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HB13 – The GA gets to play with Settlement Money

House Bill 13 feels like it is unnecessary. The Act itself states that it’s purpose is to reaffirm the Constitutional requirement that the General Assembly appropriate money belonging to the General Fund and that settlement monies received by the state or a state agency as a result of lawsuits are to be part of the General Fund. In other words, only the General Assembly can decide what to do with settlement money, not the Attorney General or the Governor. So this bill is an exclamation point to reassert the authority of the General Assembly.

Where is the bill now? House Administration as of 12-13-2018

Democratic Sponsors: Kowalko, Walsh, Sokola, Brady

Republican Sponsors: Lawson, Ramone

Yes Votes:

No Votes:

2 comments on “HB13 – The GA gets to play with Settlement Money

  1. You may want to check your facts. Two years ago Matt Denn’s office illegally disbursed $8 million in settlement money that was not used for the purposes stated in the settlement agreement. He did it without an assenting vote from the General Assembly. The Joint Finance Committee also spent $1.5 million of that same settlement money without a vote of the entire GA. Taxpayer money cannot be disbursed/allocated without a vote of acquiescence from the GA. This is a right of the Legislature, constitutionally guaranteed under Delaware law. When I challenged this taxpayer money distribution without a legislatively affirmed vote I was told by Mr. Denn and the DOJ that they would not give me an opinion on the legality of their (and the JFC’s) actions in this matter and refused (as the law requires) to assign me a “conflict counsel” to take the matter to court. Hence the need for this bill to clarify spending authority of taxpayer monies currently relegated to an affirmative vote of the “entire” House and Senate. In drafting this legislation regard was given to the many exemptions in Delaware Law that allow access to various settlement monies by current agencies including the AG’s office. Since I could not personally afford an attorney and the AG’s office refused my (and a sitting Senator’s) numerous written requests for representation in this matter (to have a court decision rendered) I decided to clarify more specifically the existing constitutional law and provisions. Nothing has been or will be changed from current law regarding appropriations (nor the exempted categories when agencies can spend settlement money that currently exist in numerous sections of Delaware code. This bill, when passed, will merely ensure that this type of unilateral action by any agency, including the JFC (without a concurring vote of the full body of the GA) will not unlawfully appropriate or dispense taxpayer money violating and abridging the “Separation of Powers” that are constitutionally guaranteed in Delaware. If you want to discuss the details that provoked this legislation my cell is 302 547 9351.

    Representative John Kowalko

    • Delaware Dem

      Understood. The reason I said this bill seems unnecessary is because I assumed the proper recourse was litigation. I was unaware that your efforts there were rebuffed. Thank you for the information.

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