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Just days after the 2014 election, the race for governor in the state of Delaware has already begun.

Delaware state Senator Colin Bonini says he will seek the Republican nomination for the state’s top job.

He is joining Democratic Attorney General Beau Biden who has already expressed his interest in taking on the campaign for government two years from now.

Bonini told the Wilmington News Journal that that while it was important to focus on the winners of this week’s election he was already making his bid for governor.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware budget officials are starting to lay the groundwork for developing a budget for next fiscal year.

Budget director Ann Visalli and her staff are beginning meetings this week to hear budget requests from various state agencies.

The meetings begin Wednesday with agency hearings that include the agriculture and economic development departments, and the Department of State.

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Delaware Governor Jack Markell says there are 11 people who being monitored in the First State for Ebola symptoms.

He joined the state’s top health officials at the 3rd Annual Public Health Preparedness Symposium in Dover last night and said his administration has been preparing for the potential of any Ebola cases for months in order to keep the public safe.

So far, there have been no cases of Ebola in Delaware and the risk of transmission is low.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware officials are talking about steps they are taking in response to the public health threat posed by the Ebola virus.

Gov. Jack Markell planned to join Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf and public health director Dr. Karyl Rattay on Wednesday for a briefing on Delaware's efforts in response to the Ebola outbreak.

The briefing is being held in conjunction with the third annual Public Health Preparedness Symposium hosted by the Division of Public Health.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - School children in some of Delaware's poorest communities are about to get a clearer vision of their future.

Gov. Jack Markell and U.S. Sen. Chris Coons are joining other officials to celebrate the launch of Vision to Learn, a program that provides free eye exams and eyeglasses to students who live in poverty-stricken areas.

Officials say Vision to Learn already has helped more than 25,000 children in California, and that some 6,000 Delaware students could benefit from the program.

The Delaware state Senate has confirmed James T. Vaughn Jr. to the state Supreme Court.

Vaughn has been president judge of the Superior Court.

He was named by Governor Jack Markell to fill the vacancy left by Justice Carolyn Berger who retired on September 1st after being passed over for the Chief Justice position.

In a written statement Markell called Vaughn an accomplished and well-respected jurist, second to none.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - State officials are celebrating a milestone for Delaware's Drug Diversion Court, which has become a model for similar courts in other states.

Gov. Jack Markell and U.S. Sen. Tom Carper planned to join state health officials and judicial branch representatives Monday to mark the 20th anniversary of the Superior Court program.

The drug diversion court was established in 1994 and was among the first such courts in the United States. Officials now say there are 2,700 such courts nationwide.

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If Attorney General Beau Biden wants to run again in the First State the public opinion polls are looking good for him.

A new University of Delaware survey found that 60 percent of Delawareans viewed his second term as Attorney General favorably.

Only 24 percent did not.

The poll was taken in mid-September.

In April the Vice President’s son decided not to seek a third term.

His father Joe Biden also has good numbers among Delawareans with 64 percent viewing him favorably to 30 percent unfavorably.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Senior citizens in Delaware are getting a new level of protection from financial exploitation.

Legislation to be signed by Gov. Jack Markell on Tuesday provides a mechanism for banks and credit unions to freeze transactions that they suspect may involve financial exploitation of anyone 62 or older.

The legislation requires financial institutions to report the suspected exploitation to state officials.

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CHESWOLD, Del. (AP) - New legislation being signed by Gov. Jack Markell will boost the coffers of Delaware's volunteer ambulance and emergency medical services companies.

One bill to be signed Wednesday establishes a new $10 fee on all motor vehicle violations, with the money going from driver's wallets to volunteer ambulance companies statewide.

Another bill increases the share of the gross premium tax on health insurance companies that is distributed to volunteer fire companies from 0.15 percent to 0.21 percent.

Markell Names State Supreme Court Justice

Sep 24, 2014
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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell has nominated the head judge of Delaware's Superior Court system to become the next state Supreme Court justice.

Markell on Tuesday the nomination of Superior Court President Judge James T. Vaughn Jr. to replace Justice Carolyn Berger, who retired Sept. 1.

Vaughn has been a Superior Court for 15 years and has served as President Judge since 2004.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - State officials are highlighting progress in a program aimed at helping first-time mothers to ensure they have healthy babies.

Gov. Jack Markell and Lt. Gov. Matt Denn planned to discuss the state's Nurse-Family Partnership program Friday at Children and Families First, a Wilmington nonprofit that is implementing the program with the help of federal funding.

The program involves nurses making home visits to first-time, low-income mothers to teach them how to care for themselves and their newborns.

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Governor Jack Markell is being called on to provide additional secure rooms for state workers who need to pump breast milk for their babies.

Nicole DeForest is a secretary with the state’s Division of Facilities Management.

She says that her supervisor told her to use a storage closet to pump her breast milk.

She has filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for failing to provide adequate accommodations as required under federal law.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Republican Ken Simpler has spent more than $120,000 in the past three weeks in advance of the GOP primary for state treasurer.

Simpler on Wednesday reported raising about $14,600 in the three weeks ending Sept. 1, while spending more than $122,000, mostly on media buys and advertising.

Simpler, a chief financial officer for a Delaware-based hotel management company who previously oversaw a billion-dollar portfolio as a hedge fund executive, faces businesswoman Sher Valenzuela in the Sept. 9 primary.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware schools are facing new requirements for conducting safety drills under legislation being signed this week.

