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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state Senate has approved a bill making it illegal for employers in Delaware to prohibit employees from talking about how much they or their co-workers are paid.

The measure was approved Wednesday by majority Democrats on a straight 12-9 party line vote and now goes to Gov. Jack Markell. It is part of a package of bills aimed at improving workplace equity between men and women.

Supporters say the bill will help women determine whether they're being paid less than male co-workers for equal work and fight for equal pay.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - State lawmakers have unveiled a uniform policy for use of body cameras by police agencies in Delaware.

The policy released Wednesday is not binding on law enforcement agencies but has been endorsed by groups including the Delaware Police Chiefs Council and the Fraternal Order of Police.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - After months of warning that money is tight and even threatening funding cuts, members of the legislature's budget committee have approved almost $46 million in grants to nonprofit groups, community agencies and volunteer fire companies.

The proposed grant-in-aid budget approved Tuesday is $2 million higher than the current level of funding and Gov. Jack Markell's recommendation.

The grants package is one of three budget bills that must be approved by lawmakers each year.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - State officials are hoping more urban gardeners in Delaware will see the fruits, and vegetables, of their labor.

Officials are announcing grants of up to $1,000 each to 11 recipients to help expand existing gardens or start new ones.

Gov. Jack Markell was scheduled to be on hand when the grant winners are announced Friday at Kingswood Community Center in Wilmington.

Participating groups include the Delaware Urban Farm and Food Coalition, the Delaware Center for Horticulture and the Delaware Cooperative Extension.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell is set to sign legislation eliminating mandatory life sentences for habitual offenders and distinguishing between violent felonies and nonviolent felonies when sentencing habitual criminals.

The legislation cleared the House on a 29-to-11 vote Tuesday after earlier passing the Senate.

Under the measure, a person would be declared a habitual criminal after a third violent felony conviction or a fourth felony conviction of any kind.

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Nonprofits and capital projects in Delaware are looking at some serious cut in the state budget.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that lawmakers now have 40% less in grant money after the reduced projections by the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council.

Originally the capital projects and the non-profits were budgeted for $74 million total but after the forecasts there is only $41 million left.

The paper reports there is uncertainty as to which programs and projects will be on the chopping block.


The Delaware House of Representatives gave its approval yesterday to legislation that would allow children to use marijuana-based medicines in school.

The vote was unanimous.

It now goes to Governor Jack Markell who has said he would review the legislation.

The measure expands an earlier law named after 10 year old Rylie Maedler who suffers from seizures.

WBOC reports that since marijuana based medicines are not allowed on campus she must leave school for 30 minutes in order to take his medicine.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - House lawmakers are set to vote this week on a bill to toughen penalties for texting or otherwise using a handheld phone while driving.

The legislation to be considered Tuesday increases the penalty for a first offense from $50 to $100. It also increases the penalty for subsequent offenses from between $100 and $200 to between $200 and $300.

The bill initially called for points to be assessed on a person's driver's license for second or subsequent offenses, but a recent amendment strikes that provision.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state Senate has given final legislative approval to a bill removing homosexuality from the definition of misconduct that would serve as grounds for divorce.

The legislation, which was approved unanimously on Thursday, strikes both "homosexuality" and "lesbianism" from the definition of marital misconduct.

The measure now goes to Democratic Gov. Jack Markell, who signed legislation in 2013 legally recognizing same-sex marriage in Delaware.


DOVER, Del. (AP) - Legislative budget writers have voted unanimously to spend more than $20 million to give state government workers a pay raise.

Members of the Joint Finance Committee voted Thursday to give most state employees a pay raise of 1.5 percent or $750, whichever is greater. Gov. Jack Markell in his budget proposal had recommended a smaller raise of 1 percent, or $500.

The panel also voted to approve pay hikes for employees of the University of Delaware, Delaware State University and Delaware Technical and Community College.


Delaware officials do not want state residents to cover the costs of a transmission line that will largely provide electricity to New Jersey.

And they are asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reconsider its decision to force Delaware customers to pay for most of the $272 million cost.

The transmission line would connect the Artificial Island nuclear complex in New Jersey to the state.

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NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - Lawmakers who meet this week to begin marking up Gov. Jack Markell's proposed $4 billion budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 have almost $36 million less to work with than they did last month.

The Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council on Monday lowered official revenue projections for the current and upcoming fiscal years by about $18 million each compared to April's estimates.

The changes were largely driven by lower expectations for personal and corporate income taxes.


DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state Senate has unanimously approved a bill aimed at strengthening reporting of sexual assaults on college campuses.

The bill approved Wednesday requires employees of higher education institutions to offer to report sexual assault incidents to law enforcement officials if the alleged victim agrees. Lawmakers struck a previous version of the bill that required school officials to contact police regardless of the alleged victim's wishes.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state Senate has given final legislative approval to a bill banning sales of a popular cough suppressant to anyone under 18 in Delaware unless they have a prescription.

The Senate voted unanimously Tuesday to pass the legislation, which seeks to limit over-the-counter sales of dextromethorphan, or DXM, to minors.

The measure, which cleared the House unanimously last month, is aimed at youngsters who abuse DXM to get high.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state House is set to vote on a bill that would remove homosexuality from the definition of misconduct that would serve as grounds for divorce.

The legislation to be voted on Tuesday strikes both "homosexuality" and "lesbianism" from the definition of marital misconduct.

