Brian Bushweller, State Senator

17th District of Delaware

July, 2016

Looking Back On My 2016 Bills in the General Assembly

            Many readers of the MMC Bulletin know that the month of June is always the busiest and most hectic month in the General Assembly.  June is the last month of the Legislature’s six month session so legislators and others with an interest work hard to get their bills passed by the magical June 30 deadline.

Because the copy deadline for this column is before June 30, as of the time I am writing this, I do not know the final status of various pieces of legislation.  Even so, I thought readers might be interested in where some of my bills stood a week or two before the deadline.

My most important bill, SB 183, was very uncertain as of this writing.  This is the bill that I and about eleven other Kent and Sussex legislators sponsored that would change the financial relationship between the State and the casino industry.  The simple fact is, in my view, the State just takes too much money from the casinos – not in the form of taxes but in the State’s share of gross casino gaming revenue.  This threatens the more than 2,000 casino jobs in Kent and northern Sussex Counties.

As of this writing, I was preparing an amendment to SB 183 that would lessen the impact of the bill on the State but still protect all those jobs, or at least most of them.  This year, the General Assembly took several steps to protect jobs in New Castle County and the other sponsors and I hope they will do the same for Kent and Sussex.

Earlier this year, I was able to get two pieces of legislation passed that (1) honored the children of currently serving military members (SCR 57) and (2) provided a mechanism for the Department of Defense to track where military kids go to school (SB 94) so DOD can be sure the military kids get all the services to which they’re entitled.

A bill still to be enacted (HB 228), would allow local brewers, distillers and vintners to sell small quantities of their products at local farmers’ markets.  This would help spread the word about these local products, helping build those businesses.

Another bill was awaiting action in the House of Representatives that would protect data relating to the framework and infrastructure of the State’s computer systems from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (SB 258).  Just the same as we protect data about the construction of State buildings – to keep terrorists or others from using that data to attack or injure people – this bill would protect our computer systems.

A very interesting bill I did at the request of the Governor (HB 327) will allow individuals to purchase small quantities of stock in Delaware startup companies online.  This means average people can participate in funding new, small companies without having to purchase shares of stock from a broker.  As of this writing the bill has passed both houses and awaits the Governor’s signature.

I’ll try to remember to report the final results on the bills left outstanding in a future column.