The League of Women Voters of Delaware
Summer 2009 email@example.com http://www.de.lwv.org Volume 52 No. 1
President: Sandra Spence Editor: Letty Diswood
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in
government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and
I am so incredibly proud of the LWVDE! In this issue
of the Voter, you will read of many of the important
legislative issues we have been addressing. Thanks to
the dedicated work of many active leaders, we have
worked hard to make Delaware a better home for all of
I want to point particularly to our dedicated, volunteer
registered lobbyists: Lisa Pertzoff (energy and
environment), Pat Todd (natural resources, especially
recycling), Joann Hasse (health care), Mickey McKay
(open government), Letty Diswood (elections), and
Christine Stillson and myself (housing). Any given day
the legislature was in session, you would be likely to
find two, three or more of us in Dover, attending
hearings, speaking up on League positions, working
closely with key legislators, and generally making a
Our registered lobbyists were backed up by a number
of additional active ―policy wonks‖ who worked
diligently through our monthly state Action Committee Sandy Spence, elected president for 2009-11, addressing
meetings to analyze, prioritize and act on legislative delegates at the LWVDE Convention, May 7, 2009 at the
issues. They included Clare Brigidini on equal rights; Noble Eagle, Dover.
Peggy Schultz and her team on land use, transportation
and its intersection with the sticky workforce housing interested in getting more involved with the League.
issues in New Castle County that have potential Finally, we have formed a Governance Committee that
statewide implications; John Sykes who helped out on is exploring ways to increase efficiency, effectiveness
energy issues, especially the updated energy provisions and service to our members by reducing duplication of
of the state building code; Janet Kramer on justice effort and continue our efforts to undertake cooperative
issues; plus Roberta Ray, Valerie Driscoll, Judy action at the state and local League levels. If you have
Taggert, Esther Shelton, Chad Tolman and others. any suggestions for our consideration, please contact
me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org! We will
We have a huge agenda for the coming year – have a more complete report on this work in our next
including the 90th anniversary celebration of the State Voter.
LWVUS, a forum on gambling as a source of state Sandy Spence
revenue, a retreat ―at the beach‖ for everyone
INVESTING IN THE FUTURE AND/OR title is: ―Investing in the future and/or betting on the
BETTING ON THE FUTURE future.‖ However, one question is whether October is
too late to hold the forum since casinos could already
be approved in August!! Another question is whether
Katherine Flaherty needs your input!
there is strong enough League support and interest to
proceed further in organizing the forum. It will require
The League of Women Voters of Delaware is a strong working committee to assist with choosing
considering holding a forum in early October on the and contacting speakers/moderator, logistics, and
pros/cons of gambling as a viable state revenue community outreach. A co-chairperson would also be
source. However, the government is moving rapidly to very beneficial. To indicate your support and/or
legalize casinos by August or September. willingness to continue with this program, and any
other comments regarding this issue, please contact me
In March Governor Markell presented Delaware‘s state at email@example.com or call the LWVNCC office
budget to the public. To help close the budget gap of at 571-8948.
$800,000,000 he strongly urged both the legalization of
sports betting and casinos. By mid-May the sports
betting component was approved and voted on by the LEGISLATIVE ROUND-UP JULY 2009
General Assembly. The ―final‖ budget vote to
legalize and install casinos for the first time in Lisa Pertzoff
Delaware is still not approved. On May 8 ―in seven
tightly choreographed minutes, the House introduced The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political
and approved a surprise amendment that put table organization, encourages informed and
games on the front burner, pushing Delaware‘s active participation in government, works to increase
racetrack slot-machine venues into full-blown casinos, understanding of major public policy issues, and
‖ which include roulette, blackjack, craps, and poker. influences public policy through education and
Meanwhile others question ―why can‘t we encourage advocacy.
legitimate business in Delaware that provides a product
and infuses communities with sound employment and In keeping with its mission, The LWVDE is heavily
contributes to a better state of welfare for all?‖ involved in analyzing legislation related to its major
areas of concern. The first year of the 145th Legislative
The legalization of casinos has become a rapidly session, January-June 2009, produced more than sixty
developing legislative initiative. Since June in ―public bills in which the League had an interest.
meetings‖ the Table Games Committee, comprised of
Acting Secretary of Finance Tom Cook (the son of Some we supported, some we vigorously opposed, and
State Senator Nancy Cook), Controller General Russ many we merely monitored. We have a number of
Larson and Dover Downs CEO Ed Sutor, have been volunteer lobbyists, each of whom has a portfolio of
trying to resolve what the revenue shares between the bills related to a given subject. This year the portfolios
casinos and the state government will be. If they can were Equal Rights; Health care; Housing; Justice; Land
not reach a compromise in the next 15 days, they could Use & Transportation; Natural Resources; Open
then present their proposal(s) to a special session of the Government; & Voting & elections.
General Assembly for a vote in August or September.
