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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.