Del. lawmakers gear up for final day of session Sunday
DOVER, Del. – Delaware state lawmakers are just one day away from finishing up for the 2019 legislative session. Over the past six months, there have been several bills that have made it to the Governor’s desk and ones that haven’t.
But Sen. Brian Pettyjohn explains, “There’s still a lot of work to be done.”
That’s the mentality many local Delaware lawmakers are taking on as they gear up for the final day of legislative session Sunday.
“The budgetary bills are the most important ones and I think that everybody is going to agree with that nothing matters unless you have a stable economy,” explains Rep. Steve Smyk.
It’s a statement no one is arguing with and luckily those bills are well on their way to getting the green light before session ends.
Sen. Ernie Lopez explains, “The budget was signed at the second earliest time in Delaware history. It’s already been signed by the governor and gone through both chambers of the General Assembly. The capital bond bill was passed last night in the Delaware State Senate and now it’s over in the House.”
“The only major bill that’s left to do is the grant in aid bill which helps our nonprofits within Delaware and we’re expected to get that on Sunday,” says Sen. Pettyjohn.
So while the money bills seem to be on a good track, there are several pieces of legislation like minimum wage and criminal justice reform that lawmakers are definitely concerned about.
“There’s still a lot of legislation out there you know we have things like minimum wage we have the gun bills that are out there we have a bill that was circulating yesterday that would end up raising electricity rates for everybody in Delaware,” adds Pettyjohn.
Rep. Ruth Briggs King says, “I’m always very concerned about suspending rules on a Sunday when the public may not even know what we’re going to be voting on or the stakeholders may not know.”
But if there’s one thing lawmakers can agree on, no one can predict what will happen on the last day of session.
“On the last day of session we have to be very aware of what’s going on you know we have to keep our eyes open just so that nothing gets left in there that we don’t realize we’re voting on.”
Lawmakers are due back in session this Sunday afternoon and a gun rally is set to take place outside of Legislative Hall from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
But before any of that happens, the House is going to have to dive into the $863 million capital budget that passed in the Senate Thursday night.
It’s a piece of legislation that funds major capital improvement projects such as construction and transportation, with a $46 million hike from the current capital budget.
In it right now, there’s thousands of dollars going towards Sussex County projects like $400,000 to the Cheer Community Center for a new kitchen.
Sen. Pettyjohn explains, “We have funded the rest of the Sussex Consortium that’s being built as well as started the funding for Howard T. Ennis school. It’s going to be built across from the existing Sussex Central High School between Georgetown and Millsboro.”
Lawmakers were able to increase funds to Carney’s proposed budget because revenue projections increased significantly since last June, climbing by about $217 million for this year and $100 million for next year.