jack markell

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.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The General Assembly's budget-writing committee is resuming work on a spending plan for the fast-approaching new fiscal year.

The Joint Finance Committee was to reconvene Monday to continue marking up Gov. Jack Markell's proposed $3.9 billion budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

The committee's work got a little easier last week when revenue estimates for the current and upcoming fiscal years increased by about $33 million.

But available revenue is still about $15 million lower than when Markell unveiled his budget proposal in January.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware Gov. Jack Markell has signed legislation decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Markell signed the bill Thursday shortly after it passed the Democrat-controlled Senate on a straight party line vote.

The measure also received no Republican support when it passed the Democrat-led House earlier this month. Republicans say it sends the wrong message to young people, even though it keeps simple possession a criminal offense for anyone under 18.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A bill to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in Delaware is facing its final legislative hurdle.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill on Thursday. It cleared the Democratic-controlled House earlier this month on a party-line vote.

Democratic Gov. Jack Markell has indicated that he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

The bill would eliminate criminal penalties for possession of one ounce of marijuana or less for personal use. Instead, it would be a civil offense punishable by a $100 fine.

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NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - The panel that issues Delaware's official revenue forecast has given legislative budget writers a little more breathing room.

The Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council on Monday boosted the net revenue estimate for the current and upcoming fiscal years. The panel says revenues are up by about $33 million over last month's estimate, thanks mostly to personal and corporate income tax collections.

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NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - The panel that issues Delaware's official revenue forecast is providing its final update of the fiscal year.

Lawmakers will use Monday's update from the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council to finish marking up Gov. Jack Markell's proposed $3.9 billion budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

Last month, the estimate of revenue available for fiscal 2016 increased by about $18.5 million, following a decline of $22 million in April.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Delaware's first medical marijuana dispensary will open on June 26, more than four years after lawmakers and Gov. Jack Markell first legalized pot for medicinal use.

The Wilmington News Journal reports The First Compassion Center, located outside of Wilmington, will open from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Patient orientations are planned for June 18 and June 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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The Delaware state Senate has voted to ban e-cigarettes from indoor areas with the exception of vape shops and has sent the measure to the governor’s desk.

Middletown Democrat Bethany Hall who sponsored the bill said that this will provide another level of protection for the public.

The legislation was approved on a 13-7 vote and saw a number of amendments turned down by the upper chamber.

Two would have exempted cigar shops as well as taprooms and taverns.

The state House of Representatives turned back similar amendments.

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A legislative hearing exploded yesterday when Delaware lawmakers and parents found themselves in a shouting match over whether to allow students to opt-out of the statewide test.

It’s called the Smarter Balanced Assessment which students took for the first time this year.

The legislation before the lawmakers would allow students to opt out of taking the test.

A number of angry parents said they would keep their children from taking the test with one saying he didn’t care what the law said.

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Despite a 2009 executive order by Governor Jack Markell to increase the diversity of the state workforce a new report says that it has declined over the years.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that black state officials and administrators have declined from 21 percent six years ago to 20 percent.

A group of African American leaders including those from the NAACP of Delaware and the Interdenominational Ministers Action Council say they will organize an effort to confront discrimination in state government.

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STANTON, Del. (AP) - Delaware Technical and Community College hosted an official unveiling ceremony to showcase the school's new nursing wing that drew a crowd of state and New Castle County leaders.

The Wilmington News Journal reports Gov. Jack Markell and other officials toured the new nursing wing in the Stanton campus Monday. Students have been working in the wing, which features labs, simulators and study spaces, since last August.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Republican lawmakers have introduced legislation to eliminate Delaware's estate tax effective July 1.

The legislation introduced Thursday aligns with a recommendation by a state panel formed by Democratic Gov. Jack Markell.

The panel, which studied how to make Delaware's revenues more predictable and aligned with economic conditions, noted that the estate tax is volatile and brings in little money - only $1.3 million last year.

Don Rush

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Members of AAA Mid-Atlantic can now get roadside assistance even if they ditch the car and hop on their bicycles.

AAA is announcing Friday that it is extending bicycle coverage at no extra cost to members in Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia and parts of Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. 

That means if a member's bicycle breaks down, AAA Mid-Atlantic will send a service vehicle to take the member and the bicycle to a nearby bicycle shop, home or other safe location.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from the Republican candidate in last year's recorder of deeds race in Kent County.

The court ruled Thursday that a judge should have dismissed a petition filed by La Mar Gunn challenging the election results, rather than ordering a hand recount. That recount ended in a tie, and Democratic Gov. Jack Markell appointed Democratic incumbent Betty Lou McKenna to the office.

legis.delaware.gov

DOVER, Del. (AP) - A House committee is set to hold a pivotal hearing on legislation to abolish Delaware's death penalty.

