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January 24, 2014     Cape Gazette
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Cape Gazette NEWS FRIDAY, JANUARY 24- MONDAY, JANUARY 27, 2014 21 House speaker looks ahead to legislative session By Kara Nuzback knuzback@capegazette.com Cash management, minimum wage and gun control are issues voters will likely hear about in the next two weeks. Ensuring that the state's $2 bil- lion investment portfolio does not fall into the hands of one man is a top concern, said House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf. Senate Bill 151 would clarify that the Cash Management and Policy Board - not the state trea- surer - has the power to provide oversight of the state's invest- ments. State Treasurer Chip Flowers issued a press release Jan. 15, op- posing the bill on the grounds that it gives the unelected board too much power over the state's $2 billion in investments. Flowers called for an amend- ment to SB 151 that would force board members to disclose their financial interests, forbid board members from donating to po- litical campaigns, establish term limits for board members and subject the board to public and governmental oversight. However, when Senate Pres- ident Pro Tern Patty Blevins, D-Elsmere, brought SB 151 to the Senate floor Jan. 16, Flowers' amendment was not introduced. Blevins said she spoke to the treasurer about the amendment, and his points would be ad- dressed when the Joint Sunset Committee reviews the Cash Management Policy Board in February. SB 151 passed the Senate unan- imously and now heads to the House, where Speaker of the House Rep. Pete Schwarzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, is confident the bill will pass. A sponsor of SB 151, Schwartz- kopf said Flowers released the proposed amendment to the press before presenting it to any legislators. The proposals detailed in Flowers' amendment have been in discussion for months, he said. "I don't know where he's been," Schwartzkopf said. "He's trying to say he thought these things up himself, and that's not true." Schwartzkopf said Flowers is delusional if he expects legisla- to'rs to give him sole oversight of all the state's investments. Workers could see minimum wage hike A bill to increase the minimum wage passed the Senate in March but was tabled in the House Eco- nomic Development Committee. The bill will come up for a vote in the House in the next two weeks, Schwartzkopf said. "It'll pass unless somebody tries to amend it," he said. Senate Bill 6 would increase the state minimum wage to $8.75 per hour by July 1. According to the bill, if federal minimum wage surpasses Delaware's minimum wage, the state would increase the pay rate $1 above the federal minimum. Some legislators want to base the minimum wage on the con- sumer price index, Schwartzkopf DNREC sets workshop on Inland Bays shellfish aquaculture regs for Jan. 30 The Delaware Department public input on developing Del- of Natural Resources and En- aware's shellfish aquaculture vironmental Control's Division regulations before proposed of Fish and Wildlife will hold a regulations are formally initi- public workshop on Delaware's ated throughthe state regulatory Inland Bays shellfish aquacul- approval process. Shellfish aqua- ture regulations currently under culture regulations are required development at 6 p.m Thurs- to provide the legal structure for day, Jan. 30, at DNREC's Lewes the state in leasing public sub- Field Facility, 901Pilottown Road, aqueous land for, and to oversee, Lewes. commercial shellfish aquaculture Shellfish aquaculture is the ventures in the Inland Bays. technical term for shellfish farm- Division of Fish and Wildlife ing. A shellfish aquaculturist - or staff will present a summary of shellfish farmer - raises shellfish the developing shellfish aquacul- such as oysters in containers, ture regulations at the workshop The aquaculturist stocks these while providing details on specif- containers or cages with very ic aspects of the regulations, such young shellfish, raises them until as shellfish aquacukure develop- they are market-sized, and then ment areas under consideration harvests them for sale. Many where shellfish aquaculture shellfish aquaculturists along would be focused. The public the Atlantic Coast find their will have the opportunity to ask products are highly sought by questions and provide their input shellfish lovers and gourmets, on the developing regulations. The workshop will gather Continued on page 22 said. "The original proposal had that in it," he said. He said if the minimum wage were attached to the consumer price index, the bill would fail. Gun control loses momentum From January to June 2013, gun control was a hotly debated issue at Legislative Hall. Schwartzkopf said bills to limit firearms will continue to arise throughout the remainder of the 147th General Assembly, but some of the more controversial bills are not likely to pass. House Bill 58, which would outlaw firearms that carry more than 10 rounds, is still alive in Legislative Hall. Schwartzkopf said it does not have enough votes to pass the House. "I don't foresee that coming to the floor," he said. Schwartzkopf also said he has received substantial opposition from Sussex County voters on a gun-control bill that would apply only to Wilmington. House Bill 62 would allow the city of Wilmington to enact its own firearms regulations and laws. No action has been taken on the bill since it was intro- duced March 21, 2013. The Legislature will recess Thursday, Jan. 30. 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