Delaware lawmakers: State budget is top priority before session ends
DELAWARE – In Delaware, members of the General Assembly are heading back to work virtually instead of in person. Lawmakers say they have a few things they need to wrap up before the session ends on June 30th.
“As legislators we need to be turning our attention to focusing on the economic health of our state,” says Senator Ernie Lopez, a republican representing Delaware’s 6th District.
The second half of Delaware’s 150th legislative session will reconvene virtually during the last week of May.
“We’re going to stick to things that are going to be non-controversial that we don’t have to through the technology have a lot of debate on,” says Senator Brian Pettyjohn, a republican representing Delaware’s 19th District.
But given the current state of things and a limited time frame, elected officials say they won’t be focusing on new legislation. “We will mainly be meeting for the purpose of getting a budget, getting our capital expenditures and the grant in aid bills allocated,” says republican Representative Ruth Briggs King, for Delaware’s 37th District.
Arguably one of the most important tasks is passing a budget by June 30th and making current finances work in the meantime. “There’s some money to be realized that we may be able to revert back to the state and use to get us through June 30th and other areas. So we’ll be looking at that but we will also be looking at ways to make the budget for next year with less money,” says Briggs King.
Lawmakers say although they haven’t been in session since March, they’ve still been advocating and working for Delawareans. “From a state side, a lot of what we’ve had top do is constituent services in terms of making sure that people know what they need to do in order to get the help that’s available to them out there,” says Pettyjohn.
While there has been financial assistance on the federal level, elected officials say they are also figuring out how that can be sustained on a more local level. “So right now with the economic impact being so negative on Delawareans and businesses we need to start turning out attention to ensure that relief is there especially for our small businesses as we go into the summer season which is such an economic driver for our state,” says Lopez.
Legislators also talked about addressing grant in aid bills which help fund nonprofits in the state including services that may be more important now than ever. On the Senate side of things, they will also be confirming gubernatorial appointments within the cabinet as well as their judiciary.
The House will reconvene on Tuesday, May 26th and the Senate on May 27th. They say they are also working on ways to make sure the public can engage with the virtually during the session.