State Rep. Steve Smyk held his monthly constituent coffee meeting on April 12, speaking with more than two dozen people who joined him in the Delaware State Police Troop 7 Community Room. Here are some of the highlights of that event:
A bill seeking to increase access to abortion drugs was discussed. House Bill 320 would allow physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses in Delaware to prescribe medication for terminating a pregnancy. Specifically, the bill cites the current regime approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) calling for the combined use of the drugs Mifeprex (mifepristone) and misoprostol to end a pregnancy through the first 70 days. The bill cleared the House on a party-line vote, with 25 Democrats supporting the measure and 15 Republicans opposing it. Rep. Smyk said he voted against it based on feedback from constituents. The measure was also approved by the Senate, 14 to 7, along party lines. The legislation now awaits the expected signature of the governor.
Creating the Office of Inspector General. Rep. Smyk briefly touched on a bill seeking to create the Office of Inspector General. The inspector general would be charged with investigating complaints of waste, fraud, abuse, or corruption regarding state employees or state agencies. While some of the meeting participants thought the new agency would be duplicative of the functions of the state auditor and state attorney general, the sponsors of the measure say it would fill an existing gap in coverage. Rep. Smyk is not sponsoring the bill and did not indicate if he would support it.
Resurrecting state background checks for firearm purchases. A proposal is being floated to reinstitute the state system for providing background checks on firearms purchasers. While the State Bureau of Identification had performed this function for many years, it was dropped in a cost-cutting move because of the perception it duplicated a similar federal check. The federal system has since been faulted for its delays and incomplete databases. Rep. Smyk said rebooting the state service could improve public safety by improving access to accurate information.
The Coffee with Steve meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month starting at 7 a.m. Free coffee is provided.