There were some splendid outcomes and a couple of
The League of Women Voters of Delaware has not yet disappointing ones. A number of bills were not acted
done a formal study on gambling as a state revenue upon and may come up again next year in the final leg
source so can not take an official position. However, of the two-year session. In some cases, this in itself
we are a well-regarded civic organization to hold a represents a sort of victory, since often the best we can
forum because of our reputation to be professional, do is try to get a bad bill postponed in hopes that it will
fair, and non-partisan. One of our primary missions is be either amended or stricken with further study.
to educate and inform the public on current major There was even one cliffhanger (see below under
legislative topics. This issue certainly falls into that Natural Resources), the outcome of which is still
We have tentatively scheduled a statewide forum on Whatever the status of the bills, be assured that the
the pro/cons of gambling as a state revenue source for League had a constant presence in Legislative Hall this
Tuesday October 13 in Dover. In fact, one suggested year, carrying out its function of ―active and informed
participation in government.‖
* ENERGY * WIND * SOLID WASTE * * BOTTLE BILL *
Lisa Pertzoff & Pat Todd had seventeen bills in their We supported SB 129, allowing farmers to accept
portfolio this year, many of which enable or otherwise treated water for the irrigation of certain crops, &
encourage energy conservation & use of renewable followed with interest SB 72, reauthorizing the Water
energy resources. We are encouraged by all this Supply Coordinating Council. We also testified in
legislative activity, and hope this emerging trend favor of HB 138, that extends tax credits for the
reflects in part the Markell administration‘s emphatic Delaware Land & Historic Resources Protection Act.
commitment to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions All three bills passed.
& the development of green energy industry in the
State. Below is a summary of some of the high spots. Although we had insufficient time to take a position or
positive action, we are pleasantly surprised to report
HS 1 for HB 49 & HS 1 for HB 70 prohibit future the passage of SB 153, which prepares Delaware for
deed restrictions & covenants from barring the grid-integrated electric vehicles – the so-called ―V2G‖
installation of, respectively, rooftop solar panels & law.
wind energy systems in residential
developments. The League testified HCR 7 provides an inspiring
in favor of both bills, which passed. WANT TO TRACK LEGISLATION? example of citizen democracy at
Check out this Delawareonline Link!! work. Due almost exclusively to
Delaware‟s groundbreaking the multi-year, patient
Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU) This is a terrific resource. Among
persistence of one man, Richard
legislation, passed at the end of the Schneider, and eventually
other characteristics, you can enter
last session under the patient guidance supported by every major
of its sponsor, Senator Harris keywords to find all legislation with environmental organization in
McDowell, was bolstered by two new status and links to the bill itself. If the State, including the LWV,
bills. League-supported SB 85 you follow the link below, you will The Department of Natural
eliminates forfeiture of excess electric find a list of all legislation Resources & Environmental
generation by customer-sited introduced in 2009, with various Control has been urged to
renewable energy systems, so that sorting capabilities: require all facilities in Delaware
customers can sell unused electricity to utilize the best technology
back to the grid, thereby promoting http://php.delawareonline.com/leg/voti available for cooling water-
the SEU‘s goal of 300 megawatts of ng/bills.php intake structures in order to
customer-sited solar power by 2019. reduce massive fish kills.
SB 173, which we monitored, updates & clarifies the
SEU law. Both bills passed. Perhaps the greatest victory of all for the League the
entire session occurred this week with the Governor
SB 59 encountered stiff opposition, but we are Markell‘s veto of HB 201. This controversial bill,
delighted to report that it passed both chambers and is called the “Bottle Bill Repeal,” introduced on June 9th,
awaiting action by the Governor. This bill updates was rushed through the Legislature at the last minute
seriously outdated building code requirements for on June 30. The LWV had been consistently
energy efficiency while ensuring that Delaware outspoken in its opposition to the bill, issuing an
receives its full share of federal stimulus money. Action Alert urging all legislators to vote no, as well as
making personal contact with many of them in order to
SB 106, on which we took no position, but followed explain our position. Upon its passage, Pat Todd went
carefully, creates Energy Efficiency Resource into high gear, sending hundreds of emails and making
Standards (EERS) intended to reduce significantly dozens of phone calls, generally mobilizing the troops
consumption of both electricity & natural gas by 2015. to ask the Governor to veto the bill. His veto, for
The bill, which passed, emphasizes that energy which we commend him, suggests that he is willing to
efficiency is the least expensive and most effective buck the Legislature in order to respond to his
way to meets the State‘s growing demand for constituents.
electricity. Lisa Pertzoff
THE STATE OF OPEN GOVERNMENT IN DELAWARE:
A land mark achievement in advancing Open governments.
Government occurred in the closing days of the 144th
Delaware General Assembly when majorities in both In 2008, an effort was made (SB 264) to resolve this
houses approved passage of HB1 extending open obstacle by creating a separate Office of General
government requirements to the General assembly. Counsel that would provide legal advise, counsel and
With its passage Delaware joins a growing number of services to state administrative offices and agencies. If
States that have taken similar action. adopted, SB 264 would have removed the existing
―conflict‖ issue. SB 264 did not pass.
The current exceptions that apply to public bodies and
public records and that are enshrined in the original It‘s likely that the ―conflict‖ issue will reappear on the
FOI statute would continue to apply to meetings and 145th GA agenda. The Delaware LWV will be ready to
records of the Delaware General Assembly- with the monitor that effort and be prepared to take appropriate
exception of emails which HB1 exempts. action.
