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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - A new standardized test linked to Common Core academic standards is proving to be a challenge for Delaware school students.

First year results from the Smarter Balanced test released Wednesday show, on average, that barely half of Delaware students who tested are proficient in English language arts.

Statewide, less than 40 percent of students scored proficiently in math, including less than one-fourth of 11th graders.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A statewide business group says Delaware politicians need to take a hard look at cutting state spending.

The Delaware Business Roundtable issued a study Wednesday warning that unless officials take action, annual operating deficits could balloon to more than $600 million, or 11 percent of expenditures, by fiscal 2025.

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Last night a number of state employees told a hearing held by the Delaware NAACP about workplace discrimination.

The testimony was heard at the Immanuel House of Praise in Seaford where retired corrections officer Matthew Gibbs said during his time he saw favoritism and nepotism in what he called a buddy-buddy system.

WBOC reports that the 31 year Gibbs said there needs to be a better process for getting promotions.

The hearing is part of an effort by the Delaware NAACP in response to complaints it has received about racial discrimination in state government.

Delaware Department of Health

With the start of the school year Delaware public schools will be getting access to the drug Naloxone which reverses the effects overdose effects from heroin and other drugs.

The Department of Health and Social Services will be distributing the donation of 2-thousand Evzio injection units to the Department of Education, addiction treatment centers and participating law enforcement.

Delaware officials say 185 people died from suspected overdoses in the state last year.

Many of them were the result of heroin or prescription drugs.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A coalition of pastors and the NAACP that is investigating accusations of discrimination in state government is beginning to seek testimony at hearings in Kent and Sussex counties.
 
The Wilmington News Journal  reports that the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, a coalition of churches in the Dover area, and the Central Delaware NAACP have joined black pastors in New Castle County to conduct the hearings starting Tuesday.
 

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A special election for a Newark seat in the Delaware House of Representatives is set for Sept 12 which could end the ability of Democrats to achieve the three-fifths vote needed for such things as tax increases.  

So far, the Republican Eileen O-Shaughnessy-Coleman has raised $23,611 out distancing her Democratic rival David Bentz who has picked up nearly $16-thousand.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have dumped money into the campaigns as they struggle over the Democratic supermajority.

governor.delaware.gov

Governor Jack Markell has vetoed a measure that would have made it a felony rather than a misdemeanor for a health care worker to have intentional sexual contact with a patient.

The governor said that he found some of the language in the bill too vague and could be enforced in unpredictable ways.

In addition, he said that it did not take into account that the doctor-patient relationship may be different in one context and another.

He added it also made no distinction between consent and no consent.

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Openly carrying firearms in the city buildings and other functions in Bethany Beach may soon be banned.

At a work session this week Mayor Jack Gordon said the prohibition got the unanimous back from the town council.

Those with concealed weapons permits would still be allowed to carry their arms but they must be kept out of sight.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the action was prompted by an incident at a Newark City Council meeting where residents openly carried weapons into a meeting.

governor.delaware.gov

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell is joining Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy for a discussion on how to boost the economies of East Coast states.

Monday's discussion is part of the ongoing Eastern Regional Conference of the Council of State Governments in Wilmington.

The annual forum brings policy makers from Eastern states and Eastern Canadian provinces together with business leaders and policy experts to share ideas and approaches to public policy issues.

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Delaware Education Secretary Mark Murphy is stepping down and will be replaced by Steve Godowsky.

Godowsky was the former superintendent of the New Castle County Vo-Tech System.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that its sources say Murphy’s departure was expected.

Governor Jack Markell praised Murphy’s work and the results that are being seen in the classroom especially in graduation rates and more students going to college.

Murphy also oversaw a number of reforms that were tied to the federal Race to the Top program.

Delaware State Parks Website

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell is set to sign legislation that can help people charged with violating certain laws regarding the state park system from having criminal records that could jeopardize their job prospects.

The bill to be signed Friday declassifies several minor violations associated with state parks by changing them from unclassified misdemeanors to class D environmental violations.

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A new detox center will be opening in Harrington next month for those seeking the escape their drug addiction.

The 15-thousand square foot structure will provide 12 short-term beds for 23 hour observation and another 16 for those who need extensive care for a week.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that around 30 to 100 spaces will be for outpatient care such as counseling.

Yesterday afternoon Governor Jack Markell showed up for a press conference at the facility.

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Governor Jack Markell put his signature on a measure called the Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III Child Protection Act.

It would beef up background checks for private schools and summer camps.

The requirements would use finger prints for a national criminal background check.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that it would ban those with a criminal conviction for a felony sexual assault or a misdemeanor crime involving a child from such employment.

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HARRINGTON, Del. (AP) - State officials are discussing plans for $4.5 million in new funding to tackle substance abuse in Delaware.

State lawmakers approved the funding in the budget for fiscal 2016, which began last month.

Gov. Jack Markell sought the funding in his January budget proposal, noting that 185 Delawareans died from a suspected drug overdose last year and nearly 10,000 adults sought public treatment for addiction.

Markell planned to make an announcement about expanded substance abuse services on Wednesday at the site of a new detox center in Harrington.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Officials in Delaware say seven students have graduated from a new employment training program that prepares them to become certified nursing assistants.

The students graduated from the eight-week program, called Generation, on Tuesday. Gov. Jack Markell gave the keynote address at the ceremony.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Delaware cats are a new protected class under animal control legislation being signed into law by Gov. Jack Markell.

