The General Assembly returns

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Good afternoon,

The Delaware General Assembly convenes today.

Legislators still have the wind at their back as fears of a national recession fade and revenue estimates seem to be moving upward.

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We could see  less controversy  over a  state budget that is likely  to grow above the  rate of inflation.

One potential cloud  comes from a  Delaware unemployment rate that  has  risen  from a 30-year low.  Until the figure rises above four percent, joblessness will not be a major issue.

Rising employee health care costs remain an issue.  When you add in teachers,  state government is the largest single employer in Delaware.

Legalization of recreational marijuana and a $15 minimum wage is likely to be   debated.

Chances  appear to be  slim  for legalization to make headway, even in an election year.  No adjacent state has approved full legalization.  But don’t count out the  well-organized coalition of pro-legalization supporters.

The minimum wage hike will get more serious consideration. Both marijuana  legalization and the higher base wage are believed to be favored by a majority of Delaware voters.

Here’s hoping we can see more bipartisanship on sometimes contentious issues  in the upcoming session.

As noted in a post in this newsletter, one promising  sign came with state Sen. Gerald Hocker, R-Ocean View,  proposed moving firearms background  checks back to the state from the feds. Hocker argues that other states have found  federal checks to be too lenient.

Also, Rep. Mike Smith, R-Newark, has proposed live streaming of  the legislative session and hearings.  I would take things a step further and suggest more evening hearings as a way to spur citizen participation, even if it adds a few nights of hotel bills.

Have a productive day. If this newsletter was passed along,  sign up here for your own  free subscription – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.

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