Tonight, I witnessed the death of a dream. That our Delaware House of Representatives would finally do the right thing for our children. Delaware State Representative John Kowalko brought back House Bill 50 tonight, the Delaware opt out bill that overwhelmingly passed the Delaware House and Senate a year ago. Delaware Governor Jack Markell vetoed the bill less than a month later. The last time the House considered this bill was for an override of the Governor’s veto on January 14th. Kowalko received bad information from the House Attorney on how to present a veto override. He was told he had to have a suspension of rules prior to a vote on the reconsideration. I can’t speak to the lack of knowledge or the reason this attorney gave bad advice to Kowalko. I do know House Attorney’s are not employed by the State, but retained from law firms. But Kowalko found out it was not necessary with carefully vetted research into veto override attempts in Delaware. He brought up what is known as a Parliamentary Inquiry to the House tonight. Had he been able to explain how the legal advice given to him by someone who is supposed to know House Rules and Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure in the event a situation is not covered by House Rules, the House would have understood what he was doing. The Delaware House could have voted on the reconsideration of the Governor’s veto back in January without a suspension of rules.
Instead, what we got was Val Longhurst and Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf turning it into a power play and putting forth a point of order motion. It was a trap, probably planned ahead of time since Kowalko told the House Attorney he would be requesting the Parliamentary Inquiry. He had a representative lined up to second the motion for the Parliamentary Inquiry. As Kowalko brought it up, Longhurst interrupted Kowalko while he was speaking and stated House Bill 50 was not on the agenda. Kowalko knew this and stated he was talking about a Parliamentary Inquiry. Schwartzkopf said Kowalko was out of order even requesting a Parliamentary Inquiry, which Kowalko challenged. Kowalko appealed Schwartzkopf’s point of order. Val Longhurst seconded it, said “Oh shit” (nice conduct of an elected official during a legislative session) and then retracted her second as the floor of the General Assembly burst into laughter as Schwartzkopf said “Jiminy Christmas” and said the motion was dead. Gavel went down, case closed. But is it? By denying an elected official the ability to request a parliamentary inquiry under the guise of a point of order given while the elected official was speaking which had nothing to do with the matter at hand could be ruled as illegal.
Once again, we have Democrat leadership in the House who don’t know the policies of the floor they are supposed to govern. They have committed themselves to a lame-duck governor at the expense of our high-stakes tested children. There are good legislators in Legislative Hall, but the vast majority are in it for themselves and don’t know what they are doing except how to put forth legislation from corporate lobbyists or to further their own careers.
Prior to Kowalko’s motion, the House had just voted on a very emotional budget bill. It passed, but eight voted no. Some voted no who have voted before, but State Reps. Stephanie Bolden and Charles Potter voted no due to the lack of funding for the WEIC redistricting plan and the Senate’s refusal to move forward with the legislation. Even State Rep. Miro, who voted yes on the budget, gave a well-intentioned speech about how the state is not doing well economically and it will be worse next year. Kowalko objected to the budget after he filed an amendment to take the charter school transportation slush fund out of the budget. The amendment failed but eight voted yes. Which fell in line with the budget vote, 31 yes, 8 no, and 2 absent.
I firmly believe our state needs a serious fiscal and ethical investigation by the Federal government into where every single penny of our state funds are going and who is profiting off of shady backroom deals. They need to start with Governor Jack Markell and work their way down through the House, the Senate, the DOE, vendors, school districts, charter schools, the auditor’s office, the treasurer’s office, the Department of Health and Social Services, and pretty much everywhere anyone gets funds from the State of Delaware.
Our children are used as guinea pigs. We see it from Sokola, the DOE, Markell, Schwartzkopf, Longhurst, Melanie Smith, McDowell and others. Godowsky puts on another face constantly. He tries to save face with the Governor when he knows the stuff they are pedaling out of his building is absolute crap. None of these people care about kids. Not a single damn one of them. I’ve tried to deal with the legislators in Legislative Hall. I’ve tried to reach out to some of them in good faith. They don’t respond. Those that do know who they are and I know you are trying your best, but when the majority is corrupt, the whole building is. I see many of you get upset when good bills that will truly help the children of Delaware go nowhere. Our DOE is not a State Agency. It is a collection of education reformers and lobbyists, selling our children out to the highest bidders. A great deal of the legislation passed in Delaware for education allows them to do this.
When a State Representative votes against a budget because of the rampant corruption in our state, they are a hero. They are not unpatriotic. If patriotism is following orders and never questioning anything and allowing children to suffer while you remain in power Rep. Melanie Smith, then you may want to look at what the patriots who founded this country actually did so you could hold elected office. You allow a great deal of bills that go through that will only please corporations at the expense of the citizens of Delaware. Tonight, I was ashamed to say I live in Delaware. Everything the other legislators said about the budget was from the heart, not quotes from books or a Tedx talks speech. It is a legislator’s responsibility to pass a good budget, not a bad one. This was a bad budget. You can do all the glad-handling and take the applause for getting it passed, but it is still filled with pork. You know it, and I know it. We all know it. We know who this budget truly serves, and it is not in the best interest of children or the citizens of the state who by your own admission deserve more.
For someone who wants what is best for Delaware, why have you, Pete Schwartzkopf, consistently gone with the Governor’s wishes and not the will of the people. You are the Speaker of the House. It isn’t your House. It is ours. The people of the state. Until you learn that valuable lesson, you will continue to be called Sneaky Pete all over the state until your time is done. Because you refuse to find out the answer concerning how the State Representatives would vote on the override of Markell’s veto, you are not a friend to parents in the state of Delaware.