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Joint Sunset Committee


									                                      Joint Sunset Committee
                                Wednesday, January 24, 2007, 1:00 p.m.
                               Senate Hearing Room, Legislative Hall
                      Committee Meeting: Organizational Meeting

JSC and Staff: Sen. Sokola, Chair; Rep. Valihura, Vice-Chair; Sen. Connor; Sen. McDowell; Rep.
Hudson; Rep. Longhurst; Rep. Maier; Rep. Viola; Debbie Puzzo, JSC Analyst; Judi Abbott/Div. of
Research staff

Absent: Sen. Bonini; and Sen. Bunting (attending the Senate Natural Resources Committee meeting)

Public in attendance: Stu Lindner, Artesian Water Co.; David Bonar, DEPSC; Rebecca Kidner, RB
Kidner PA; Michael Haynes, Leg. Fellow House Majority;

1. Welcome
2. Adoption of the Joint Sunset Committee Rules
3. Review of proposed statutory changes
4. Scheduling for 2007 Reviews
5. Status of past Reviews
6. New business
7. Adjournment

                       The following agencies are scheduled for review this year:
                                      Office of Public Advocate
                                     Public Service Commission
                Rules Review of the DE River and Bay Authority (carry over review)
                       Council on Development Finance (carry over review)
                       Div. of Child Support Enforcement (carry over review)

1. Welcome
Senator Sokola called the meeting to order at 1:10 pm. Introductions were made.

2. Adoption of the Joint Sunset Committee Rules
Rep. Viola made a motion to adopt the Joint Sunset Committee Rules. The motioned was seconded by
Rep. Hudson. Voice vote taken. The motion passed unanimously.

3. Review of proposed statutory changes
Rep. Valihura stated that about 4 years ago the JSC reviewed the DE Sunset Act and the result was SB 37
(143rd General Assembly).

Sen. Sokola said that he would like to reintroduce a similar bill and he would like to have all the
Committee members as sponsors of the new bill.

There was discussion about a few provisions contained within SB 37. Rep. Valihura suggested that a
small subgroup of the JSC meet prior to the next meeting to review SB 37. There was discussion about
having an attorney help with the drafting of the new bill.

4. Scheduling for 2007 Reviews
Sen. Sokola stated that Sen. Bunting indicated that his schedule was clear and he will make every effort to
attend the scheduled meetings.
Rep. Valihura stated that he would prefer that the public hearings for the Public Service Commission
(PSC) and the Division of the Public Advocate (DPA) be held on separate dates.

Rep. Valihura suggested that the JSC discuss the Rules Review of the Delaware River and Bay Authority
(DRBA ). Rep. Valihura stated:

    As those who are long time members of the committee know, there was quite a row about
    whether we should do them [DRBA] or not. And we managed to get the 6 votes to do that over
    the strong objection of other members of the committee. It was the opinion of the counsel of the
    Joint Sunset Committee that we had the authority to do that. In the interim there was an Attorney
    General's letter that we received that said we don't have the authority to review them. I believe
    we have the authority to review them. And continue to hold that in my own personal view as well
    as my view as a lawyer. While we may not be able to quote "Sunset" them, and that was one of
    the reasons why we did the rules review, we certainly have the right to review an agency of the
    State and as defined under our Statute, an agency is one for which there is governmental
    oversight, and clearly, the governors appointment powers that show us having authority over

    However, inexplicitly the Attorney General came off with a different view, and so we are – that is
    the status of this. I believe – there are 2 express reasons why we had this – one was the threat that
    was used by members of the New Jersey delegation that they were going to retaliate against
    Delaware in their management oversight of the Delaware River and Bay Authority, for their
    failure to agree to the use of the Delaware portion of the Delaware River, related to the BP site.
    That incensed me that they thought they could use this as a weapon against us, and that motivated
    me to recommend its review. There were issues, as I understood it, relating to personnel issues,
    labor issues, within the DRBA that motivated others to support a review. And that is where we
    stand. I just want to make sure those facts are on the table before we have any discussion on what
    we should do here.

Sen. McDowell provided some background history on the creation of the DRBA by the United States
Congress. The Senator stated that his father was involved with the original compact. The Senator
would love to take a look at this agency because in his opinion, “when my father wrote both the
original and the renewal, it was his intent and the creator's intent, and Congress' intent that crossing
become a free crossing when the bonds were paid off.”

Sen. McDowell also stated that this Committee may have some narrow authority regarding
Delaware’s Commissioner appointments.

Sen. Sokola stated that the General Assembly has done legislation in recent years that allowed the
DRBA to make certain investments. The Senator raised the question - If this Committee doesn’t have
the authority to review the DRBA, who does?

Sen. McDowell stated that perhaps this Committee should seek clarification from Congress “as to
what powers remain under the interstate compact.”

Rep. Valihura stated that he has had dialogue with the DRBA’s legal counsel and they continue to
take the position that the DRBA is not subject to a review by the JSC. They agreed to provide the
JSC with the information it requested and they are not objecting to the review, however they are
reserving the right to say they will not appear before the JSC.