The League‘s official position on HB1 did not include
the email exemption. REPRODUCTIVE CHOICE
SB 124 (Bonini) requires either a custodial parent or
the legal guardian to be given notice of an
unemancipated minor‘s impending abortion. The
Judicial bypass option remains. It was defeated in
committee. LWVDE opposes
PREVENTION OF VIOLENCE
SB 169 (Ennis) will make blocking ingress or egress
from a health care facility a Class B misdemeanor. The
bill reads ―A person is guilty of obstructing ingress to
Mickey McKay (standing) giving a training session to League
members on „How to do an FOIA audit” before LWVDE
or egress from a health care facility when the person:
Convention started, at the Noble Eagle May 7, 2009. 1) knowingly obstructs, detains, hinders, impedes, or
blocks another person‘s entry to or exit from a health
care facility; or (2) knowingly approaches another
League members can take justifiable pride in the person, within eight feet of the person, unless such
success of HB1‟s passage. In the previous year, the person consents, for the purpose of protest, education
Delaware LWV waged a spirited campaign to raise the or counseling of such other person in the public way or
public consciousness of the importance of transparency area within a radius of one hundred feet from the
in government. The League conducted public FOIA exterior perimeter of the health care facility.‖ The bill
Forums in all three counties. Op ED articles, Letters to passed the Senate June 29 and was assigned to the
the Editor and member‘s direct urging of their State Judiciary committee in the House. LWVDE supports.
legislators all contributed to a rising crescendo of Joann Hasse
voices demanding more openness in government
The VOTER is published 3-4 times a year by the
Their still remains another major obstacle to League of Women Voters of Delaware. Subscription is
fundamental openness. The Attorney General‘s free with a membership in the LWVDE. President:
Constitutional mandate to serve as the attorney for Sandra Spence, LWVDE Home page:
www.de.lwv.org and e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
State agencies prevents him/her from investigating FOI Editor: Letty Diswood
citizen complaints of State agency violations. No such
conflict exists for FOI complaints against local
―Several bills addressing insurance and access issues HB 38 (Rep. Cathcart, Sen. Hall-Long) requires mental
have been introduced in the General Assembly this hospitals and residential centers covered by the Mental
session and we will follow and likely support them. Health Patients‘ Bill of Rights Act to report deaths and
However, unless the state‘s fiscal situation improves critical incidents to the State Protection and Advocacy
dramatically, if they have a fiscal note in order to Agency (CLASI) which is authorized by federal law to
implement them, their passage is extremely unlikely.‖ investigate such occurrences.
The above is from my annual report in the spring
Voter. As you know, the fiscal situation did not HB 39 (Rep. Cathcart, Sen. Hall-Long) applies the
improve but there are some victories to report. anti-retaliation and protective provisions which
previously applied only to the licensed long term care
SS1 for SB 35 (Sen. Blevins), a version of which we beds at the Delaware Psychiatric Center (only part of
have supported for several years, finally passed and has the DPC beds are licensed as LTC beds) to all patients
been signed. It gives the Delaware Insurance and employees at DPC facilities.
Department the authority to review and approve health
insurance rates ―in a manner consistent with other DPC Passed House; awaiting Senate action:
insurers‖. Previously a health insurer‘s rate filing HB 37 (Rep. Cathcart, Sen. Hall-Long) adds various
could only be disapproved if it was inadequate. Now protections to the Mental Health Patients‘ Bill of
the Commissioner has the authority to determine that Rights Act, including safeguards in administration of
the rates are fair and not excessive. restraint and requirement of an enhanced patient
grievance system for DPC patients.
HB 139 (Rep. Schooley, Sen. Blevins) is a small step
forward in increasing coverage for children by HB 163 w/HA 1 (Rep. Cathcart, Sen. Hall-Long)
allowing families with incomes over 200% of the FPL creates a committee to assess deaths of individuals
to buy into CHIP and get reduced cost health insurance receiving residential services through the DHSS or
if they meet certain criteria. The bill, which awaits the DHSS-funded private providers. The purpose of the
Governor‘s signature, specifies there will be no cost to committee is to assess causation; promote
the state unless funds are specifically appropriated improvements in policies, practice and the service
delivery system; and reduce prospects for preventable
Delaware Psychiatric Center deaths. The amendment allows the Sec. of DHSS to
Three of the bills in the ―DPC package‖ which resulted create a committee to potentially eliminate reviews of
from the House committee‘s investigation last year of expected deaths (e.g. patients with terminal illnesses).
