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Lewes, Delaware
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January 16, 1998     Cape Gazette
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January 16, 1998
 

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House committee tables 'JJ's Law,' lowering DUI blood-alcohol level By Michael Short Two alcohol bills, including "JJ's Law," were tabled in the House Public Safety Committee on Wednesday. Instead, one or perhaps both bills will be the subject of public hearings scheduled in each of Delaware's three counties. The two bills, one of which would make bars and restaurants more liable for serving intoxicated patrons, and one that would re- duce the blood alcohol level for intoxication, were both inadver- tently put on the committee agen- da before being tabled. House of Representatives Com- munications Officer Joe Fulgham said that the intent was to receive more public input on the legisla- tion before it was voted on in committee. He said the bills should not have been placed on the agenda. "We want the public to participate in the process," he said. The "JJ's Law" bill sponsored by Rep. Terry Spence (R-Newark) would provide monetary rewards for personal injury or property damage caused as the result of commercial alcohol beverage servers providing drinks to people who should have been denied ser- vice: The second bill, also sponsored by Spence, the speaker of Delaware's House of Representa- tives, would reduce the blood al- cohol level of intoxication from .10 to .08. "JJ's Law" is named for Joseph Jeffrey "JJ" Stein III, the promi- nent Cape region man who fell from a Route 1 bridge last year and died. That bill will definitely be the subject of public hearings; the Sussex hearing will probably be held in Georgetown next month, according to Fulgham. Notice of Spence's press con- ference last month in Rehoboth Beach announcing his legislation said it was intended to reduce "drunk driving fatalities and to close a loophole in Delaware law which prevents bars, taverns, restaurants and other commercial liquor servers from being held li- able for negligent actions." The second bill, on the level of intoxication, may also be the sub- ject of public hearings. Fulgham was uncertain of that. Hearing dates also had not been set at press time. Chip Hearn, the president of the Delaware Restaurant Association, praised Spence for allowing more time for public comment. "I ap- plaud Mr. Spence," he said. "We hadn't planned to move here until we saw Plantations" New legislation By Rosanne Pack Out to enforce the premise that "No" means "No," a Delaware lawmaker will introduce legisla- tion to strengthen the state's laws regarding crimes of rape. Authored by Sen. Patrieia Blevins, (D-EIsmere), the bill has the support of many of Delaware's top elected officials, including Gov. Tom Carper, At- torney General Jane Brady and Sen. Joe Biden. Area lawmakers Sen. George Bunting (D-Bethany Beach), Rep. Shirley Price (D- Millville) and Sen. Robert Voshell (D-Milford) have added their names as cosponsors of S.B. 236. The legislation, which was ex- pected to be introduced when the General Assembly opened this week, removes the distinction be- tween a rape committed by a per- son known to the victim and treats it as seriously as rape committed by a stranger. Blevins said that Delaware is the last state in the na- tion that treats date rape as a lesser crime than rape committed by someone unknown to the victim. In addition to increasing the penalty for date or acquaintance rape, the new law would create aggravating factors that would boost a rape crime to a first degree crime. Included in those factors are gang rape, child rape of victim Council Continued from Page 10 council shall interrupt another in debate without the consent of the other. To obtain such consent, the member shall first address the pre- siding officer. "If any member of county council, in speaking or otherwise, trans- gresses the rules of the county council, the presiding officer shall, or any member of county council may, call the errant mem- gets tough on date rape 12 years or younger and rape by a person in authority, such as Scout leader or teacher, when the victim is younger than 18. Committing rape after giving the victim an il- legal drug would also be catego- rized as rape in the first degree. Price said that she wants to see Delaware progress past the idea that rape by a companion or ac- quaintance is any less a crime than that committed by a stranger. "Rape is always difficult for a victim to overcome, and we need to remove all the barriers that we can. It is difficult for others to un- derstand as well; we need to get rid of as many questionable fac- tors as we can." Price said that the proliferation of "rape drugs" is a frightening occurrence and that problem needs to be addressed on all levels. She is in favor of in- creasing the seriousness of the crime ifa drug is used and of mak- ing the rape drugs illegal to pos- sess. Bunting said: "In the past, if a victim knew the individual, she was less likely to pursue legal ac- tion. A family wouldn't even be as likely to pursue, because of how things look if you know the per- .son. The emotional problems last anyway, and it might be worse if you can't seek legal action. "People are coming more out in the open now, and this might help. ber to order. When a member shall be called to order, that member shall not proceed without the per- mission of the presiding officer." "I think this is only courteous- ness and politeness. I think we should all be reminded of this," Dukes said. Cole asked if that meant that Dukes, the current council presi- dent, could choose not to recog- nize a member of council. Dukes replied that he would recognize anyone who wishes to speak. By increasing the penalties, it puts people on notice." Bunting said the provisions that would increase penalties for people in authority are needed. He considers such cases as almost more severe than other crimes of rape. The new leg- islation contains language that would make it a crime of rape, even if there is consent, if the act is committed by an on-duty police officer, parole officer, prison guard or constable. It also creates a new category of first-degree rape that carries a penalty of life without probation or parole. Falling into this category are seri- al rape, a rape where the victim is disfigured or dismembered and a rape where the victim is younger than 16 and suffers a serious in- IRAs OPEN, TRANSFER, ROLLOVER,  Anthony Egeln New Devon Inn 142 Second St. Lewes 645-7710 Edward Jones Serving Individual Investors Since 1871 Member SIPC Member NYSE CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, January 16 - January 22, 1998 - 13 i "We were living happily in northern New Jersey," say Raul and Maria Asencio, "until we visited our close friends who had moved to Lewes, They encour- a us to move here, too; even shopped around and found us a new home in Plantations. "At first, we didn't know where Lewes was, but when we came we thoroughly enjoyed visiting our friends and loved their new home. At Plantations, we toured the lakefront Court-yard unit our friends had chosen for us on January 1. We loved it so much, we had already moved into it by the first of May. "We worked closely with the architect at Country Life Homes to get our new dwelling ready. He recommended alterna- tives as we made a number of changes and labored diligently to accommodate US. "We think it's beautiful here, amazing- ly quiet and everyone is very friendly. You'll understand what we mean when you pay a visit to Plantations to see what they might have for you." Prices start at $113,500. For information, ] call 302.645.2727 or 800.777.1530. I From Route One in Lewes, turn west at Midway Shopping Center traffic light, then right at 275.