The bill narrowly cleared the Senate last month. The chief House sponsor of the bill, however, concedes that he probably doesn't have enough votes in the judiciary committee to send the bill to the House floor.

Democratic Rep. Sean Lynn of Dover says he plans to take the politically risky option of trying to suspend rules and bring the bill straight to the floor.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Democratic Gov. Jack Markell has come out in support of an effort to repeal Delaware's death penalty.

Markell said Thursday that if a bill to abolish capital punishment reaches his desk, he would sign it.

In recent years, Markell has refused to say where he stands on the issue.

But Markell said the recent acknowledgment by the FBI that examiners in its microscopic hair comparison unit gave flawed testimony in more than 250 criminal cases, including death penalty cases, before 2000, helped him reach a decision.

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The Delaware state House of Representatives has given its blessing to a measure that would allow parents to opt out of standardized testing without their children suffering any disciplinary or academic consequences.

The vote was 36 to 3 with two lawmakers absent.    

Governor Jack Markell has said that he opposes the legislation.

Fellow Democrat Representative John Kowalko who sponsored the bill said that this was not meant as any criticism of the governor’s record on education.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state House of Representatives is set to vote on a bill that allows public school students to opt out of state standardized testing.

The bill, which was the subject of a contentious committee hearing last month, was scheduled for a House vote on Thursday.

The legislation allows parents and guardians to have their children skip the annual assessment without any academic or disciplinary repercussions for the students.

Food Bank of Delaware

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Organizers of a conference being held in Wilmington are hoping to bring government agencies, nonprofits, businesses and faith-based groups together in an effort to end hunger in Delaware.

Gov. Jack Markell is among the scheduled speakers at Monday's conference, which is sponsored by The Food Bank of Delaware, Brae's Brown Bags and the Food Research and Action Center.

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The state of Delaware will spend a million dollars to bring a fiber-optic data line that connects Seaford Georgetown and Lewes.

In making his announcement Governor Jack Markell said that he hopes the project could be completed by the end of the year.

The Delaware Democrat said that the aim of the effort is to connect the remaining pockets in the state that do not have access to high-speed data lines.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that Fibertech will build the data system for businesses and Internet providers who can then buy access.

Don Rush

NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - A panel exploring how to make Delaware's revenue portfolio less unpredictable and more reflective of economic conditions is putting the finishing touches on its report.

The Structural Revenue Review Committee was to meet Friday to discuss the content and dissemination of its report to Gov. Jack Markell and state lawmakers.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state Senate is poised to vote on a bill establishing a moratorium on new charter schools in Delaware.

The legislation to be voted on Tuesday creates a moratorium until June 2018 or until the state school board develops a strategic plan for the number of charter, traditional and vocational/technical schools in Delaware.

The legislation also calls for input to be accepted from the mayor and city council of Wilmington before any new charters are approved there.

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There have been a large number of pardons being issued in Delaware.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that Governor Jack Markell has issued nearly 16-hundred during his six years in office.

Most of them are for minor offenses.

The governor’s office says that the pardons are important in giving people with criminal records a second chance and not to be stigmatized for the rest of their lives.

But the paper reports that the state does not follow the outcomes of those who have been given a pardon.

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Delaware lawmakers have moved to make Naloxone available to school nurses throughout the state to fight the rising use of heroin.

The drug reverses the effects of an overdose.

The state House of Representatives approved the measure yesterday afternoon.

Representative Mike Barbieri said the legislation would not require schools to keep the drug on hand.

Last year Governor Jack Markell signed a law that made the drug available without a prescription.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - State officials are launching a new campaign aimed at reducing underage and binge drinking in Delaware.

Gov. Jack Markell and first lady Carla Markell planned to join public health officials and educators at Concord High School in Wilmington on Thursday for the launch of the campaign, which is aimed at young people from ages 12 to 25. 

The new campaign is an extension of an existing program targeting underage drinking but will feature separate messaging for prevention.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - State officials are set to announce the first round of grants in a new program aimed to given Delaware high schools specialized training in high-demand career fields.

Gov. Jack Markell was scheduled to join education officials at Appoquinimink High School in Middletown and Polytech High School in Woodside on Wednesday to announce the state's first Pathways to Prosperity grants.

Delaware Revenues Down

Apr 21, 2015
Don Rush

NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - Members of the Delaware legislature's budget-writing committee will have to sharpen their pencils again following another decline in projected revenues for the upcoming fiscal year.

The panel that sets the official revenue forecast on Monday lowered its estimate of revenue available for fiscal 2016 by $21.7 million compared to last month, when the estimate fell by $45 million.

The latest revision means revenue estimates have fallen about $67 million since Democratic Gov. Jack Markell proposed a $3.9 billion budget in January.

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