the problems at the Delaware Psychiatric Center passed
in the final days of the session and are awaiting the Affecting Health Insurance
Governor‘s signature. Two others were assigned to the Supported by LWVDE
Senate Executive committee and were delayed by the HB 85 w/HA1 (Reps. B. Short, D. Short, Sen. Blevins)
illness and death of Senator Thurman Adams. Another implements recommendations of the DE Health Care
two have large fiscal notes and did not progress beyond Commission and its Small Business Health Insurance
a House committee hearing. All were/are on our committee to reform rating rules for the small
―Monitor‖ list. employer group. The bill compresses rate variations
between high risk and low risk groups, reduces rating
DPC Awaiting Governor‟s signature: factors from seven to three, limits annual increases and
HB 36 (Rep. Cathcart) clarifies the role of the decreases due to changes in health status to 15 per cent,
Community Legal Aid Society (CLASI), which has and prohibits the sale of ‗stop-loss‘ coverage in the
been designated for the past 30 years as Delaware‘s small group market. Passed House; awaiting Senate
Protection and Advocacy Agency pursuant to federal action.
law, in protecting patients and residents in nursing and
similar facilities. Complementing the existing HB 137 (Reps. B. Short, D. Short, Sen. Blevins)
protective system operated by the Dept. of Health and requires the Insurance Commissioner to arrange for
Social Services, CLASI is authorized to solicit and random audits of small employer health insurance
investigate reports of abuse, neglect, mistreatment and carriers doing business in Delaware. It was released
financial exploitation in covered facilities. The bill from committee in House.
also deters interference and retaliation against persons Joann Hasse
cooperating with such investigations.
The LWVDE works closely with SURJ (Stand Up JUSTICE ISSUES FOCUSING ON THE
for What Is Right and Just) This article is taken MENTALLY ILL
from its update to supporters.
Chief Justices‟ Criminal Justice/Mental Health
HB 168 Update This year Delaware was one of only four states
selected by the Council of State Governments (CSG)
Justice Center to participate in the Chief
Thanks to many of you who took the time to call or Justices‘Criminal Justice/Mental Health Leadership
email Representatives on the House Judiciary Initiative, a national project in its second year, to
Committee. HB 168, which would repeal address the critical issues of the increasing numbers of
mandatory minimum drug sentences, was released mentally ill entering and within the criminal justice
from Committee in June. However, with a system. As one of the states selected, Delaware will
controversial budget bill dominating much of the receive funding and technical assistance from the CSG
legislature's time and focus, many important bills, Justice Center and National GAINS Center.
including HB 168, ultimately did not receive a floor
hearing. Delaware Chief Justice Myron T. Steele has designated
Delaware Supreme Court Justice Henry duPont
House Speaker Bob Gilligan said: Ridgely as the chair of the project due to his extensive
experience with criminal justice and mental health
"As in previous sessions, H.B. 168 is likely to be issues.
debated at length on the House floor. With just
hours left in this year's legislative session, we have Justice Ridgely at the first meeting in fall of 2008
numerous issues, including the state's budget, that stated, ―Delaware has already initiated substantial
need to be resolved. Since the Senate does not efforts to divert those with mental illnesses from the
intend to take up this bill today, I feel the best criminal justice system, including the establishment of
course is to wait until next year to give H.B. 168 the pilot mental health courts in New Castle County.
attention it deserves." Through the Delaware Supreme Court‘s Criminal
Justice and Mental Health Task Force, we look forward
National research continues to point to mandatory to the opportunity to support and expand these
minimum drug sentencing as a contributing factor initiatives, and to explore new ways to improve the
to uncontrollable prison growth. A new report by treatment of the mentally ill within Delaware‘s
The Sentencing Project indicates that more criminal justice system. The Task force has the joint
prisoners today are serving life terms than ever goals of improving the quality of life for those with
before - 140,610 out of 2.3 million. Inmates are mental illnesses in Delaware, increasing public safety,
being held in jails and prisons across the and ensuring that state funds directed towards mental
country due to tough mandatory minimum- health issues are being used most cost-effectively.‖
sentencing laws and the declining use of parole.
Some of the topics that have been discussed thus far
SURJ will continue to advocate for the repeal of include expansion of the Mental Health Courts; the
unjust, ineffective, and expensive mandatory timely availability of Medicaid for inmates
minimum drug sentencing laws. When the session approaching release; the establishment of a truancy
resumes in January 2010, SURJ will continue to court in Family Court; the expansion of the formulary
rally for this important bill to get a fair hearing on for mental health medications in the prison system and
the floor of the House of Representatives. Our the development of mental health services for those
efforts have been delayed, but we are not defeated! about to reenter the community.
The Task Force is made up of a number of
representatives from the Court System, elected
officials, the Correction System, the Department of
Children, Youth and Their Families, the Department of
(Continued on page 7 Justice System)
(Continued from page 6 Justice System) etc., and sell for prices in the $200,000s. The
developments already accepted for workforce housing
Health and Social Service, service providers and in New Castle County are in areas zoned S, or
community groups. Three League of Women Voters ―Suburban.‖ Originally zoned for 1.3 dwelling units
members are active on this Task Force- Representative per acre these developments are eligible for building at
Deborah Hudson, Janet Kramer, MD FACP CCHP 2.6 dwelling units per acre. H.B. 30, sponsored by
invited to serve on the Task Force in May 2009 and Earl Jaques of southern New Castle County, has
Stephanie Symons, Esq., past Executive Director of support from both advocates and detractors of
SURJ, staffs the Task Force in the Administrative workforce housing. ―This bill increases the Voluntary
Office of the Courts. School Assessment fee paid by developers to more
Janet Kramer accurately reflect current school construction costs.‖
An amendment is less universally favored. It limits the
fee raise to residents of the Appoquinimink School
LWV of Delaware, The Medical Society of
Delaware and Christiana Care Join July 15 for H.B. 82 and H.B.173, sponsored by Rep. Richard
Live Satellite/Internet Broadcast- Cathcart of Middletown, both require written
disclosure regarding the impact of workforce housing
on purchasers of workforce and non-workforce
THE MENTALLY ILL IN JAIL
housing, in communities which have two or more units
of Workforce Housing.