The law defines misconduct as behavior by a spouse so destructive that a person filing for divorce could not reasonably be expected to continue in the relationship.

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The State of Delaware is seeing an increasing number of seniors moving into the state while millennials are moving out.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that three decades ago 30 percent of the First State’s population was between the ages of 18 and 34.

That figure has declined to 23 percent.

In addition, 61 percent of the people born in Delaware now live somewhere else.

The News Journal reports that economists say millennials are looking for a better labor market where the can build their lives.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Chris Coons is taking a break from politics to do a little preaching.

Coons was scheduled to the give keynote address Thursday at the 56th annual Governor's Prayer Breakfast in Dover.

Gov. Jack Markell will join a host of other officials at the event, including state lawmakers, local elected officials, clerics and representatives of charitable organizations.

The theme of this year's breakfast is "Faith and Family."

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell is pledging his support for a bill to toughen penalties for texting or otherwise using a handheld phone while driving.

After experiencing a virtual reality demonstration Tuesday of the potentially fatal consequences of texting while driving, a somber Markell said he would sign the bill no matter how high the penalty is increased.

As currently written, the bill increases the penalty for a first offense from $50 to $100. It also increases the penalty for subsequent offenses from between $100 and $200 to between $200 and $300.

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Harrington wants to have its downtown designated as a Development District.

Governor Jack Markell says he will grant the application for such a designation which will bring grants and rebates to entice more businesses to the downtown area.

WBOC reports that the incentive package will include tax breaks for the first year of homeownership as well as fee waivers for new businesses.

The television station reports that Harrington has finished the application but has yet to send it in.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell is signing legislation to create a state commission that will review drug overdose deaths in Delaware.

The Drug Overdose Fatality Review Commission being established with Thursday's bill signing is similar to commissions the state already has in place to review child deaths and deaths of domestic violence victims.

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NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - A state panel is updating Delaware's revenue forecast as the time approaches for lawmakers to begin marking up Gov. Jack Markell's proposed budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

Monday's update follows a meeting last month in which the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council lowered the official revenue projection for the current fiscal year by about $38 million.

The decline was mostly offset by a corresponding increase in the upcoming fiscal year because of an accounting change involving abandoned property.

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Republican lawmakers in Delaware want the governor the secretary of Homeland Security to be notified when refugees from Syria, Iran or Sudan come to the First State.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that state Representative Deborah Hudson said that she does not trust the federal government to prevent potential terrorists from coming to this country.

The paper reports that the Republicans zeroed in on countries which the State Department says has supported terrorism within the last five years.


DOVER, Del. (AP) - Young people from across the state are taking over Legislative Hall, at least temporarily.

Gov. Jack Markell planned to welcome middle school and high school students to Dover on Friday for opening ceremonies of the 48th annual YMCA of Delaware Youth in Government event.

The program is a national teen leadership initiative featuring state-organized model government programs.

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Children should be a bit safer when they go off to youth summer camp because of Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden who died of cancer last year.

A new Child Protection Act goes into effect April 7th that will require finger-print background checks at the state and national level on their employees and volunteers.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that this will be the first time such a practice will be codified in the First State.


NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - Delaware's revenue forecast for the current fiscal year is down by about $38 million, but the decline is mostly offset by a corresponding increase for the new fiscal year starting in July.

Higher refund estimates that more than offset a projected increase in corporate income tax revenue, coupled with a decrease in projected abandoned property collections, prompted a state panel on Monday to lower its revenue forecast for this year.


DOVER, Del. (AP) - Road crews are set to begin work on a project aimed at alleviating flooding problems on the main road running through the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge.

Gov. Jack Markell and U.S. Sen. Tom Carper were among the guests scheduled to attend a ground breaking ceremony Monday for bridge construction and road improvements on Prime Hook Road.

Flood waters typically inundate and damage the road during heavy coastal storms.

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The plan for school redistricting for the Wilmington/Christina area has survived another hurdle.

The Wilmington Education Improvement Commission approved shifting Wilmington students from the Christina School District to the Red Clay Consolidated School District.

The move that would allow students to go to a school closer to home came at the suggestion of Governor Jack Markell.

The News Journal reports that the State Board has to approve the plan along with a vote in the General Assembly.

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More than $1.7 million was raised this year for the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation by students and community from the University of Delaware.

The students at Delaware 10th annual UDance Dance Marathon celebrated raising the money which will go to fight childhood cancer on Sunday.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the UDance serves as a reminder that the children have those who are rooting for them.

The marathon included local bands as well as the Dover High School Drum Line.

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The Delaware Council on Development Finance gave its unanimous approval for $9.6 billion in tax payer money for the next five years toward keeping a spin off company from the Dow-DuPont merger.

But the Wilmington News Journal reports that the vote comes just a media reports suggest that BASF is looking at a counter offer to buy DuPont.

In December DuPont agreed to merge with Dow to create a $130 billion company.

The News Journal reports that experts say it is too early to say if the Germany company will actually move forward with the effort.

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Repealing the death penalty in the Delaware legislature will have to wait until the state Supreme Court makes its decision on the constitutionality of the current law.

That’s the decision by the measure’s two sponsors Senator Karen Peterson and Representative Sean Lynn.

The two Democrats say it only makes sense for the General Assembly to wait for the high court.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the state House of Representatives rejected the bill last month by a vote of 23 to 16.