2022 Delaware Legislative Session Preview
DOVER, Del. – The Delaware Legislative session returns in just over a month, and Lawmakers are already getting ready for some major legislation to make its way through.
Police reform, tracking for ARPA and infrastructure funds, voting rights expansion and paid family leave are all on the table. State Representative Bryan Shupe says, with millions of ARPA and Infrastructure plan dollars flooding into Delaware, he sees a bipartisan effort to better record where the money goes and make that information public.
“We want a level of accountability that has never been seen before, this is how we want to set the foundation for the house and senate,” Rep. Bryan Shupe said, adding “There’s not a lot of tracking for this money, I think that’s the first thing we need to tackle; where is this money coming in, how are we using it and how can it be tracked and can the public see where it’s going.”
Rep. Shupe says he predicts bipartisan support for making it easier to vote too, expressing support for the Municipal voting rights act, which would eliminate the need to double register for Delaware elections.
‘If your register to vote in the state of Delaware you do not have to register a second time to vote in your local municipality or election,” Rep. Shupe said.
He says a similar bill, HB75, that would have expanded mail-in voting failed the last session, but Shupe believes it could come back, if the rules for mail-in-ballots are amended, and set in accordance to the Delaware State Constitution, as opposed to being set by the majority party.
For Paid Family Leave, Delaware has an opportunity to run ahead of the federal government, which recently removed paid family leave from the Bi-partisan infrastructure package before it was passed. Rep. Shupe tells us, he is hearing from his constituents that businesses need state dollars to help pay for multiple weeks of employees being out due to life-changing circumstances like illness, and childbirth.
“They would like to see a partnership with the state, a public-private partnership, where the state puts in an investment as well so the burden inst only on the employers and the owners but is taken up by the state of Delaware as well,” he said.
“Paid leave is going to be a huge discussion, Senator McBride has been advocating for paid leave and right now I think the bill has very good intentions,” Shupe said.
Also on the table, LEOBOR, the law enforcement officers bill of rights reform bill SB149, sponsored by Senator Elizabeth Lockman. She tells us that the larger scope of making law enforcement officers conduct no longer sealed is popular, but negotiations still persist on what documents would need to be disclosed, and the scope of civilian review boards that would oversee them.
“We want to bring records to light we’ve just been negotiating around which ones and how and the other piece which is the community review boards we are not dictating how they must be set up we are giving local communities the ability to have them,” she said.
Shupe tells us he’s encouraged by lawmakers reaching across the aisle to get bills passed, and he’s optimistic concessions on both sides will get bills out of the committee and on to Governor Carney’s desk.
“Voting rights for sure, and some of the others paid family leave and police reform are gonna be slower but the conversations will keep going,” Shupe said.
The legislative session is set to begin on January 11th.