Guns, Vote by Mail, and Dredging Among Topics Discussed at Coffee Meeting
Approximately two dozen people joined State Rep. Rich Collins for his latest monthly constituent coffee meeting yesterday morning.
Here is a recap of some of the highlights:
Vote by Mail Law
Senate Bill 320 (as amended) allows any registered voter to request a mail-in ballot from the Department of Elections. The ballots can either be requested through a written application or done online through the state’s iVote system. Voters will be required to provide their state-issued driver’s license number, state-issued nondriver identification card number, or the last 4 digits of their Social Security number on the ballot application and on the ballot envelope. The dispute over the bill mainly revolves around its constitutionality. Opponents, including Rep. Collins, say the state constitution specifically bars mail-in voting, except for limited absentee voting. Proponents claim another provision of the state constitution gives the General Assembly broad authority to change voting laws by simple statute. Two lawsuits have been filed against the statute with court action expected later this month.
Sussex Water Quality
Water quality issues were discussed, including nitrate contamination of well and surface water from various sources. Nitrates can come from animal waste, excessive use of fertilizers, failing septic systems, and improper waste disposal. With a long agricultural history, parts of Sussex County are known to have higher than acceptable levels of nitrates.
Ban on Many Semi-Automatic Firearms
On June 30, Governor John Carney signed House Bill 450 (as amended), prohibiting the manufacture, sale, transport, and possession of more than 60 specific makes and models of semi-automatic rifles, pistols, and shotguns labeled by the bill’s authors as “assault weapons.” Additionally, language added to the bill through an amendment appears to ban a broad range of semi-automatic centerfire rifles capable of accepting detachable magazines and which also have other cosmetic or functional features. (To read the complete law click here. Once on the page, scroll down to “Final/Engrossed” and view the pdf document. Text that is struck through was removed from the Code by the new law. Text that is underlined was added to the Code by the new law.)
Rep. Collins criticized the state’s dredging operations in the Inland Bays area as ineffectual. He said the condition of the Indian River provides an especially good example of the chronic shoaling throughout the region. Rep. Collins said the upper section of the river at low tide is one large mud flat and that state environmental officials lack the will to do what is needed to restore the waterway to navigability. “Until we reform a system that gives all the power to state agencies over elected officials, we’re not going to solve this,” he said.
State Rep. Rich Collins holds his monthly constituent coffee meetings on the first Wednesday of the month at the Indian River Senior Center in Millsboro starting at 8 a.m. Free coffee. All are welcome.