Rep. Valihura said that the DRBA is a great organization that tried to do what they believe is in the
best interest of the citizens, but the legislature represents the citizens and as such, the legislature
should have some oversight of the DRBA.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007 – Legislative Hall              4:00 Rules Review – DRBA
                                                           6:00 Public Hearing – Division of Child
                                                                Support Enforcement
Wednesday, February 21, 2007 – Legislative Hall            5:00 Committee Meeting – Review
                                                                Proposed changes to DE Sunset
                                                           6:00 Public Hearing – Public Service
Tuesday, February 27, 2007 – Carvel Bldg. Wilmington
                                                           4:00 Committee Meeting – Council on
                                                                Development Finance
                                                           6:00 Public Hearing – Division of the
                                                                Public Advocate
Wednesday, March 14, 2007 – Legislative Hall               1:00 Committee Meeting – Delaware
                                                                Transit Corporation

Weather contingency dates – March 7th and 8th

5. Status of Past Reviews
Rep. Valihura stated that the review of the Council on Development Finance (CDF) is a carryover from
2006. This Committee was going to take an in-depth look at 4 different projects that received grant
funding. The Director of DEDO and the chairperson of CDF were to appear before the JSC, but the
Committee never got to that point because the meeting was cancelled. Rep. Valihura recommended that
this Committee schedule a meeting for the following purposes: 1) the CDF can provide an update with
regard to what has happened since the last meeting before the JSC; 2) take an in-depth look at 4 different
projects that received grant funding; and 3) based upon information received, schedule any further
meetings and/or draft recommendations.

Regarding the Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE), Rep. Valihura said that the Division has
made some effort to implement some of the JSC recommendations. The question is whether they have
gone far enough. Rep. Valihura recommended that this Committee review the latest progress reports
submitted and ask the DCSE to appear before the JSC to provide the DSCE with the opportunity to
provide a status report and to allow the Committee to ask questions.

Rep. Valihura commented that one of the biggest issues was that the DSCE was with respect to
determining parentage and the failure to have user-friendly hours.

Rep. Valihura stated that although the JSC review of the Delaware Transit Corporation (DTC) and the
JSC issued recommendations there has been some follow up after a fall meeting relating to some issues
regarding driver hirings. As a result of that meeting, DTC has been providing weekly status reports. Rep.
Valihura recommended scheduling a meeting with the Secretary and the Executive Director of DTC to
provide an update. He believes this will be an opportunity to: 1) let the public know that this Committee
is doing good things; 2) let the public know that DTC is doing some good things and trying to address the
issues; and 3) PROVIDE THIS Committee with the opportunity to see whether it needs to do anything
further and can they be released from their weekly reporting. Rep. Valihura suggested that the meeting be
a committee meeting rather than a public hearing.

Regarding the Council on Housing (COH) Rep. Valihura commented that the JSC completed its review of
the COH, although legislation was not introduced. He stated that he is developing legislation that he will
bring back to the Committee for review. Rep. Valihura also suggested bringing the COH before the JSC
to allow them to provide comments on the legislation.

Sen. Sokola asked whether any of the attendees had any questions or comments.

Yvonne Steel, lobbyist, asked about the status of the Pharmacy bill from last session.

Rep. Valihura stated that the Pharmacy bill was a result of a previous JSC review and the bill did not
pass. Rep. Valihura stated that James Collins, Director of the Division of Professional Regulation, is
working with stakeholders with regard to the pharmacy bill and Mr. Collins has agreed to bring a bill to
the JSC.

Rep. Maier stated that she has some concerns about the Real Estate Commission. She asked when the
Commission was last reviewed by the JSC.

Ms. Puzzo stated that the Real estate Commission was reviewed by the JSC in 2001.

Sen. Sokola stated that perhaps the JSC can send a letter to the Commission. The Senator said that
generally the end of a session is when the JSC decides on which entities to review for the following

Rep. Maier stated she will share her concerns with Mr. Collins.

Rebecca Kidner, lobbyist, stated that several years ago the JSC reviewed the Delaware Harness and
Thoroughbred Racing Commissions. Ms. Kidner referred to SB 38 (143rd) which was a result of the
2004 JSC review. Ms. Kidner stated that although the bill was introduced, it was never passed. Ms.
Kidner commented that there were some provisions within the bill that were somehow implemented
without the bill being passed. Ms. Kidner suggested that perhaps it might be appropriate for this
Committee to review whether those implemented provisions are actually working.

Rep. Valihura stated that he has requested feedback from each of the racing Commissions with regard
to whether they are interested in the legislation. At least one of the Commissions has expressed an

Sen. Sokola stated that if the bill is re-introduced, then the Committee hearing would provide an
opportunity to receive input as to whether the enacted provisions are working or not.

Ms. Kidner stated that perhaps SB 38 “came out of one section of the Sunset Committee, rather than a
joint bill, if you will. There was so much discussion and so much review, and then the entire JSC did
not come to a consensus about what should be included in the bill.”

James Collin, Director of Professional Regulation, stated that he plans to move forward with the
Nursing Home Administrators’ bill. He stated that he is meeting with the stakeholders involved with
the Pharmacy bill and he will keep Debbie Puzzo informed of the progress of each bill.

Mr. Collins stated that a few years ago, as a result of a tough man contest, the JSC recommended that
the Division take a look at policies regarding combative sports. He stated that the the Division is in
the final stages of a bill to present to the JSC.

Sen. Sokola thanked everyone for attending the meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 2:10.

Submitted by Debbie Puzzo/Feb. 14, 2007
Updated Feb 22, 2007


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