Twenty League members, Department of Peggy Schultz
Justice/Correction professionals and medical
professionals attended the three hour broadcast in the
Conference Center of the Wilmington Hospital. The
program was sponsored by the National Institute of
Corrections and the American Jail Association. STUDY COMMITTEE UPDATE:
Afterward, the group spent another 45 minutes PROPERTY TAX REASSESSMENT
discussing issues pertinent to Delaware. Wendy L.
Gainor, Senior Director, Professional Services, New Castle County has not reassessed property since
Medical Society of Delaware and LWVNCC member 1983. Kent County hasn't had a reassessment since
of the Urban Health and Justice Committee, 1986, and Sussex County values are stuck in 1974.1
coordinated the successful program.
Janet Kramer Delaware's counties haven't reassessed in so long
because there is little incentive to do so. Reassessments
are expensive and time-consuming, and state law
prevents counties from reaping a windfall. If counties
TRANSPORTATION AND LAND USE reassess, they must roll back the tax rate so the total
amount of revenue raised is the same as the previous
In June your Transportation/Land Use Portfolio year's revenue. Counties are allowed to capture 15
Director sent a letter to House and Senate legislators percent more money than the previous year, and that
involved in the Bond Bill, urging their support of a money must be used to cover the cost of the
continuing source of revenue for investments in open reassessment.2
space and farmland preservation.
To keep assessments more in line with market values,
We have also been following several bills that most states have periodic or rolling reassessments. In
originated in the House and have not gone beyond the Maryland, for example, there is a three-year rolling
House during the current legislative session. All this assessment, which means one-third of all properties are
proposed legislation is related to workforce housing, a reassessed every year. In California, every sale of a
particularly hot topic in New Castle County. house or building triggers an assessment update.3
―Workforce housing‖ is a density bonus provided to
builders who purchase density rights from land in rural A study committee for property tax reassessment was
areas for the construction of additional homes in established at the 2009 State Convention. The purpose
growth zones. A few of these extra homes are then
reserved for people who are teachers, policepersons, (Continued on page 8 Property Tax Reassessment)
(Continued from page 7 Property Tax Reassessment) recommendations for a fair and equitable reassessment
system for the State.
of the study is to give fact-based information about the
impact of Delaware‘s counties‘ failure to reassess and Upcoming activities include contacting interested
to develop facts that could provide a basis for elected individuals to serve on the study committee and
officials to support reassessment. establishing a list of meeting dates and times for the
months of September through December. If you would
To date, assessment practices in selcted states are being like to be involved as a member of the study committee
explored so that the committee can review that or as a reviewer and commentator please contact Ann
material. In addition, Dr. Edward Ratledge, Director C. Case, Study Committee Chair at
for the Center of Applied Demography and Survey at CaseAC45@aol.com or by phone at (302) 227-2416.
the University of Delaware has agreed to be of
assistance. Dr. Ratledge was the primary investigator News Journal, Feb. 4, 2009; News Journal, Feb. 4,
for the report prepared last year in response to a 2009 Ibid
General Assembly resolution requesting Ann C. Case
LWVDE CONVENTION 2009 WRAP-UP
committee (Action will continue to be taken under
LWVDE current position.)
The study is worded intentionally broad so that the
study committee can start where its sees the most
effective effort and timeliness.
Healthcare: Continuing Study - A study of the
financing and delivery of health care in Delaware with
emphasis on following the work of the Delaware
Health Care Commission and related committees.
Rashmi Rangan, outgoing president, receiving a thank
you gift certificate for an outstanding job, presented by Natural Resources: Energy - Continuing Study:
Carole Walsh, secretary. To Study an Energy Plan for Delaware minimizing
climate change including changes in land use patterns
Delegates adopted lean budgets for 2009-11; amended and transportation issues. Rewording proposed by the
the bylaws to change the fiscal year June 30 to July 1; LWVDE/NCC Energy Committee.
elected a dynamic new board which is listed at end of
this Voter; and voted for the current program that
The following Biographies were not included in
included the following continuing and new studies.
the Winter Voter which included the LWVDE
< State Government: New Study - Study of the Convention 2009 and the slate of nominations
proposed reorganization of state government by with biographies.
creating the Office of General Counsel and transferring
some of the powers of the Department of Justice to the ROBERTA S. RAY (DIRECTOR)
Office of General Counsel. Proposed by LWVDE
Action committee League membership and activities:
Joined the League following retirement in 2007.
