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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell is joining Delaware's congressional delegation for a groundbreaking ceremony on a long-awaited road project to ease traffic congestion in southern New Castle County.

Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau also is among those scheduled to attend Friday's groundbreaking for the U.S. 301 project.

The new 301 will be limited-access, four-lane toll road stretching from the Maryland/Delaware state line to State Route 1 north of the Biddles Corner Toll Plaza.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Members of the General Assembly's budget-writing committee are ready to begin delving into Gov. Jack Markell's proposed $4.1 billion operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Joint Finance Committee was to convene Tuesday to begin a monthlong series of hearings and discussion on individual agency budget requests for fiscal 2017, which starts July 1.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Proponents of a defeated measure to abolish Delaware's death penalty say they'll continue fighting until capital punishment is outlawed.

The legislation failed Thursday in the state House, getting 16 of the 21 votes needed for passage. Twenty-three lawmakers voted against the bill, which cleared the Senate last year by a single vote.

Supporters said they would try to resurrect the measure after a five-week break for budget meetings.

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The battle over Maryland Governor Larry Hogan's $42 billion budget is about to begin in Annapolis as Democrats vow to ensure their priorities are represented in the final document. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush spoke with Anjali Shastry with the Washington Times who has been covering the opening gambits on the budget.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Just months after fellow Democrats expressed concerns about Delaware's dire financial situation and a potential $160 million shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year, Gov. Jack Markell is proposing to increase the state's operating budget by more than 5 percent.

The $4.1 billion proposal unveiled Thursday includes $18 million in new spending for a general pay increase for state employees, and an additional $16 million for other salary increases, including $9 million in annual pay increases for teachers.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state House of Representatives is set to vote on a bill to abolish Delaware's death penalty.

The bill to be voted on Thursday narrowly cleared the Senate last year, but had been languishing in a House committee until the committee chairman agreed last week to release it.

Judiciary Committee members voted 6-to-5 last May not to send the bill to the full House after it narrowly cleared the Senate on an 11-to-9 vote.

Democratic Gov. Jack Markell has said he would sign the measure if it reaches his desk.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Legislation to increase Delaware's $8.25 minimum wage by $2 over four years has generated sharp discussion in the state Senate.

Bill sponsor Robert Marshall of Wilmington tabled the bill Tuesday after lengthy debate, saying later he didn't know whether it had enough votes to pass.

Supporters say the measure will help struggling low-wage earners. Opponents say it will lead to businesses cutting jobs, hiring fewer workers and even leaving Delaware.

Don Rush

There was lots of snow this weekend with the highest amount winding up in Kent County Delaware at 16 inches.

In the southern portion of the state around 4 inches.

In Cambridge, the snow registered 13 inches.

Here in Salisbury it was 4.8 inches deep. Residents told Delmarva Public Radio’s Nathaniel Williamson they were relieved at it wasn’t more.

On Wallops Island the snow was around 5.2 inches.

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Gov. Jack Markell has lifted Delaware's state of emergency and driving warning.

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Governor Jack Markell gave is last state of the state address yesterday hailing the changes that have taken place as Delaware emerges from the Great Recession.

The Delaware Democrat said the state must still evolve calling for higher pay for teachers and to meet the changing economy he wanted to expand job training programs.

In addition, he said it was time to revamping health care coverage for state employees.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A death penalty repeal bill that had been languishing in a House committee is headed to a vote by the full House next week after the committee chairman agreed to release it.

Judiciary Committee members voted 6-to-5 last May not to send the bill to the full House after it cleared the Senate on an 11-to-9 vote.

But committee chairman Rep. John Mitchell, D-Elsmere, who opposes repeal, said Thursday that he had signed it out of committee with an "unfavorable" endorsement, allowing the bill to move forward.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware Gov. Jack Markell is set to give his final State of the State address.

The two-term Democrat, who is prohibited by law from seeking a third term, will address a joint session of the General Assembly on Thursday.

Markell will lay out his vision for the state during his final year in office, calling for Delawareans to build on the accomplishments of his administration and to expect more progress, even in challenging times.

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The new Labor Secretary in Delaware has gotten high praise from a coalition of ministers and the NAACP after accusations have swirled around agency of racist atmosphere in the agency.

Patrice Gilliam-Johnson is African American and has known Governor Jack Markell for decades.

She is chairwoman of the Organizational Dynamics program at Wilmington University.

The appointment comes after 73 year-old John McMahon announced his retirement as his agency faced accusations of racism in a report by the coalition of ministers.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - The state House has approved a resolution apologizing for Delaware's role in slavery and wrongs committed against blacks during the Jim Crow era.

The resolution passed on a 38-1 vote Thursday and now goes to the Senate.  Gov. Jack Markell has said he supports the measure.

Chief House sponsor Rep. Stephanie Bolden acknowledged that the resolution is a symbolic measure aimed at promoting "reconciliation and healing."

The resolution states that it is the General Assembly's intent that it not be used in, or be the basis for, any litigation.

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The effort to override Delaware Governor Jack Markell’s veto of a measure that would have allow students to opt out of the state’s standardized test has failed.

Representative John Kowalko tried to get a resolution to suspend the House rules in order to get a vote on opt out legislation.

But it failed by a vote of 13 to 26.

The Newark Democrat told the Wilmington News Journal that he will try to get the legislation onto the regular agenda but he said he was not optimistic.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - House lawmakers have approved proposed changes to Delaware's corporate income tax system to eliminate disincentives for multistate firms to hire workers and invest in property in the state.

The legislation, supported by Gov. Jack Markell, was approved Thursday on a 36-to-2 vote and sent to the Senate.