Markell was to sign two bills Tuesday, one relating to cruelty to animals, and the other involving dangerous dogs.

One measure allows first responders to use reasonable force to remove an animal confined in a motor vehicle under conditions likely to cause suffering, injury, or death.

Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church Website

African American pastors in Delaware are investigating – what they say – is racism by state employees.

The interviews are being carried out by the Interdenominational Ministers Action Council and the NAACP.

Eventually they will hand over a report to Governor Jack Markell.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the ministers and NAACP say they have heard accounts from African American workers.

governor.delaware.gov

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell is signing legislation to consolidate regulations for background checks for people working with children in Delaware.

The bill to be signed Monday consolidates into one section of state code the background check requirements for individuals who want to work or volunteer for child-serving entities.

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NEWARK, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell is signing legislation aimed at improving fire safety for homeowners in Delaware.

The bill to be signed Thursday requires builders of new single-family and two-family homes to provide buyers a cost estimate for installing an automatic sprinkler system. The new law also requires that homebuyers be given information from the State Fire Marshal's Office about the benefits of automatic sprinklers.

dmv.de.gov

NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell is set to sign legislation targeting the driving privileges of motorists with unpaid traffic fines.

The bill to be signed Monday changes the procedures for the suspension, nonrenewal, or nonduplication of driver's licenses or driving privileges for the failure to resolve motor vehicle charges.

The new law says driver's licenses will not be renewed or duplicate licenses issued if there are outstanding fines or fees for minor traffic offenses subject to voluntary assessment until the fees are paid by the license applicant.

nccde.org

The Democratic field is already shaping up for next year’s gubernatorial race in Delaware.

New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon is not ruling out a run in 2016.

He told the Wilmington News Journal that he had not made up his mind yet.

Campaign news has already been made by Governor Jack Markell who said the Delaware Congressman John Carney would be a terrific choice.

Markell defeated the Delaware Democrat in winning the governorship.

 

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Governor Jack Markell gave high praise to his former political rival congressman John Carney adding that the Delaware Democrat would make a terrific gubernatorial candidate next year.

The semi-endorsement came through a spokesman for the governor this past weekend.

Carney has not indicated if he will make a run for the governorship.

Markell beat Carney in the 2008 gubernatorial primary.

Meanwhile, Carper worked for then Governor Tom Carper during the mid-1990’s.

Markell will leave office next year after his two term limit is up. 

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The Lewes City Council has conditionally approved a measure that would keep people from openly carrying weapons into municipal settings.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the town is using a new power given by state legislation which has not yet been signed by the governor.

Governor Jack Markell’s office says it has not yet gotten to his desk and the resort made implementation dependent upon the governor’s signature.

The resort currently restricts the right to open carry within the town limits with exception for hunters and police officers.

An Apology for Slavery?

Jul 8, 2015
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There could be an apology for slavery in Delaware.

Governor Jack Markell received a request for such a proclamation last week from Harmon Carey, founder and executive director of the Afro-American Historical Society in Wilmington.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that he wrote that there was a “moral imperative”0 to acknowledge the inhumanity of slavery and the unjust prosecution of Abolitionists.

Carey says he believes an apology would heal the wounds still being felt to this day.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Legislation adding electronic cigarettes to Delaware's indoor smoking ban is now state law.

Gov. Jack Markell signed the ban on smoking e-cigarettes in indoor public areas in a ceremony Tuesday at a Wilmington restaurant.

The legislation adds electronic cigarettes to Delaware's existing prohibition on smoking in restaurants, bars and other public places.

The new law contains an exemption for businesses that sell electronic cigarettes if 80 percent of revenue comes from such products and the business meets certain other conditions.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Legislation adding electronic cigarettes to Delaware's indoor smoking ban is about to become law.

Gov. Jack Markell planned to sign the ban on smoking e-cigarettes in indoor public areas in a ceremony Tuesday at a Wilmington restaurant.

The legislation adds electronic cigarettes to Delaware's existing prohibition on smoking in restaurants, bars and other public places.

Delaware department of transportation

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell has signed legislation allowing certain people living in the U.S. without docuements to gain driving privileges in Delaware.

Markell signed the bill shortly after it passed the House on a 22-15 vote Tuesday. The legislation, which cleared the Senate last week, takes effect in six months.

Many were on hand in Legislative Hall when the vote came down.  Among them were 18 year old Miguel Tapia who was born in Mexico, 17 year old Henry Gonzalez from Georgetown and Reverend Alvin Figueroa:

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The Delaware General Assembly has spoken.

Students in public schools will be allowed to opt out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment tests.

The state Senate took all of five minutes to approve the measure.

It now goes to Governor Jack Markell who opposes the opt-out provision.

But both houses approved the measure by veto-proof votes.

The governor now has ten days to decide what to do.

Some parents have already kept their children from taking the test.

                

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - State lawmakers are beginning to work in earnest on a capital budget for road and construction projects in the upcoming fiscal year.

The legislature's capital budget committee met Thursday to review Gov. Jack Markell's proposed $385 million capital spending plan.

At the same time, lawmakers added roughly $24 million in proposed additional spending items, while acknowledging they don't have a lot of money to work with.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Donald Parsons, one of five judges on Delaware's Court of Chancery, has said he plans to step down when his term expires in October.

Judiciary officials said Monday that Parsons informed Gov. Jack Markell of his decision in a letter dated a week ago.

Officials said Parsons, who was appointed to a 12-year term in 2003 by former Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, has not announced his post-retirement plans.

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