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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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Delaware’s former medical examiner who is under criminal investigation has received – what one lawmaker called – a golden parachute.

After leaving office Dr. Richard Callery is received not only his state pension, but the Wilmington News Journal reports that he got $75-thousand dollars benefits for hundreds of hours in unused sick and vacation leave.

Callery oversaw the state’s drug lab where evidence went missing and which was eventually overhauled.

He received a salary of nearly $200-thousand making him one of the highest paid officials in the state.

Don Rush

There’s a $780 million funding deficit over the next six years for repairing the roads and bridges in the state of Delaware.

Lawmakers are considering a number of options including hiking fees and taxes.

But Governor Jack Markell and legislators have not been able to see eye to eye on how to pay for new transportation projects.

WBOC reports that last year the governor had sought a 10-cent hike in the gas tax as well as seeking bonds to find money for the $500 million improvements over the next 5 years.

But, on a bipartisan basis that plan was rejected.

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Delaware Governor Jack Markell uses a pseudonym email address to conduct public business.

And that has drawn sharp criticism from Representative John Kowalko and John Flaherty president of the Delaware Coalition for Open Government.

They have sent a Freedom of Information Act request for the alias email that the governor uses.

The two say that the emails sidestep principal of transparency in government.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state House has approved a bill updating regulations regarding Delaware's medical marijuana program.

The legislation passed unanimously with no debate Tuesday. It now goes to the governor, and defines the membership of a nine-member oversight committee that will evaluate and make recommendations regarding implementation of the program.

There will be no new charter schools in Delaware for the moment.

Governor Jack Markell wants to develop a strategic plan that would take into account the student needs.

Markell said the questions to be reviewed might include how to meet the needs of the growing number of students whose second language is English.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that once the review is finished the state can then develop a plan for the school system.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Bowing to pressure from Democratic lawmakers, Gov.  Jack Markell's administration has agreed to delay proposed health care cost increases for state government workers and retirees.

A state panel was set to vote Friday on proposals for new or higher deductibles, and higher copays for drugs, lab tests, outpatient surgeries and hospital stays, aimed at addressing an estimated $60 million deficit in Delaware's state health insurance plan.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The Delaware Senate has unanimously approved Gov. Jack Markell's nominations to fill vacancies on the state Supreme Court and Superior Court.

Senators on Wednesday confirmed Collins Seitz Jr. to succeed retired Supreme Court Justice Henry DuPont Ridgely. They also approved Jeffrey Clark, a Kent County lawyer, state Public Service Commission member, and former Senate attorney, for a Superior Court judgeship.

The votes came after friendly vettings by the Senate Executive Committee.

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There’s a lot of testing going on in Delaware schools to evaluate how the educational system is doing.

But Education Secretary Mark Murphy says the state will provide money to see if there is some redundancy that could lead to the elimination of some of those tests.

He said that some of the assessment tests may wind up trying to measure the same thing.

Outside of the tests required by the state or federal government, Murphy said that individual districts would be able to determine what redundant tests might be eliminated.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The Delaware legislature capital budget committee is wrapping up its series of hearings on state agency requests on funding for construction projects and upgrades.

The committee was to consider funding requests on Monday from several agencies, including the children's department and state economic development office.

Gov. Jack Markell has proposed a $347 million spending plan for construction and road projects for the fiscal year starting July 1.

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Governor Larry Hogan is urging Maryland residents to stay off the roads today.

10 inches of snow expected in the northern, central and western parts of the state and up to 3 inches of snow are expected to blanket southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore.

Meanwhile, Governor Jack Markell warns that roads may have been clear during the morning rush hour but that heavy midday snowfall could mean a tough afternoon drive.

Markell is suggesting that drivers stay off the roads to allow the crews to clear the snow.

Don Rush

DELAWARE CITY, Del. (AP) - A state panel is seeking public input on a report outlining how to prepare for and respond to potential climate change impacts in Delaware.

The Governor's Committee on Climate and Resiliency, which was charged by an executive order from Gov. Jack Markell, issued its report Monday and will accept public comment through May for possible revisions.

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Supporters of decriminalizing marijuana rallied this weekend in Wilmington urging the Delaware General Assembly to act.

There were around 40 people who marched along Market Street with curious onlookers – some honking their horns others shouting support from apartment above the street.

Governor Jack Markell says he is willing to look at decriminalization.

But the Delaware Democrat strongly opposed legalization of the weed that has taken place in Colorado and other states.

He said not enough was known about its impact.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell is representing Delaware at a national conference focused on creating more job and career opportunities for young people.

Markell is among the scheduled speakers for Thursday at the 2015 National Opportunity Summit in Washington where Vice President Joe Biden also is scheduled to speak.

