share your individual expertise, right here’s the meeting link.
‘We is perhaps outdated however we’re not silly’
The Senate handed a invoice this week that has caught the ire of many state retirees.
This summer season, state retirees fought again in opposition to Delaware’s plan to alter their insurance coverage to a Medicare Benefit plan. Many feared they might be compelled to join medical health insurance that might deny or delay care.
Retirees filed a lawsuit and a decide briefly blocked the change. A trial is pending. It resulted in state retirees preserving their present well being care plan in 2023.
BACKGROUND:Judge temporarily blocks Delaware from changing state retirees’ health care plan
The Senate invoice provides a state retiree and a union consultant to the State Worker Advantages Committee, which initially made the choice to alter insurance coverage. It additionally creates a subcommittee (that features retirees) to supply suggestions by Might 1 on find out how to transfer ahead.
However retirees should not pleased with this. Karen Peterson, a former state senator who was a plaintiff within the lawsuit, succinctly articulated retirees’ issues throughout public remark this week:
“The subcommittee created by this invoice is loaded with the people who find themselves hell-bent on shoving Medicare Benefit down our throats. It’s the identical forged of characters as final 12 months. So we all know what their suggestion goes to be. However this manner you’ll be able to all pat yourselves on the again, and say: ‘There we mounted that. These outdated people need a seat on the desk, so we gave them a seat on the desk.’ However really, it’s extra like a few deck chairs on the Titanic.
“We is perhaps outdated however we’re not silly. This invoice makes an attempt to placate us, to maintain us busy, to distract us, whereas this administration works to ram Medicare Benefit by way of but once more. For my part, a vote for this invoice is a vote in opposition to state retirees.”
The invoice handed with giant bipartisan help within the Senate. It will likely be heard within the House Administration committee at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.
What else to search for this week
- The governor will current his advisable funds on Thursday, exhibiting in higher element what his monetary priorities are for fiscal 12 months 2024.
- The Senate well being committee could have a meeting on Tuesday targeted on the lead poisoning problem in faculties, which my colleague Amanda Fries has extensively reported on.
- The Home overwhelmingly handed legislation final week growing the utmost unemployment weekly advantages from $400 to $450. It will likely be heard on the Senate Labor committee on Wednesday, with a attainable vote this week. The state, as of now, has the bottom unemployment advantages within the area.
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