Del. Legislative roundup: Senate passes budget

    The Senate approves the state’s operating budget. The $3.3 billion plan still needs to be approved by the House and the governor on the last day of the legislative session.

    The state Senate has passed Delaware’s $3.3 billion budget for fiscal year 2011, the day before a balanced budget is due.

    It passed by a 16-4 vote with one absent.

    The budget still needs approval from the House and then a signature from the governor.

    The Senate vote on the second-to-last-day of the session is considered to be a bit early. The budget vote almost always happens on the final day of the session, at times in the early-morning hours of the day after.

    The new fiscal year begins July 1st.

    More patient bills headed to governor

    The state Senate also passed three more bills aimed at protecting Delaware’s youngest patients.

    The three House bills now go to the governor for his signature.

    The entire package of patient protection bills was introduced three weeks ago in response to the case of Dr. Earl Bradley, a former Lewes pediatrician charged with sexually assaulting more than 100 patients over more than a decade.

    So far, six of the bills have easily cleared both the House and the Senate.

    One of the bills passed Tuesday requires doctors, police and prosecutors to undergo training on recognizing and reporting child abuse. Another requires doctors to be fingerprinted every 10 years.

    The third measure requires doctors to notify the medical licensing board within 30 days of any investigation that could affect their authorization to practice medicine.

    House approves FOIA amendment

    The state House has unanimously approved a bill giving Delawareans more help in seeking records from state agencies under the Freedom of Information Act.

    The bill approved Tuesday allows a citizen to seek an opinion from the attorney general’s office if a request for records is denied. If the chief deputy attorney general determines that an agency should have produced the records and it still refuses to do so, the attorney general’s office will not represent the agency in any lawsuit.

    Plan would reduce Gross Receipts Tax

    State legislators unveiled a plan to help companies doing business in Delaware by reducing the state’s Gross Receipts Tax.

    The move would be funded by savings from shrinking the state’s workforce by approximately 500 jobs, through attrition, beginning July 2010.

    The legislation would cut the tax on gross receipt sales of Delaware businesses by 6.7 percent across the board. The savings to companies doing business in Delaware would be $13 million.

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