Governor’s Weekly Message Transcript: STEM Council Aids Students in Competing for Global Jobs

During some particularly challenging times these last few years, our state has made clear – again and again – that whether it was meeting the challenge of the federal race to the top contest, or trying to reopen the shuttered refinery at Delaware City, or tackling rapidly rising pension and health care costs, or putting our state back on the path to financial stability – Delawareans come together to fight alongside each other FOR things that matter, instead of AGAINST each other over trivial issues.

But I can’t imagine a more pressing challenge than the global war for talent and jobs that’s currently under way. I had a chance to talk with the CEO of the Gallup Company recently, who said there are said there are 3 billion people in the world looking for work, and only 1.2 billion jobs available. It is truly a global competition for jobs.

And in a report on what the fastest growing companies in the world looked for first and foremost when it came to how and where they decide to invest, the top factor they mentioned again and again was the talent and training of the available workforce – which is so dependent on great public schools.

Specifically, the high-wage, high potential jobs of the future depend on the strength of education in what are called STEM subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Last year, we convened a STEM Council to take a look at how we can be more competitive in this area.
It was a great example of how Delaware pulls together – business leaders, educators, researchers – even its co-Chair and former Senator Ted Kaufman. These community leaders donated thousands of hours of time to create a strong series of recommendations on how we can better prepare our kids for the future. You can find the report at stem.delaware.gov.

But their work, and ours, does not end with that report. They’ve committed to keep working, to help kids get to work when they graduate.

Because it is critical to our national and economic interest that we own STEM innovation in the future as thoroughly as we owned mechanical innovation in the past.

It’s our obligation to Delaware’s future leaders that we equip them with the tools, networks and opportunities that STEM can offer them, so that the unlimited potential you can sense in this place and in these kids will truly lead our state, and nation, forward.


State Launches Month-Long Awareness Effort to Stop Child Abuse

(WILMINGTON, Del.) – Governor Jack Markell and Secretary Vivian Rapposelli of the Delaware Children’s Department joined community partners, child advocates and legislators this afternoon to formally launch a statewide, month-long awareness campaign to stop child abuse in Delaware. Coinciding with April as National Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month, the efforts will focus on encouraging citizens to recognize the signs of abuse and promoting the 24-hour child abuse and neglect report line number people should call to report suspected cased of abuse or neglect.

The campaign includes billboards in English and Spanish, which are located throughout the state, as well as radio advertisements that will be broadcast on several Delmarva Broadcasting Company stations.

“Child abuse is far too common,” said Governor Markell. “No child should ever be subject to violence, terror, fear or pain. We all have a responsibility to protect our children.”

The campaign is being sponsored by the Child Protection Accountability Commission and the Child Death, Near Death and Stillbirth Commission’s Mandatory Reporting Outreach Subcommittee. The group includes representation from the Delaware Department of Justice, Delaware Children’s Department, Children’s Advocacy Center of Delaware, Children & Families First, Office of the Child Advocate, Prevent Child Abuse Delaware and Child Death, Near Death & Stillbirth Commission. A “Protecting Delaware’s Children” charitable fund has been established to fund this initiative, and ongoing outreach efforts, through the Delaware Community Foundation.

Last year in Delaware, over 14,000 reports of child abuse, neglect, and dependency were received by the Division of Family Services. Sadly, research shows that as much as 75% of incidents of child abuse go unreported.

“Our children are our future – our responsibility,” said Secretary Rapposelli. “We hope our efforts to raise awareness will make an impact on our communities and encourage people to be more proactive in helping to keep our children safe.”

The Delaware Children’s Department provides services to children who have been abused, neglected, abandoned, dependent, or have behavioral health or substance abuse problems, and/or have be adjudicated delinquent by the Courts.

To report suspected child abuse or neglect, call the 24-hour Report Line: 1-800-292-9582. For more information, please visit www.ISeeTheSigns.org or www.kids.delaware.gov


Gov. Markell, Speaker Gilligan, President Pro Tem DeLuca Unveil Delaware Elections Disclosure Act

Bill would close loophole, enhance disclosure and require prompt reporting of PAC spending on ads or mailings

(DOVER, Del.) – House Speaker Robert F. Gilligan, Senate President Pro Tem Anthony J. DeLuca and Governor Jack Markell today announced two bills to reform and modernize Delaware’s election laws.  If passed, the Delaware Elections Disclosure Act and a companion bill would represent the most significant update of the state’s election disclosure laws since 1990.

The Delaware Elections Disclosure Act would close a loophole under existing law by requiring prompt reporting of third-party spending on advertisements during an election season, including “electioneering communications” that try to influence voters in the days before they go to the polls.