< Property Assessment: New Study - Study of League membership was a retirement gift from an
property assessment for tax purposes in Delaware and active League member—a wonderful membership
the three counties. Proposed by LWVSC recruitment idea.
Social Policy: Justice System: Continuing Study - A ° Participated in voter registration activities.
re-evaluation of Delaware‘s criminal justice system ° Joined the Urban Health/Justice study group.
and the impact of the current policies and practices on ° In concert with Joann Hasse, Janet Kramer, Letty
society. Proposed by the LWVDE/NCC Urban Health Diswood and community partners, planned and
(Continued on page 9 Biographies)
providing training in child mental health issues for
(Continued from page8 Biographies) foster parents and working with the Delaware
Emergency Management Agency to develop
implemented the 2009 League Day in Dover on Access emergency shelters for children separated from
to Mental Health Services in Delaware family members during disasters.
° Board of Directors, LWVNCC, 2008-2009; chair
of budget committee; currently Secretary,
LWVNCC Board CHAD TOLMAN (Nominating Committee)
° Board of Directors, LWVDE, 2008-2009,
attending as designated representative of Jane
Chad is a PhD physical chemist who came to
Dilley, President, LWVNCC; appointed to
Wilmington to work for DuPont. Since retiring, he has
committee on e-Voter; currently nominee for
taught at Del Tech, UD Chemistry, and the Academy
of Lifelong Learning, and worked in Washington at the
National Science Foundation and the National
° Native of Pacific Northwest (Seattle, Washington)
Research Council. He joined the League in 2006 and
who grew up looking out the living room windows
presented a workshop on energy and climate change at
to check on Mount Rainier each morning before
the national convention in Minneapolis. Chad now
going off to school.
serves as a moderator for the [lwv-climatechange]
° Prior to moving to Delaware, also lived in Oregon,
listserv, and as a member of the League‘s Climate
Wisconsin and Colorado while pursuing
Change Task Force, where he has participated in
undergraduate and graduate education, and doing
writing a number of information and position papers.
research and teaching at Oregon Research Institute,
University of Wisconsin-Madison and University
of Denver. Active in professional organizations
and in local advocacy groups.
° Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with specialization in
Chad leads an interdenominational group of DE
Child Clinical; teaching, research and publication
churches, the Coalition for Climate Change Study and
primarily in areas of child/family therapy,
Action, and writes a monthly electronic newsletter,
assessment methods, child psychopathology
Climate Change News (on the web at
(attention deficit disorder, aggression).
° Interest in development and evaluation of public
for Climate Change News from Chad Tolman. He
sector mental health services led to move to
serves on the Energy Committee of LWVNCC, the
Delaware in 1988 to assume position as Deputy
Advocacy Committee of the Delaware Nature Society,
Director, Division of Child Mental Health Services
and is the Energy Chair of the Delaware Chapter of the
in the Department of Services for Children, Youth
Sierra Club. He recently served on the Footprint
and Their Families. After 18+ years, retired from
Workgroup of the DE Governor‘s Energy Advisory
the Department as Director of Clinical
Council. He has three children and five grandchildren.
° Two of the most interesting and involving
activities during the last years in this position were
THANKS TO OUR ADVERTISERS – WE NEED MORE - CALL 302-571-8948
Delaware Council on
Your Fair Lending Advocate in Delaware
Gambling Problems, Inc.
Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council, Inc.
601 North Church Street, Wilmington, DE 19801 www .dcgp.org
302-654-5024 or 877-825-0750 x 100 Fax 302-654-5046
Many programs NAA approved
July 14, 2009
To: Members of the Public Service Commission
From: Sandra Spence, President, Brian Kramer, Co-chair, Energy Study
COMMENTS ON DELMARVA‟S REVISED IRP OF NOVEMBER 3, 2008
The League of Women Voters of Delaware appreciates this opportunity for additional comment on Delmarva Power‘s November
3, 2008 update of its Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). Although, as we previously stated, this revision is a significant improvement
over the original version of December 1, 2006, rapid changes that we feel are in the best interests of the citizens of Delaware are
rendering the IRP increasingly deficient. These changes include, among others, the increased focus of our Federal and State
Governments on renewable energy and energy efficiency, pending Federal legislation on a cap and trade system for carbon dioxide
emissions, enactment of Energy Efficiency Resource Standard legislation in Delaware and likely changes to the Renewable Energy
Portfolio Standard (RPS).
Our major concerns with the IRP include:
1. External health and environmental costs of pollution resulting from the continued use of fossil fuels, especially coal, have
not been taken into account, thereby rendering cost comparisons of alternative sources of energy invalid. This flaw has
been pointed out repeatedly by various groups and individuals, to little effect.
2. Potential costs of climate change policies over the time span of the IRP appear to have been underestimated, again calling
into question comparisons between various energy sources.
3. There is insufficient analysis of the potential for including additional renewable energy sources, especially off shore wind
power. The emphasis seems to be on meeting RPS requirements rather than on what is best for Delaware.
