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April 21, 2000     Cape Gazette
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April 21, 2000

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CAPE GAZETTE, Friday,/kpril 21- April 27, 2000- 13 Legislative Update Schroeder raises questions on baby bill Although H.B. 555 was re- leased from the House Health and Human Development Committee and forwarded to the Appropria- tions Committee, no one expects the abandoned-baby legislation to slide along without considerable study and debate. Sponsored by Rep. Nancy Wag- ner, R-Dover, and Rep. Myrna Bail R-Foulke Woods, the bill would allow parents to legally leave a newborn baby at a med- ical facility or other designated safe place without being charged with abandonment. As presently written, the mother or parents would have up until 14 days of the infant's birth to relinquish custody, no questions asked and no criminal charges. Rep. John Schroeder, D-Lewes, is struggling with the issue. "We all want to save a child," he said. "But this raises questions of the signal we would send to young people. Is this the way we accept this situation, by further absolv- ing people from responsibilityT' Schroeder said he is 100 per- cent in favor of adoption in cases where parents do not want or can- not keep an infant. He said some of his concerns with H.B. 555 stem from legal ramifications of allowing abandoned babies to be adopted without going through standard legal processes. He raised a question of father's rights if a mother relinquishes a baby without notifying the father. Rep. Shirley Price, D-Millville, said she is strongly in favor of B.B. 555. She said that no one can create legislation that Will cause people to act responsibly, howev- er, this law would at least give un- wanted infants more of a chance at survival. "We can't keep throwing babies away," she said. "It is important that we at least try to create a way for those who don't want to or can't be responsible for that child to get it to a safe place. Not every- one would take advantage of this law, but if it saves one baby in 10 years, it's worth it for me." Price said that similar legisla- tion has been enacted in other states when lawmakers became distressed by the rising number of unwanted babies that are being left to die. She said she is not sure how much good such laws ac- complish, but can see nothing wrong in creating them. Schroeder said he needs to talk to people on all sides of the issue before he is convinced that H.B. 555 is the best way to deal with .= parents who are afraid of or un- willing to follow present legal channels to give up their unwant- ed babies. "I appreciate that we want to try and save children," he said. "But do we want to let all kids know that this is the kind of law, the kind of society that we want to create?" Bill would shorten school board terms Introduced for a variety of reasons, H.B. 219 would shorten the terms of local school board members, maybe as much as from the present five to two years, and give them some compensation, ei- ther in the form of payment or tax credit. Sponsored by Rep. Pam Maier, R-Drummond Hill, the intent is to encourage candidates to run for the offices and to make board members more accountable to the public. In committee testimony, resi- dents of some districts said that the five-year term allows school board members to be unrespon- sive to their constituents. Other components of the bill are to schedule school board elections with the November general elec- tion and to allow school board members to be elected by area rather than districtwide. The bill has been released from the House Education Committee. SALE Will you be ready when Summer arrives? Get your boat now so you'll be ready to get in on the fun. '00 2052 Bayliner Trophy *10% Down; 144 months - 10.98%; Tax, Tags, Documentation/Title Fees not included iser Contract Continued from page 8 Delaware school districts have binding arbitration for teachers, which puts Cape in step with the majority of districts. The statement also reads: "While the school board is anx- ious to provide teachers the agreed upon increases in salary and benefits, the board is unwill- ing to negotiate away its authority and responsibility to an arbitrator who is not accountable to district residents." CHEA president Sarah Ross said after the fact-finder's report was released that the local association of teachers "has no of- ficial comment on the issue at this time." She indicated CHEA may want to pursue the question through appeal. Cape Henlopen School District Superintendent Dr. Andy Bran- denberger said the contract talks are "at a real impasse, maybe for a long time" as the teachers associ- ation has not agreed to accept the fact-finder's non-binding conclu- sions. "We've been honoring all points of the former contract," Brandenberger said. "But teachers have lost about 1 percent in salary increases since that contract ex- pired, and we've withheld raises to employees until the new con- tract was agreed upon. Now, we can't move forward except to put. all this information out to the court of public .opinion." Starting salaries for Cape teach- ers are in the high-S20,000 range; the average salary for Cape teach- ers is in the Iow-$40,000 range. Bank-issued, FDIC-insured to $100,000 1-year 6.60% APY Minimum deposit ,000 3-year 6.80% APY* Minimum deposit $5,000 Annual Percentage Yield (APY) - Interest cannot remain on deposit; periodic payout of interest is required. Effective 4/18/00. Call or stop by today. Anthony Egeln Warren C. Hardy New Devon Inn #7 Lighthouse Plaza, Rt. I 142 Second St., Lewes Rehoboth Beach 645-7710 227-2771 Member SIPC Edward Jones Serving Individual Investors Since 1871 '99 2050 Bayliner Capri w/4.3L MerCruiser & Galv. Trailer ** 10% Down; 144 months - 10.98%; Tax, Togs, Documentation/Title Fees not included jiif Long Neck, DE Off Rt. 24 on Long Neck Road 302-947-5050 Fenwick Island, DE Rt..54 next to Harpoon Hannas 302-537-3500