Brian Bushweller, State Senator

17th District of Delaware

August, 2016

 

Final Update on 2016 Legislation; Kent County’s Beautiful Farmland

Last month, I mentioned several pieces of my legislation (bills) that had not been finalized when I wrote my column.  In the end, there was some good news and some bad news. A rundown:

  • SB 183.  My most important bill.  This bill goes in the “bad news” section.  It would have changed the financial relationship between the State and the casino industry, helping preserve the more than 2,000 casino jobs in Kent and northern Sussex Counties. The bill never came to a vote, primarily because of the continued strain on State revenues caused by every increasing medical costs.  I will be looking for ways to address this job-saving issue next year.
  • HB 228.  Another bill under the “bad news” heading.  HB 228 would have allowed local brewers, distillers and vintners to sell small quantities of their products at Delaware farmers’ markets, helping to build those businesses.  It was defeated in the Senate because of opposition from retail liquor dealers and alcohol delivery companies.
  • SB 258.  This one goes under “good news”.  This bill protects data relating to the framework and infrastructure of the State’s computer systems from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.  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 protects the construction of our computer systems.  SB 258 passed both the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor on June 30.
  • HB 327.  Another “good news” bill.  This bill allows individuals to purchase small quantities of stock in Delaware startup companies online.  This means average people can invest in new, small companies without having to purchase shares of stock from a broker.  This bill also passed both houses and was signed by the Governor on July 11.

With the two “good news” bills above, I had a total of 15 bills signed into law over the two years of the 148th General Assembly.  One more bill passed both houses and now awaits the Governor’s signature.

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            I recently attended a celebration of National Farm Produce Week at Fifer Orchards in Wyoming.  It was sponsored by the Delaware Department of Agriculture.  There were ample supplies of wonderful, fresh, local, farm produce on display.  Inside there were more quantities of derivative products:  jams, juices, ice cream.  There was also lots of discussion about the vital role Delaware’s farmers and farms play in the quality of life here in The First State.  If you are not already enjoying the fabulous produce from our local farms, give it a try.  You will be delighted!

As appealing as the produce itself was, I was equally impressed by the picturesque scenery evident on my drive from West Dover to Fifer’s.  As I turned south onto Wyoming Mill Road in early July, the deep, blue, sun-lit morning sky was punctuated with bright, white, billowy, cumulous clouds.  It was a perfect Kent County day!  Driving south, to the east were fields of “knee high” sweet corn.  Across the road, the corn was taller, closer to the “elephant’s eye.”  Turning west in Wyoming, along neatly trimmed grass borders on the left, were row after row of apple trees.  On the right, many more rows of peach trees.  As beautiful a scene as any I have encountered in a lifetime of travel.

It all made for a memorable moment, reminding me of one of the reasons I love central Kent County.