4. The potential impact of energy conservation and distributed renewable energy programs appears to be underestimated.
The League fully appreciates the difficulties that Delmarva faces in developing a long range plan in the face of a rapidly changing
environment. However, it must be noted that each of the deficiencies we cite works to the detriment of renewable energy and
energy conservation relative to conventional fossil fuel based power. In the League‘s view the IRP seems to be more wedded to the
past rather than a solid plan for the future, a future that requires decreased use of fossil fuels and that will increasingly depend on
renewable energy and energy conservation. An IRP that does not realistically take all factors into account is not in the best interest
of Delmarva Power or the citizens of Delaware.
SB 5 Bond Bill (part of Gov‟s Budget) The Governor‘s budget includes $2.5 m. for preservation of existing low-
income housing that could otherwise be closed for failing to meet HUD standards, leaving residents with no home and
losing federal subsidies for their current housing. We monitored this closely and were pleased it was adopted with no
cuts. In addition, the bill provided $250,000 for the small DE Mortgage Assistance Act that provides bridge loans to
families facing foreclosure as a result of temporary issues such as medical problems or loss of employment.
After Rashmi Rangan testified last year on Manufactured Housing legislation, we also monitored bills introduced this
year. Most notably, HB 107 was enacted. It prohibits landowners from requiring annual land rents be paid in a lump
sum up front, which many homeowners cannot afford.
As a result of legislation supported by the LWVDE last year, homeowners in Minquadale Village in New Castle made
history as the first manufactured home community in DE to purchase the land in their community, ensuring its
continuing affordability. This was achieved on a ―right of first offer‖ authorized in 2008. The Community Legal Aid
Society played a key role in making the transaction possible. Manufactured homes represent about 15% of the housing
stock in DE -- the largest block of affordable housing not requiring public subsidy.
Sandy Spence and Christine Stillson
We thank our League members who made a financial contribution to the DE LWV Education Fund since
May 2009: Katherine Flaherty, Harriett Aibinder, Margaret Slocomb, Mary Torsh, Edith Herron
EQUAL RIGHTS Senate, is now in House Administration Committee. League
supports. HB 4 requires all cash campaign contributions of
$20.00 or more to be fully disclosed in campaign finance
After almost ten years of attempts in the Delaware
reports. Passed House and is now in the Senate Executive
legislature, a non-discrimination bill was passed in the 145th
Committee. The League monitored this bill.
Assembly and signed by the Governor on July 2, 2009.
HB 17 w/ HA 1 is the first leg of a Constitutional
SB121 changes the language in several titles of Delaware
Amendment which eliminates the existing five-year waiting
Code to add sexual orientation to the State‘s prohibited
period before eligible felons who have fully discharged their
discrimination laws pertaining to employment, housing,
sentences may have their voting rights restored. The League
equal accommodations, and insurance. Starting as HB 5,
is working to restore voting rights to felons and testified in
sponsored by Rep. Schwartzkopf, the Bill passed the House.
support of this bill.
On the Senate side, however, HB 5 was assigned to the
Executive Committee presided over by Sen. Adams. Despite
HB 117 provides that school board elections take place on
dozens of people, including LWV-DE v.p. Lisa Pertzoff,
the date of the general election. Currently, school board
testifying in support of the Bill, it died in committee.
elections are held on the second Tuesday of May and can
occur in any year. The bill also aligns the terms of school
Sen. Sokola then reintroduced the identical non-
board members so their terms expire during a general
discrimination bill in the Senate as SB121. Following
election year; provides that only registered voters can vote in
rejection of several amendments added by Sen. Venables,
school board elections; places school board member on the
the Bill was referred to the Senate Insurance Committee ,
ballot during the general election; and provides that
chaired by Sen. Blevins, where it received a favorable vote.
campaign finance laws apply to school board election. The
Having then to pass the House, SB 121 was approved and
bill passed the House and is assigned to Senate Executive
went to Governor Markell for signature.
While SB 121 relates specifically to sexual orientation and
The League has not supported this bill because in the past
non-discrimination, a couple of other bills, which expanded
we supported retaining non-partisan nature of school board
certain rights to the public at large (and were signed by Gov.
elections and are working to preserve the right to vote for
Markell), are also of particular concern to the equal rights of
people not registered but meeting other requirements, such
the GLBT minority community:
as convicted felons, and anyone who is not registered for the
general elections. It follows that the League will take no
HB 112 amends Title 16 of the Delaware Code to permit
action on SB 127 which requires that all who vote in school
hospitalized patients or nursing home or long-term care
board elections, school tax elections & school bond elections
residents to receive any visitors of their choice. The Bill also
be registered voters. Assigned to Senate Administrative
explicitly directs hospitals, nursing home or long-term care
facilities in Delaware to honor and adhere to Advance
Health-Care Directives and Powers of Attorney of patients
HB 132 would permit military and overseas citizens the
or residents in these situations.
ability to receive and send absentee ballots applications,
absentee ballots and related forms by electronic
HB 84, which amends Title 13 of Delaware Code, adds de
transmission. This is part of a goal to make voting easier for
facto parent status to the law and allows the Family Court in
citizens overseas. Passed and signed..