The event is hosted by Opportunity Nation, a bipartisan, national coalition of more than 300 businesses, nonprofits groups, educational institutions and community leaders working to expand economic opportunity.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell has nominated a longtime Wilmington attorney to fill a vacancy on Delaware's Supreme Court.

Markell's office announced the nomination of Collins Seitz Jr. on Monday. The 57-year-old Seitz is the founding partner of Seitz, Ross, Aronstam & Moritz, specializing in corporate, commercial, and intellectual property cases. He previously was a managing partner of Connolly Bove Lodge & Hutz, where he worked for more than three decades.

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The nation’s top education official defended the administration’s Race to the Top program that saw $119 million go to Delaware for educational initiatives.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan called the First State’s record a model for the country.

During his visit to the state yesterday that included the classrooms at Howard High School of Technology he touted Delaware’s lowest in-decades dropout rate, more students applying to college and unprecedented investments in Pre-K education.

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There’s a new flood map out by the state of Delaware.

And, it finds things could be worse than expected.

This mapping project says that the 100 year storm flood level could be three feet higher than expected.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that this would mean that places like the south end of Rehoboth Beach could be inundated with water within a hundred years.

The maps go far beyond those of the state’s sea level rise projections and those of Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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Delaware lawmakers said no to Governor Jack Markell’s proposal to cut $12.6 million in property tax breaks for seniors.

The plan cuts in half the $500 state subsidy paid to seniors to help with their tax bills.

During a hearing by the Joint Finance Committee yesterday Senator Bruce Ennis told the governor’s budget officials that the reduction would be difficult to get through the General Assembly.

It’s part of Markell’s effort to balance his $3.9 billion budget which still goes up by 2.4 percent over current levels.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Members of the General Assembly's budget-writing committee are set to begin hearings and discussion on Gov. Jack Markell's proposed $3.9 billion operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Joint Finance Committee was to convene Tuesday to begin a monthlong series of hearings on individual agency budget requests.

The committee was to begin its work with an overview of state revenues and Markell's budget proposal, followed by individual agency hearings for the state budget office and the Delaware National Guard.

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NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - State officials are announcing a new website aimed at helping entrepreneurs find the information they need to form businesses in Delaware.

Gov. Jack Markell planned to join state employees and business leaders Monday in New Castle to tout the website, called Business First Steps.

Officials say the website will help businesses find information on licenses, permits, and other requirements. The site includes an index of almost 200 industries, professions and products that require state registrations, licenses, certifications or permits. 

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Democratic Gov. Jack Markell is fleshing out a proposal in his State of the State speech to improve substance abuse treatment and prevention programs in Delaware.

Markell plans to join Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf, Department of Correction Commissioner Robert Coupe, Democratic Attorney General Matt Denn and other officials on Monday to talk about his plan.

He's also scheduled to tour an Oxford House program in Newark for people in recovery.

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Governor Jack Markell delivered his seventh State of the State address yesterday hailing the economic progress in the First State.

But he called on lawmakers to help him close a $780 million spending gap in meeting the state’s transportation needs.

In addition, he focused on issues ranging from ways to improve education and to end veteran homelessness to dealing with substance abuse.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the address was well received by lawmakers.

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There has been a delay by the Christina School Board in its final decision on its three priorities.

Last night the school board said it wanted to allow the communities to have time to study a new compromise plan that is the result of discussions between the district and state officials.

The delay means that the months-long debate will continue on the board between those who want to compromise with the state and those who want to make a stand.

At issue is how best to turn around the schools that serve some of worst neighborhoods in Wilmington.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell's office is mulling a request to pardon three 19th-century Delawareans convicted of helping smuggle slaves.

Pennsylvania resident Robert Seeley has asked Markell to pardon his ancestor, Thomas Garrett, a prominent Quaker abolitionist credited with helping more than 2,700 slaves reach freedom. Seeley also is seeking pardons for John Hunn and his partner, Samuel Burris, a free black man. Hunn was convicted with Garrett in 1848 for aiding a slave family.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - New leaders are set to take charge in two of Delaware's statewide elected offices.

Lt. Gov. Matt Denn will be sworn in Tuesday as Delaware's new attorney general. Denn entered the attorney general's race last year, just days after incumbent fellow Democrat Beau Biden said he would not seek re-election.

This will be Denn's third statewide office, following his tenures as lieutenant governor and insurance commissioner.

Also Tuesday, Republican Ken Simpler will be sworn in as state treasurer, replacing Democrat Chip Flowers.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - A descendant of a Delaware man credited with helping more than 2,700 slaves reach freedom is asking Gov. Jack Markell to pardon his ancestor and two others.

Sixty-four-year-old Robert Seeley of Havertown, Pennsylvania, got the idea after outgoing Illinois' governor granted clemency on New Year's Eve to three abolitionists convicted for hiding and helping escaped slaves.

Seeley says he sent Markell his request on Facebook on New Year's Day, and then again in an email Monday.

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