The new General Assembly session begins today with the swearing in of all House members, old and new, and of the Senators just elected to new terms. And I am sure each chamber will tee up some symbolic resolutions and rules and procedures packages to vote on and pass. There will be no serious votes on substantive legislation yet on this first day, and tomorrow will be the first Committee Day of the session, but we might see some action on legislation on Thursday.
About 20 House bills have already been prefiled as of today, and we will begin posting on those bills this afternoon.
Senators Sokola, Townsend and Lockman laid down their priorities in the Senate in an op-ed over this past weekend in the News Journal:
“Housing reforms: Legal discrimination against housing vouchers hurts low-wage earners, vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities, which in turn worsens homelessness and harms children in families facing housing insecurity. We will not accept housing laws that encourage more than a dozen evictions a day, many displacing families who have already paid their back rent. As home prices soar and housing stock becomes diminished, the unfair and punitive policies that are adding to our housing crisis disproportionately impact Black and Brown families who statistically have a lower rate of homeownership than white families as a result of longstanding housing discrimination paired with income and wealth inequities.
Raising wages: We are committed to raising the wages of teachers and the thousands of health care workers whom Delaware families depend on to care for our most vulnerable family members. To provide the best education and care our families deserve, we must be willing to pay competitive wages that will attract and retain a well-trained and highly skilled workforce capable of supporting the needs of the youngest and oldest Delawareans.
Early childhood education: We are committed to creating a high quality, developmentally appropriate and affordable early childhood education system in Delaware that will not only stabilize our workforce by providing access to safe and nurturing childcare, but also set up our youngest learners for future success.
Natural resoures, retirees, prescription drugs and public safety: We are committed to guaranteeing our precious natural resources are protected, and that the drinking water in our public schools is free of lead and other contaminants. We will insist on providing our retired public servants with strong, stable health care, bringing more primary care doctors to every corner of Delaware and reducing prescription drug prices. And we will continue our work to make our law enforcement agencies more transparent and accountable to the people they serve, to protect and expand access to reproductive rights, and to make voting safe, secure and accessible for all eligible voters.”
For my money, let’s start off with the bills that were left in committee or on the floors of one of the Houses last session. Here is the Final Vote Tracker from last year.2022.Delaware.General.Assembly.Legislation.Chart_
Look at the Passed One House sections, the Defeated Bills section, and the Passed One House sections. The Right to Counsel for Tenants in all Landlord-Tenant Disputes bill, and the Delaware Marijuana Control Acts are obvious places to start.
We will post this sessions’s new Vote Tracker this Friday.