Week 2

This is Week 2 in the Legislative Session. Both chambers were closed Tuesday for inclement weather but reopened on Wednesday.

Governor Carney’s State of the State address this afternoon has been postponed, but I do have a few updates for you. Here are a few notes from the end of last week:

Governor Carney was joined last Thursday in the Legislature by groups like the Delaware Anti-Trafficking Action Council and ZOE Ministries to commemorate the signing of HCR 77, recognizing January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month. The resolution brings attention to the incredible statistics surrounding the horror of human trafficking.

A handful of resolutions were passed, HCR 77 to recognize January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month, SCR 107 recognizing MLK on January 15th in the House, and the Senate passing SR 17 to bring “awareness to the devastation caused by firearm violence.” As a reminder, resolutions are not the same as the bills that carry teeth of law. Resolutions are a collective statement from the members of the chamber where they are passed.

The three resolutions mentioned above weren’t the only ones passed on Thursday, but let’s focus on HCR 77.

HCR 77 made several statistical claims regarding human trafficking, but here are two that I want to point out for their greater meaning:

  • “Since 2020, there has been an 125% increase of recruitment into Human Trafficking through Facebook and a 95% increase of recruitment on Instagram;” and
    • Social media is something our children have access to every day. While you may have parental guards on the television they can access at home, the only way to ensure that they are not consuming inappropriate or potentially grooming material on social media is to aggressively monitor, limit, and even eliminate their overall screen access.
  • “96% of victims of police-reported Human Trafficking are women and girls, and 81% of persons accused of Human Trafficking are male.”
    • Statistics over and over show us the truth of science that males and females are different. Females are the most vulnerable to experiencing violence, especially when it is sexual. It is such reasons that make it a need of the state to do what it can to protect the more vulnerable female, especially in innately vulnerable spaces such as restrooms and locker rooms.

These little tidbits are nuggets to hold onto, that will serve as references for arguments in other bills.

Additional Bills Watched:

  • SS 1 for SB 106 – Sen. Kyle Evans Gay (PASSED): In an attempt to “modernize” the definition of maternal depression.
    • In doing so, they removed all references to “mother” to be “person” and traded “maternal depression” for “perinatal mood and anxiety disorder.” In short, they removed the gender-specific language. They erased women. A
    • All Republican Senators voted against the bill in 2023, a couple even making statements regarding the need to not erase women. In the House today, only Rep. Rich Collins voted against the bill. It is now awaiting Gov. Carney’s signature.
  • HB 276 – Rep. Pete Scwartzkopf (In Senate Committee): Altering the crime of “possession of a firearm in a Safe Recreation Zone” to “possession of a weapon in a Safe Recreation Zone.”
    • This is an aggregated offense, meaning that it is a way to make the sentencing more intense on top of another criminal offense.
    • A previous bill on this issue caused an issue with retired police officers not being allowed to carry within these zones, even if they were hired to do just that. It is not uncommon for bills for the so-called ‘gun control’ to have negative effects. Such negative effects are often pointed out by conservative members of the Legislature, but ignored.

There are often pieces of legislation intended to discuss and address a particular issue, but make several claims and points that are worth noting for other areas. The legislation mentioned today are great examples of that. In recognizing the horror of human trafficking, HCR 77 manages to point out truths about gender differences, the harms of social media, etc. Though agreed upon on HCR 77, the differences of women were ignored in SB 106 by removing the uniqueness of women from the equation.

Here’s something to hold on to and remember. Absolute truths have a way of getting a subconscious agreement, even when they would do everything in their power to avoid it. That is because the truth is the truth, end of story.

 

Nandi Randolph
Policy Analyst

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