It’s January and state legislators are back in the business of the state’s ... well, business.
While state officials have a busy slate of items on their agendas each year, this is a particularly interesting legislative session for this community. Between environmental concerns, employer obligations and road-improvement work, people from this area should keep a steady eye on what’s happening in Dover this year.
Many of the businesses in this area are privately-owned. It’s part of what gives this community the small-town flavor it so enjoys. Currently, the state of Delaware has the fourth-highest rates in the nation in regards to workman’s compensation, according to Rep. Gerald Hocker. That creates a huge cost for employers in this area, and can affect how many employees a business hires — putting a stress on employment opportunities for workers. A plan to reform workman’s comp should be put up for vote this year, and it will be interesting to see how legislators vote.
As for environmental concerns, two ideas for alternative energy are making their rounds, and they both have huge impact for our area. NRG — the company that owns the Indian River Power Plant — is proposing a coal-burning plant. Now, coal is one form of energy we have in spades in this nation, but it does not have a reputation as burning cleanly. The other plan is for windfarms off the coast to generate power. This obviously does not contain the same environmental risks as coal does, but there are questions about the aesthetics of the windfarms as seen from the beach, as well as the total efficiency the project.
As for our local roads project, where do we begin? For two straight years, the project seemed imminent, only to be pulled away from us at the last second. Is this the year we finally see much-needed work done on Route 26? Or, will something else arise in the 11th hour to condemn us to another year of static traffic during summer months?
So, yes, this is most definitely a legislative season worth watching for this community, and we’ll keep an eye out for everything for you.
Schools will be closed on Monday, Jan. 15 in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and here’s hoping the students use that time to educate themselves about the man and his legacy. In a time of unrest, he was the calm. In a nation filled with hate, he was full of love. We could use his influence today.