Delaware to consider whether a person‘s assumption of
parental responsibilities and relationship with a child
HB 74 This Bill limits a candidate to seeking one office at a
establishes de facto parenthood.
time. The League has no position on this bill, but is
Because of a fiscal note which assigned the Bill to the
Appropriations Committee, HB 10 was not acted on in this
May 14, 2009 Elaine Manlove, Commissioner of Elections,
session of the Assembly. HB 10 would extend to same-sex
called the original HAVA Committee together to update the
partners of State employees the same benefits as are
group regarding HAVA implementation so far. She asked
provided to the spouses of State employees and pensioners,
the group to review the HAVA plan that is on-line and make
employees of State authorities and commissions, and
any suggestions in writing to her. A decision will be made
employees of labor unions.
to see if the plan needs updating or whether it remains the
Clare Brigidini way it is and continue implementing the plan. The facilitator
John Locksmith, representing the Election Center, praised
VOTING AND ELECTIONS the plan and said it is one of the best he had seen and
recommended to make sure the language remains broad.
SB 9 moves the dates during which a registered voter may Reasons are that we do not know what kind of technology is
change his or her party designation so that it matches the coming down the pike, and also any new legislation coming
dates during which a newly registered voter may select a out of the current administration. The plan should provide
party designation. This provides for more time periods flexibility in its implementation.
closer to each election to change party affiliation. Passed Letty Diswood
“SHE IS FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF OUR SUFFRAGETTES”
Left: Dr. Joann fields of Felton, (League member) dressed in
Colonial attire July 9, 2009 to present her Declaration of
Independence from commercial health insurance in front of the Allen
Frear Federal Building in Dover. The primary care doctor led a group
of approximately 20 in lobbying Rep. Michael Castle and Sens. Tom
Carper and Red Kaufman to support a national public health plan.
Fields held an envelope containing more than 250 signed petitions
that were delivered to a Carper staff member. Lobbying, from left,
were David Wolfe of Dover, Rosemary and Bob Connelly of Milford,
Fields, and Shirley Westley of Dover.
(Note – this was an individual action – not organized by LWVDE)
Picture and caption scanned from a newspaper clipping Delaware State News.
Aug. Wednesday 19 Board meting 3:30 pm Sussex County
Aug. Thursday 20 Board meeting 7 pm New Castle County League office Wilmington
Aug. Tuesday 25 board meeting 6:30 pm Kent County St. Paul‘s Episcopal Ch. Camden
Sept. Thursday 3 Board meeting 7 pm New Castle County League office Wilmington
Sept. Tuesday 15 Voter Registration Training, 5-7 pm League Office Wilmington
Sept. Wednesday 16 Land Use I: The Process Sussex Tunnell Center Rehoboth Beach
Sept Wednesday 16 Board meeting 3:30 pm Sussex
Sept. Wednesday 16 LWVKC Annual Potluck Health Care Reform 6 pm dinner, 7 pm program.
Sept. Thursday 17 Voter Registration Training 9:30 – 11:30 am Girl Scout offices Newark
Sept. Thursday 17 Board meeting 6 pm State Wayside Inn Smyrna
Sept. Sunday 20 Newark Community 9 am-4 pm LWVNCC booth UD on the Green Newark
Sept. Tuesday 22 LWVKC board meeting 12:15 pm St. Paul‘s Episcopal Ch. Camden
Oct. Tuesday 6 Gambling Forum State Dover (tentative)
Oct. Wednesday 14 Open space/farm-
land preservation Sussex Georgetown (tentative)
Oct. Thursday 15 Board meeting 6 pm State Wayside Inn Smyrna
Oct. Wednesday 21 Delaware Water Supply Kent County Unit Meeting,
Oct. Wednesday 21 Board meeting 3:30 Kent County
Oct. Tuesday 27 Board meeting 6:30 LWVKC St. Paul‘s Episcopal Ch. Camden
Nov. Thursday 5 Board meeting 7 pm New Castle County League office Wilmington
Nov. Wednesday 18 Board meeting 3:30 pm Kent County
Nov. Thursday 19 Board meeting 6 pm State Wayside Inn Smyrna
Nov. Tuesday 24 Board meeting 2:15 pm Kent County St. Paul‘s Episcopal Ch. Camden
Dec. Thursday 3 Board meeting 7 pm New Castle County League office Wilmington
Dec. Saturday 12 Bill of Rights Day celebration at Archives State Dover
Dec. Thursday 16 Joint meeting (tentative) LWVKC & LWVSC
President‘s Message – p 1 Investing in the Future/Gambling? – p 2 Legislative Round-up - p 2
Natural Resources/Energy/Solid Waste–p 3 Freedom of Information – p 4 Reproductive Rights – p 4
Prevention of Violence – p 4 Health Care – p 4 Justice System – p 5-6
Transportation/Land Use –7 Property Tax Reassessment Comm. – 7-8 Convention Wrap- Up–p 8
Biographies – p 9 Advertisers – p 9 ACTION on IRP – P 10
Housing – p 10 Thank you contributors – p 10
12 Equal Rights – p 11
Voting and Election – p 11 Picture/Calendar – p 13-14