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State senators set to vote on new version of bill giving Del Tech bonding authority

Milton Pratt
Delaware Public Media

State senators are expected to consider a new version of legislation helping Delaware Tech address deferred maintenance needs Tuesday.

This is the third version of State Sen. Harris McDowell’s bill giving Del Tech bonding authority. McDowell filed a second revision to his original bill Monday after the Senate adjourned last week without voting on the first updated version.

It’s intention is to have lawmakers give the school $10 million annually over the next five years for deferred maintenance - and also fully fund Del Tech’s annual capital improvement requests.

State Sen. Anthony Delcollo still has concerns. He said while the bill lays out an intent, a statute can’t bind future General Assemblies.

“So it does sort of place the onus to have this thing work properly on the shoulders of the General Assembly and what it’s going to be funding,” he said.

The latest version retains the state’s obligation to buy Del Tech’s bonds. Delcollo said he believes that may require the bill to receive a three-fourths majority vote.

“Aspects of our Constitution which say that if you’re providing for the full faith and credit of the state in creating bonding authority then there’s a supermajority voting requirement that should probably be followed, actually must be followed,” he said.

A spokesman for Senate Democrats said the legislation only needs a simple majority because it just gives Del Tech authority to issue the bonds.

If Del Tech decides to issue bonds, then the General Assembly would have to approve that by a supermajority.

McDowell didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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