The Act would also enhance disclaimer requirements for third parties, i.e.,  not candidates or political parties, who buy election ads, and would require these ads to include a statement that additional information about the purchasing party may be found on the Commissioner of Elections’ web site. The prime sponsor of the Act is Rep. Gilligan, with Sen. DeLuca serving as lead sponsor in the Senate.

“Delaware’s existing election disclosure laws were adopted in 1990.  Since then, we’ve seen big increases in third-party spending on elections and major changes in how the Constitution has been interpreted with regards to campaign spending.  Our laws have not kept pace,” said Governor Markell.  “We need to make sure that Delaware voters get all the information they need about who is trying to influence their vote.  This legislation will close a loophole in our state’s campaign finance laws, will increase transparency, and will help ensure that voters receive timely information about where PAC spending comes from and how it is spent.”

Rep. Gilligan said that in recent years, groups have skirted the state’s campaign finance laws by taking out so-called “issue advocacy” ads.

“When Delawareans hear a radio ad, see a TV commercial or pull a campaign ad out of their mailbox, they deserve to know who is behind the ad – and they deserve to know it before they cast their vote,” said Rep. Gilligan. “In an age of transparency and openness, this is common-sense legislation. If someone wants to advocate for or against a candidate, that is their right. But it is time to draw this type of campaigning out of the shadows.”

Bill sponsor and Senate President Pro Tem Anthony DeLuca, D-Newark said that “some of the most damning attack ads against candidates come from PACs and other outside groups that have been able to hide behind loopholes in the election laws to stay anonymous. This legislation updates existing laws by requiring immediate reporting of all campaign ads purchased by PACs or other third parties and the identification of a responsible party for large contributions by PACs and other entities.”

James Browning, Regional Director of Common Cause, supports the proposal.  “The great danger of Citizens United is that a few deep-pocketed interests can now flood a particular race of a particular state with unlimited and often undisclosed political expenditures,” said Browning. “Gov. Markell’s proposals will significantly strengthen Delaware’s campaign finance laws, and make it much easier for people to follow the political money.”

“Given the amount of special interest money we are seeing in state elections across the nation, it is crucial to pass this legislation and let the sun shine,” said Mimi Marziani, counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law.

The Delaware Elections Disclosure Act would:

  • Require reporting of all campaign ads, not just ads that “expressly advocate” for the election or defeat of a candidate.  Under current law, persons who buy ads that are not coordinated with any candidate (known as “independent expenditures”) must file disclosure reports, but only if the ads expressly advocate for the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate.  That means that persons who buy ads that do not use “magic words” such as “vote for Candidate X” or similar phrases are not required to file reports. The Act would close that loophole by requiring reporting of “electioneering communications” – that is, campaign ads that refer to a clearly identified candidate and are distributed within 30 days before a primary or special election or 60 days before a general election – in the same manner as other ads.
  • Require prompt reporting of all campaign ads purchased by political action committees or other third parties during the campaign season. To ensure that voters know who is behind a campaign ad in the critical days before an election or primary, the Act would require any person (other than a candidate or political party) who spends $500 or more on campaign ads during an election period to file a disclosure report within 24 hours.
  • Requires third-party ads to include a reference to the Commissioner of Elections website, as well as a “Paid For By…” disclaimer. The Act would require all third-party ads having a fair market value of $500 or more to include the following statement: “Learn more about [name of person] at [Commissioner of Elections’ web address].” By informing voters that they can review the campaign finance reports filed by the entity or person who placed the ad, this message will help voters make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and messages.  The Act includes a “Paid For By…” disclaimer requirement consistent with U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
  • Require the identification of a “responsible party” for large contributions by PACs, corporations and other entities. The bill would enhance disclosure requirements by requiring reports to include the name and address of one responsible party – that is, a person who exercises  direction or control over the activities of the entity – for any non-individual donor that contributes more than $1,200 in an election cycle.  In addition, the bill would enhance and clarify the information required to be disclosed by political committees when filing Statements of Organization, including any candidates the committee intends to support or oppose.

The proposals set forth in the Act benefitted from input from Common Cause, the Brennan Center for Justice, and the State Commissioner of Elections.  The Act would become effective in June 2013 to allow time for system upgrades and the promulgation of regulations governing the disclosures, electronic filing requirements and procedures for eliminating duplicative paperwork.

A separate bill would increase the penalties for filing late reports from $50 per month to $50 per day.  In addition, it would clarify that a person cannot be held criminally liable for filing a late report.