Legislation to be signed Wednesday by Gov. Jack Markell moves the compliance date for schools under the 2012 Omnibus School Safety Act to Sept. 10, instead of September 2017. 

The legislation also requires schools to conduct at least one critical incident tabletop exercise annually, rather than every two years. School also will have to conduct at least two lockdown/intruder drills per year, rather one critical incident exercise annually. 

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - People who violate certain environmental laws regarding hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities in Delaware will soon no longer be slapped with criminal records.

But violators will also be paying heftier fines for certain other offenses under legislation to be signed Tuesday by Gov. Jack Markell.

The legislation declassifies several minor violations associated with wildlife, fishing, and boating by changing them from misdemeanors to violations, meaning they will not be reported on criminal history records. 

Don Rush

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - A little more green is in the future for the board charged with overseeing Delaware's $1.8 billion cash portfolio.

Gov. Jack Markell will sign legislation this week authorizing Delaware's Cash Management Portfolio Board to manage endowment accounts associated with the state's land and water conservation trust fund and parks funds.

The legislation allows use of endowment accounts to hold funds for open space protection and local outdoor recreation, park and trail projects.

Don Rush

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - A state panel established to oversee efforts to keep workers compensation rates in Delaware affordable is getting down to work.

The Workers Compensation Oversight Panel is charged with creating a new medical fee schedule that would result in a 33 percent reduction in medical costs for workers compensation cases over three years.

Gov. Jack Markell planned to attend Monday's opening meeting of the oversight panel, which was established by legislation passed this year to address recent steep increases in workers compensation costs for businesses.

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Shock has set in for the culinary community of Delmarva.

Award-winning Delaware restaurateur Matt Haley died Tuesday night while being transferred to a medical facility in New Delhi.

Haley’s business partner, Scott Kammerer, said that he was informed by State Department officials yesterday.

Kammerer said that Haley was involved in a high impact collision with a truck on Monday as he began a six week trip through northern Indian and Nepal.

Haley ran several southern Delaware restaurants and received the 2014 James Beard Humanitarian of the Year Award.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Publishing or distributing so-called "revenge porn" is now a crime in Delaware.

Revenge porn is the term used to describe the practice of posting a nude or sexually explicit photo or video of someone, often a person's former sex partner, on the Internet without their consent.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Construction is set to begin on a new housing complex that will serve low-income seniors in Wilmington.

Sacred Heart Village II will offer housing to low-income seniors living on Wilmington's East Side.

A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled Monday for the project, which will be funded by federal, state, and nonprofit sources.

Gov. Jack Markell was among those scheduled to speak.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell is signing legislation that requires all people convicted of drunken driving in Delaware to have ignition interlock devices installed on vehicles they drive.  

The bill to be signed Wednesday cleared the General Assembly in June on the final day of this year's legislative session.

Previously, interlock devices were required only for first offenders arrested with a blood-alcohol concentration of .15 or higher or who refused to take a chemical test, and for repeat drunken drivers.  

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NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - Police officers in Delaware will soon be carrying emergency antidotes that could help save the lives of people who have overdosed on heroin.

A bill being signed into law Monday by Gov. Jack Markell allows trained police officers to carry the drug naloxone, a heroin overdose antidote known by the brand name Narcan.

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The Delaware Auditor’s office released a report that found top state officials have not followed travel state policy.

Almost a year ago the state auditor was asked to look into an incident involving former Deputy Treasurer Erika Benner who was caught using a state-issued credit card to make thousands of dollars in personal purchases.

The report cleared the current state Treasurer Chip flowers who also attended the trip.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - New laws aimed at strengthening animal welfare in Delaware are set to take effect.

One of four bills to be signed by Gov. Jack Markell on Thursday gives the Department of Health and Social Services oversight over animal shelters, including investigating complaints, and requires shelter inspections at least once a year.

Another bill ensures that animal control officers and animal cruelty investigators are adequately trained and certified.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware residents under age 18 soon will no longer be able to use tanning beds.

Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat, on Monday signed into law a bill passed this year by the Delaware General Assembly. The law takes effect Jan. 1.

Currently, those ages 14 to 18 can use tanning beds with parental permission.

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Minors will not be allowed to use tanning beds in the state of Delaware.

Governor Jack Markell signed the legislation into law yesterday.

Previously those who were between the ages of 14 to 18 could use the beds with parental consent.

Dr. Karyl Rattay, head of the state Division of Public Health, said it was a matter of preventing skin cancer.

The measure passed with a near unanimous vote in the state legislature.

Tom Hunt

The Delaware State Fair is wrapping up this week with appearances by country stars Keith Urban and Lady Antebellum. Governor Jack Markell honored four students as the 2014 Young Environmentalists of the Year. Also on hand this year was Perdue Farms CEO Jim Perdue. And, of course, there were the many visitors who came for the rides and the food. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush sent Tom Hunt and Matt Forney to check out the Fair.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell says 117 children who immigrated alone to the United States have been placed with families in Delaware.

Markell told state lawmakers in a letter Thursday that his administration is prepared to work with nonprofits to ensure that the children's basic needs are met.

He says the children may enroll in Delaware schools while awaiting immigration processing.

Don Rush

If you’re a whistleblower you just got some more protection when it comes to reporting on violations of election laws in Delaware.

Eight bills signed into law by Governor Jack Markell last month includes one that provides protection to whistleblowers who report and refuse to participate in the violation of campaign finance laws.

It’s part of a major election reform that consolidates the three existing county Boards of Elections into a single board.

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