Although the school year is over, I wanted to focus on what we can do to help Delaware students. That is why I introduced HB 408, which expands school breakfast programs in Delaware schools. Hunger is a major detriment to our children learning in school (12% of school-aged kids skip breakfast).
While schools typically serve breakfast before school starts, many students may miss this opportunity to eat breakfast for a variety of reasons, such as tight morning arrival times and the social stigma attached to the traditional school breakfast program. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, as many as 12 percent of school-aged children skip breakfast.
House Bill 408 directs Delaware schools to adopt proven “Alternative Service Models” that have been shown to increase the number of students who eat breakfast at school, which in turn leads to better attendance rates, a reduction in disciplinary problems, and improved test scores, research has shown.
This legislation is supported by the Food Bank of Delaware, the DSEA and the state Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) and was passed by the General Assembly on July 1st. I look forward to Governor Markell signing the bill into law.
This year, the Newark Senior Center has been celebrating its 50th Anniversary. I hope you will join me in supporting an organization that is important in our community. The Newark Senior Center provides a long list of educational programs, social services, and physical fitness programs designed to improve the quality of life for seniors in the Newark area. The Center also runs a vital Meals on Wheels program, which allows seniors who are unable to provide for themselves receive the nutritious meals they need to remain in their homes.
Please visit http://www.newarkseniorcenter.com/ for more information on how you can help out this wonderful organization
On June 24th, Governor Markell signed into law legislation that I sponsored with Representative Val Longhurst that would close a serious federal loophole that annually allows thousands of prohibited persons to purchase firearms without passing a background check.
Under HB 325, a person purchasing a firearm would need to pass a background check before a transaction could be completed. This would not impact the vast majority of gun transactions in Delaware, as 92% of background checks are completed in a matter of minutes, or at most, hours. This would eliminate the “delayed transactions” (also known as “default proceeds”) of guns being turned over because a background check takes longer than three business days.
As amended, HB 325 allows 25 days for a background check to be completed before a firearm could be transferred.
According to the FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation, from 2010-14, gun dealers completed 15,729 gun sales to ineligible people due to the delayed transaction provision.
This spring, the 148th General Assembly participated in the 148 in the 148th food drive, which brought together organizations and donors across the state to raise 148,000 pounds of donations for the Food Bank of Delaware.
Spearheaded by Rep. Lyndon Yearick of Camden, Delaware, and myself, the food drive shattered its goal and brought in more than 173,000 pounds of food items that will be distributed to needy families across Delaware.
Special thanks go out to Delaware Technical Community College for mobilizing the college community to participate, and to the Delaware Food Industry Council, which gathered 75,00 pounds of donations from its local supermarket members.
For more information about donating to the Food Bank of Delaware, please visit www.fbd.org
This week, the House Democratic Caucus put together a video with myself and my fellow union brother Rep. JJ Johnson talking about the importance of this holiday weekend and the real meaning of “Labor” in Labor Day. Please take a minute and watch.
The Importance of Labor Day
My “First Friday” constituent meetings take place on the first Friday of every month from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. at the Newark Senior Center. These are great opportunities for us to talk about the issues facing the 24th District. Hope to see you there!
Michael Botticelli, director of the National Drug Control Policy, announced last Monday at Christiana Hospital that Delaware will receive a portion of federal funding to combine law enforcement and public health efforts to reduce trafficking, distribution and use of heroin.
The $2.5 million will fund the “Heroin Response Strategy,” which will create public health and public safety partnerships across 15 states to fight drug use in five high-intensity drug-trafficking regions including Appalachia, New England, Philadelphia/Camden, New York/New Jersey and Washington/Baltimore. This strategy will concentrate on prevention and data collection, rather than punishment.
The money will fund a new drug intelligence officer and public health analyst in each of the 15 states to help share information across state lines to regionally report where drug overdoses are occurring and increase awareness and education to prevent addiction.
On August 6th, at the Aetna Hose, Hook & Ladder station on Rt. 273, Governor Jack Markell signed HB 133, which will give homebuyers crucial information about lifesaving residential sprinkler systems when they have a new home built.
Residential sprinklers have an upfront cost, but they are proven lifesavers in putting out fires and can lower homeowners’ insurance costs. By making sure homebuyers have this information in hand, they can make informed decisions about something they might otherwise not consider.
After a busy six-month session, the General Assembly is now in recess until January. I’d like to take this opportunity to update you on the major pieces of legislation I sponsored or co-sponsored that succeeded in passing through the House and Senate this year:
House Bill 133: This measure will require builders of new single-family homes to provide homebuyers with the option to have a fire sprinkler system installed in their new homes. Fire sprinkler systems are a proven, valuable life safety and fire protection upgrade.
House Bill 169: This bill permits DelDOT to use a design-build process for many of its projects, a proven cost-savings method that also improves project delivery times
Senate Bill 138: This bill allows for rigorous, high-quality scientific research on the safety and effectiveness of medical marijuana to take place at Fraunhofer Center for Molecular Biotechnology located here in the 24th District.
House Bill 140: This bill updated several DMV fees (many of which had not been changed in 20 years or more,) raising revenue for the Transportation Trust Fund to pay for new infrastructure projects statewide. Due to the passage of this bill, Municipal Street Aid for the city of Newark was restored. Also, this bill preserved our local Community Transportation Fund, which aids in paving roads across the 24th District.
Though this year’s budget challenges were difficult, I was successful in lobbying my colleagues on the Joint Finance Committee to retain grant-in-aid funding for the Newark Senior Center and Delaware’s Volunteer Fire Companies.
I also want to thank all of you who have contacted me this year regarding many of the important issues facing our state. I tried my best to answer each and every call and email, and I apologize if I missed one of you.
I sincerely appreciate your interest and comments on the legislative process and I hope you continue to let me know your thoughts going forward.