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Politics & Government

Delaware Republican lawmakers introduce government efficiency legislation

Sarah Mueller
House Minority Leader Danny Short talks about the bills.

Republican state lawmakers are pushing a slate of bills they say will improve government operations.

Of the eight bills, five are new proposals and three were introduced last year.

Three are state Constitutional Amendments. They would require lawmakers wait 48 hours before voting on budget bills and create a deadline for when bills must pass from one chamber to another to remain viable.

The other would set the end of session on the last legislative day at 7 p.m.

House Minority Leader Danny Short (R-Seaford)  said the new legislative day would start at 7:01 p.m. June 30th. He said having everyone stay up past midnight or all night some years and then drive is dangerous.

“So I would hope that the leadership of this General Assembly could get together and find that we could business during the business hours of the day and extended them into the late hours of the evening,” he said.

Another measure would require a three-fifths supermajority to suspend rules, which allows a bill to be heard on the floor without going through a committee. It currently requires a simple majority.

House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf  (D-Rehoboth Beach) said he opposes the idea. He said the majority party, which is currently Democrats, need flexibility to get legislation like the budget passed.

“It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense," he said. "You know, if I’m supposed be responsible for making things happen and getting things done, don’t tie my hands past a simple majority vote.”

Bill sponsor State Rep. Jeff Spiegelman (R-Clayton) said he wants to move it to a three-fifths vote so it won’t be a voice vote, which is not recorded. The change would require a roll call vote, so people can see how each lawmaker voted on it.

The other bills aim to reward state employees for efficiency ideas, prevent state lawmakers from double dipping and mandate political candidates disclose tax debt.

They also support a Democratically-led bill that would make it easier to see what lawmakers spend from their Community Transportation Fund budgets.

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