Howard Dean in Wilmington 5/29/09—Howard Dean will be hosting a townhall meeting on health care reform this Friday, the 29th, from 3-5pm, at the DE Building Trades Hall, on 911 New Road, Wilmington, DE 19805. This is a great opportunity to meet past governor, presidential candidate, and DNC Chair Howard Dean, to learn about the party’s current thoughts on health care reform, and to share yours.
State Party Convention—It has been a few weeks since the convention in Dover. I was both pleased and disappointed. I wrote up many of my thoughts leading up to it, and afterwards, at the blog http://paulprogressive.blogspot.com/.
Carper is Listening—You don’t have to be a credit card company lobbyist to speak with our disappointing Senator Tom Carper on Monday June 1st. Come to a Health Care Listening Session on the 1st from 10am to 11:30am, at the Eugene du Pont Preventative Medicine and Rehabilitation Institute, 3506 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, DE 19807.
Open Government—House Bill 1 (HB1) will come up for a vote in the Senate next month, due to 11 senators with a backbone who voted to suspend the rules and end the bill’s confinement to the Senate Executive Committee. Please urge your senator to vote in favor of HB1, which will open much (but not all) of our General Assembly to FOIA, the Freedom of Information Act.
Equal Rights for All—State wide—House Bill 5 (HB5) would make it illegal in Delaware to discriminate based on sexual orientation, for housing, employment, insurance, etc. We are hoping to get 11 senators with a backbone to sign a petition to bring it out of the Senate Executive Committee on June 2nd (or to vote to suspend the rules to bring it out—either way is fine). I hear that nine have already signed. So how can you help?
Right now, go to http://dehb5.heroku.com/, enter your address or nine-digit zip, and you’ll get your senator’s name and phone number, and a sample script to use when you call them, today!
If you are a member of a faith community in Delaware, go to www.towardequality.org, and see if your leader (pastor, rabbi, etc) has already signed the clergy statement of support. If not, ask them to do so.
Equal Rights for All—Newark—There are several equal rights issues before city council. On June 8th, the domestic partner benefit rule change will be discussed (and decided?) at the 7:30pm meeting. At that meeting the most likely rule being decided would provide domestic partners who are city employees the same rights as married couples (funeral/emergency leave, and flexible spending accounts). The council should hear from city residents, employees, and other supportive community members by June 8th.
Prison Reform—House Bill 168 (HB168) was introduced in the house two weeks ago. As with HB1 and HB5, HB168’s purpose has been brought unsuccessfully before the General Assembly several times. We hope that the current makeup of the house and senate will enable us to get this passed. HB168 will repeal mandatory sentences for certain drug offenses, and restore flexibility to the courts. It will permit the judge to determine the best sentence, given the full circumstances.
One of the biggest problems in prison reform is that many past offenders return to prison—there is a high recidivism rate. Governor Markell has issues Executive Order #7, with a broad approach to reduce recidivism. Check out http://governor.delaware.gov/orders/exec_order_7.shtml to learn more.