Single-Payer Healthcare Bill Stricken
Legislation that would create a single-payer healthcare system in Delaware was stricken this week after opponents misinterpreted the intent behind the filing of the legislation.When House Bill 392 was filed earlier this month, lead sponsor Rep. John Kowalko said that he had no intention of moving forward with the legislation, but simply wanted to start a public dialogue on the issue. Opponents believed that the bill was being rushed through the General Assembly, even after House Majority Leader Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf – who helps set the agenda – stated publicly that the bill would not be worked this year. To quell these concerns, Rep. Kowalko struck HB 392, which means that the legislation no longer exists and cannot be revisited. The legislative session ends on June 30, at which point no new legislation can be introduced.
Note from me: We stated that this bill had little chance of passage this year. This explanation is cover for the fact this bill has become a lightning rod. It called cutting your losses. It is a victory for the good guys. Don’t let these folks off the hook. It will be back if we don’t slam the door shut by taking it to the people.
Recognizing the critical need to protect children from abuse and neglect, legislation creating tougher penalties against child abusers has overwhelmingly passed both houses of Delaware’s General Assembly.
|Child Abuse Bill on its Way to Governor
Senate Bill 234 creates the offense of Child Abuse in three levels:
*First Degree Child Abuse: Individuals convicted of recklessly or intentionally causing serious physical injuries to a child will face a maximum of 25 years in prison.
*Second Degree Child Abuse: Adds additional protections for the most vulnerable children by providing a maximum two-year jail term for those who injure children aged three and under or children who have significant intellectual or developmental disabilities.
*Third Degree Child Abuse: Causing physical injury to a child will carry a maximum prison term of one year and a maximum fine of $3,200.
Rep. Rebecca Walker, who was the lead House sponsor, is an emergency room nurse and has seen multiple cases of child abuse firsthand – children with broken bones, punctured organs and burns. She noted that up until now, there has been a gap in our criminal code that many of these child abuse cases she has seen have slipped through. Rep. Walker said that this new law, which was drafted by Attorney General Beau Biden, will protect all children from the lifelong and possibly deadly consequences of these vicious acts.
National data shows that child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education. About 80 percent of 21-year-olds who were abused as children meet criteria for at least one psychological disorder, and roughly 30 percent of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own kids.
Child sexual abuse is similarly widespread, as one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before they turn 18. Each day across the United States, more than five children lose their lives to abuse. Most of those victims are under the age of four.
Note from me: Every act Rep. Walker discussed was already illegal and is not penalized more harshly under this bill. Here is the roll call. We picked up 4 Democrats in opposition.
Bill Restoring Voting Rights Passes GA
The General Assembly passed the first leg of a constitutional amendment this week that would allow eligible felons to vote after completing their sentences instead of having to way for an additional five years.
House Bill 9 would eliminate a five-year waiting period that eligible felons who have fully discharged their sentences must endure before they can have their voting rights restored. Lead sponsor Rep. Helene Keeley took up the issue this session in honor of the late Rep. Hazel Plant, who herself pushed the legislation on behalf of her late husband, former Rep. Al O. Plant.
The bill does not change existing exemptions in the state constitution preventing a person from regaining their voting rights. Persons convicted of crimes such as murder, manslaughter, felony sex offenses or felony crimes against public administration, such as bribery, still would not be able to have their voting rights restored.
An identical version of the bill must pass in the 147th General Assembly, which would begin in January 2013, for the constitutional change to take effect.
Surrounded by legislators and advocates, Governor Jack Markell signed legislation this week that limits borrowers to taking out five payday loans of $1,000 or less in any 12-month period. Rep. Helene Keeley (third from left) was the lead sponsor of House Bill 289, which also creates a database to track the number of payday loans a person has obtained.
Many of the annual percentage rates for payday loans commonly run in excess of 400 percent, and many who take out loans are forced to repeatedly take out and roll over loans because they can’t pay them off, which often leads to them defaulting. Thirteen other states outright prohibit payday loans, while another 21 states prohibit payday loan rollovers. Thirteen states have statewide databases to track payday loans.
Note from me: So now our state government (PDRD) is out right data basing and tracking your private financial information for the purpose of controlling your ability to engage in commerce that it doesn’t approve, I can think of a lot less privacy invading ways to accomplish this objective.
| Governor Signs Bill Limiting Payday Loans