General Assembly Vote Tracker

SB8 and SB48 – A pair of labor bills pass Senate

What is with all the substitute bills? Can some Leg Hall insider explain it to me? If you need to amend the bill, why can’t you just file a goddamn Amendment to the bill? You can amend your own bill, you know! The use of substitutes is so rampant that I refuse to use the Leg Hall reference standard for substitutes, which is the long form of Senate Subtitute 1 for Senate Bill 8. Nope. Here at Blue Delaware, the bill will be referred to, and has been referred to, as Senate Bill 8(S). The S indicates the substitute.

Anyway, the Senate yesterday passed a pair of labor bills on Tuesday there were both substituted. Bryan Townsend’s smoking bill was substituted as was Harris McDowell’s DelTech bill, twice. Anyway, enough of my complaining. The two bills that passed yesterday will bolster collective bargaining rights for public workers and improve access to apprenticeships for private employees.

The prime sponsor of both bills, Sen. Jack Walsh (D-9) pointed to the benefits of strong unions: “Empowering unions is the easiest and most efficient way to empower Delaware workers,” he said. “With these two bills, we are doing two important things: leveling the playing field for public sector unions and expanding access to apprenticeships. Ultimately, these are minor changes overall but they can make big differences for public sector and entry level trade workers.”

SB8(S) passed 19-1, with the Senate by a vote of 20-1 on Tuesday, would bring public employee labor organizations in line with other unions and professional associations by allowing them to collectively bargain for compensation. All changes in compensation would still require approval from the General Assembly.

WHERE IS THE BILL? Passed Senate 19-1-1. Now sent to House for consideration.

DEMOCRATIC SPONSORS: Walsh, Brady, Ennis, Hansen, McDowell, Paradee, Poore, Sturgeon, Carson, Jaques, Kowalko, Matthews, Osienski, Seigfried, K.Williams


YES VOTES – Brown, Cloutier, Delcollo, Ennis, Hansen, Hocker, Lawson, Lockman, Lopez, McBride, McDowell, Paradee, Pettyjohn, Poore, Sokola, Sturgeon, Townsend, Walsh, Wilson

NO VOTES – Bonini


While SB8(S) was nearly an unanimous bipartisan love fest save for the always petulant Bonini, SB48(S) was a much more partisan party line affair. The bill provides training for workers employed by contractors and subcontractors while working on public projects. The bill requires that bidders for public works contracts above a minimum value include approved training programs for journeyman and apprentice workers. For reasons passing understanding by all humans living on this planet, the Republicans, save for Cathy Cloutier, opposed this. They screamed “WE WANT UNEDUCATED AND UNSKILLED WORKERS AND WE WANT THEM NOW!”

Sen. Walsh stressed the importance of training for blue-collar workers in today’s economy: “These programs help ensure that our workforce remains ready to take on any public project, especially the many infrastructure upgrades that we will need to undertake in the near future. [SB48(S)] makes sure that those programs and skills training opportunities – which working class Delawareans have relied on for decades – remain available.”

WHERE IS THE BILL? Passed Senate 13-8. Onto the House for consideration.

DEMOCRATIC SPONSORS: Walsh, Dorsey Walker, Kowalko, Osienski, K.Williams, Hansen, Poore, Sturgeon, Bennett, Brady, Chukwuocha, Jaques, Lynn, Matthews, Seigfried, Viola


YES VOTES – Brown, Cloutier, Ennis, Hansen, Lockman, McBride, McDowell, Paradee, Poore, Sokola, Sturgeon, Townsend, Walsh

NO VOTES – Bonini, Delcollo, Hocker, Lawson, Lopez, Pettyjohn, Richardson, Wilson

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

1 comment on “SB8 and SB48 – A pair of labor bills pass Senate

  1. Delaware Dem

    As an aside, a Leg Hall Insider did reach out to me and tell me the use of substitutes over amendments is merely done to save time. It is easier and quicker to vote on one substitute than it is to vote on 1 or more amendments and then to vote on the amended bill. I figured. Still annoying.

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