OHS Urges Motorcylists to Respect Your Ride and to Ride Safe and Ride Smart After Three Motorcycle Fatalities In One Week

Dover –  The first motorcycle fatality of the year occurred in Dover on April 2nd and was quickly followed by a double motorcycle fatality in Newark on April 4th.   According to Police reports, excessive speeding, no driver’s license (no motorcycle rider training), and failure to yield are factors in these crashes.  The Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is urging motorcyclists to Respect Your Ride by ensuring they have the motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s license, slow down, and operate their bikes defensively in order to prevent further needless loss of life.

OHS is also urging drivers of passenger and commercial vehicles to be on the lookout for, and share the road with, the increased motorcycle traffic on Delaware roadways.  Motorists should look twice before pulling out into an intersection and check your mirrors before changing lanes for motorcyclists. Police agencies will continue motorcycle enforcement in April, June, July, August, and into September, including Delmarva Bike Week Sept 13-17.

Increased public awareness efforts as part of OHS’s Respect Your Ride motorcycle safety awareness campaign includes placing billboards, 60 second radio ads, and online ads targeting both motorists and motorcyclists with “Share the Road” & “Respect Your Ride” messages throughout the state.

Officers from nine State and local police agencies conducted stepped up traffic enforcement patrols as part of the first of 6 waves of enforcement for the motorcycle safety campaign Respect Your Ride. More than half of the citations were for speed violations.  The enforcement effort, aimed at preventing traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities ran from March 23 to April 1.  The next wave of enforcement will begin April 13th.

Officers issued 114 citations for speeding, 23 seat belt citations, 2 failure to stop at signal/sign, recovered 1 stolen vehicle, apprehended 2 wanted persons, and issued 39 other traffic citations that included 1 citation for no eye protection (cyclists), and 1 for no motorcycle license endorsement.

Both locally and nationally, the number of registered motorcycles has been steadily increasing in the last few years.  In Delaware, motorcycle deaths have also been on the rise since 2001, and hit an all time high in 2005 when 21 motorcyclists died in crashes.  Though that number dropped by almost half in 2006, it rose again in 2007, when 17 cyclists were killed and again in 2011 when 18 cyclists were killed.

When the motorcyclist is at fault in a crash, it is often the result of speed, alcohol use, lack of training or inattentive driving.  Surprising to many people, the average age of motorcyclists killed in crashes is 46, not a younger operator.  When the driver of a passenger vehicle is at fault it is often because of inattentive driving, following too closely, or making a left turn into the path of the motorcyclist saying, “I didn’t see him/her.”

Motorcyclists are much more vulnerable than passenger vehicle drivers in the event of a crash.  Research shows that approximately 80 percent of motorcycle crashes injure or kill a motorcycle rider, while only 20 percent of passenger car crashes injure or kill a driver or passenger in their vehicle.

OHS is offering the following safety tips for both motorists and motorcycle operators:

Motorcyclists

  • Follow posted speed limits and keep all wheels on the ground at all times
  • Do not try to share a lane with a vehicle, stay in your own
  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic;
  • Never drink and ride
  • Watch out for loose sand, gravel, debris, and uneven and textured surfaces
  • Do not pass on the shoulder
  • Suit up for Safety – wear not only a helmet, but also appropriate eye gear, long sleeves, over the ankle boots and reflective material when riding at night
  • Keep your skills up to date by signing up for a DMV Motorcycle Training Course, either beginner or advanced

Motorists:

  • Always make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections;
  • Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width;
  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic;
  • Allow more following distance, three or four sec­onds, when following a motorcycle, so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emer­gency; Never tailgate.

 

For more information on the Motorcycle Training Courses visit www.MotorcycleSafetyDE.org.


Governor’s Weekly Message: Make Government More Transparent Through Lobbying Reform Bill


DOVER – In his weekly message, Governor Jack Markell talks about new legislation that would improve government transparency and citizens’ access to information by requiring that lobbyists specifically report on each piece of legislation, each area of the budget or the bond bill, or each proposed state agency regulation that they are lobbying to change and who they are talking with to try and make those changes. The Governor joined lead sponsor Senate President Pro Tempore Tony DeLuca, House Speaker Bob Gilligan and a bipartisan group of legislators this week to introduce Senate Bill 185.

“Former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said, ‘Sunlight is the best disinfectant,’ and that’s as true today as it was when he first said it,” Markell said. “Over the last several years, we’ve taken a number of important steps in Delaware to let the sunshine in so that the people of Delaware can have real knowledge of how laws are made and put together, and how regulations are proposed and enacted.”

Every Friday, the Governor’s office releases a new Weekly Message in video, audio, and transcript form.  The message is available on:

YouTube: http://youtu.be/bWc5oQp1mwc
Delaware.Gov: http://governor.delaware.gov/information/podcast_video.shtml
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Transcript for the Governor’s Weekly Message: Make Government More Transparent Through Lobbying Reform Bill