The bill revises a formula that equally factors the Delaware-based percentages of a company's total payroll, property and sales in calculating the state income tax due.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware lawmakers are poised to challenge Gov. Jack Markell's veto of a bill allowing Delaware students to opt out of standardized tests.

The legislation would allow students to opt out of tests without repercussions. It is aimed in particular at the Smarter Balanced Assessment, which is tied to Common Core standards championed by Markell.

Rep. John Kowalko, a Newark Democrat, was expected to seek an override vote Thursday, following a rally by supporters of the legislation.

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Delaware Labor Secretary John McMahon is stepping down amidst allegations of workplace racism in his agency.

He announced yesterday that he will be retiring at the age of 73.

The issue of racism in Delaware state government has gotten the attention of Governor Jack Markell who recently received a report by African American leaders that found state employees complaining of a racially hostile environment.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that Markell is expected to name a replacement in the coming days and he praised him for his work during the Great Recession.

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Governor Jack Markell wants to make Delaware more tax friendly for business.

So, he has said that he wants to change the way the corporate tax is calculated.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the Delaware Democrat wants to move from a formula based on the proportion of employees, property and sales in the First State to one based only on in-state sales.

It’s estimated that the change would cost the state around $8.2 billion in the next fiscal year and would total $47 billion over the next three years.

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A coalition of groups has released a report that found rampant racial discrimination for Delaware state employees.

The report was released by the NAACP and other groups this week and came after a meeting with Governor Jack Markell.

WBOC reports that the findings from testimony from state employees ranged from 26 percent complaining about a hostile work environment to 24 percent about recruitment, hiring and promotion problems.

In addition, another 18 percent testified that there was racial discrimination while another 17 percent said they had seen retaliation.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware officials are scrapping a state standardized test for high school juniors in favor of the SAT college entrance exam.

Wednesday's announcement comes one week after House Democrats sent a letter to Gov. Jack Markell urging that 11th-graders be allowed to take the SAT in lieu of the state Smarter Balanced assessment, which is tied to the Common Core standards.

The change takes effect this spring.

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Discrimination against state employees was the subject of a closed door meeting yesterday between Governor Jack Markell and a coalition of Delaware leaders from the African American community.

They presented him with a report drawn from testimony by state employees that says there is rampant racism within state government.

The Wilmington News Journal says that the report makes six recommendations on how agencies deal with discrimination in the office.

Last year, the group took testimony from around a 100 state workers across Delaware.

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This coming January 14th the Delaware Parents Teacher Association is planning on holding a rally at Legislative Hall in Dover challenging Governor Jack Markell’s decision to veto a measure that would have allow students to opt out of state standardized tests.

That’s two days after the legislative session begins.

State Representative John Kowalko told the Wilmington News Journal that he is planning on preparing legislation that will override the governor’s decision.

His measure would specifically allow parents to opt their children out of the exams.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware has officially decriminalized possession by adults of small amounts of marijuana.

Just past the stroke of midnight on Friday, a decriminalization law signed in June by Gov. Jack Markell took effect.

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A coalition of groups stood in front of Legislative Hall yesterday to hand over a letter to Governor Jack Markell opposing his decision to allow Syrian refugees into the First State.

Karen Gritton, executive director of the group 9-12 Delaware Patriots said that the FBI cannot guarantee an adequate vetting of those coming from the Middle East if they come through some of the embattled countries.

The Concerned Coalition Alliance of Delaware also includes Faith and Freedom Coalition, Central Delaware NAACP and the Frederick Douglass Foundation of Sussex County.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Gov.  Jack Markell is joining cabinet members and other state officials to announce the appointment of Delaware's 17th poet laureate,

First Lady Carla Markell, Secretary of State Jeff Bullock and Division of the Arts Director Paul Weagraff also will be on hand for Wednesday's ceremony at the Delaware Art Museum.

The current poet laureate, JoAnn Balingit, is retiring after seven years in the post, following her appointment by former Gov. Ruth Ann Minner in 2008.

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The Delaware Senate Majority leader David McBride is being treated for colorectal cancer.

The Democrat from Hawk’s Nest told that he would begin six months of chemotherapy treatment following his surgery in November.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that McBride wrote to supporters that the cancer had been detected during a regular screening leading to prompt treatment.

Despite the treatment he said he would be around for the regular Senate term that begins in January.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A nonprofit group is suing Delaware officials over the use of bank settlement money to help balance the state budget.

The Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council filed the lawsuit Monday, several months after asking federal officials to oversee distribution of Bank of America settlement funds.

Defendants in the lawsuit are Gov. Jack Markell, the state treasurer, and the legislature's controller general.

Markell's office did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell has announced his support for a resolution that condemns and apologizes for slavery.

On the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment, Gov. Markell visited the congregation at Bethel AME Church Sunday morning, saying he joins House representatives in support of a joint resolution that will say Delaware denounces and deplores slavery.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Delaware's Human Relations Commission voted to urge Gov. Jack Markell and state lawmakers to issue a formal apology for slavery.
 
The Wilmington News Journal reports the 24-member commission voted unanimously during a special meeting Tuesday. The commission is a state panel charged with promoting positive relationships among racial and ethnic groups.
 

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell is joining Delaware education officials to announce the state's second round of Pathways to Prosperity grants.

Monday's announcement involves grants to high schools to offer students the opportunity to gain workplace experience and earn college credit in high-demand fields.

Those fields include finance, health care and information technology.

Markell proposed the initiative in his State of the State address earlier this year as a way to help prepare Delaware's future workforce.

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