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Politics & Government

General Assembly puts final budget pieces in place, ends session with little drama

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Delaware Public Media
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Lawmakers put the final touches on the state’s 2020 budget bills, passing the capital spending Bond Bill and Grant-in-Aid package during the 2019 session’s final day.

Like the $4.45 billion dollar operating budget Gov. John Carney (D) signed last week, each cleared both chambers without drama.

The Bond Bill is the biggest in state history, nearly $836 million. 

Grant-In-Aid funding totaled 55.1 million dollars, up from about 46 million dollars in 2019.

 

Disclosure: Delaware First Media Corporation, the parent company of Delaware Public Media, received $150,000 in the grants-in-aid budget passed for FY 2020.

 

The smooth sailing on spending led to a relatively early finish. The House gaveled out around 12:30 a.m. The Senate adjourned shortly after a.m. 

 

The result left House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf (D-Rehoboth Beach) pleased.

 

“When [Senate President Pro Tem] Sen. McBride made his statement, I think back in January, that he wanted to be out of here by 1 o’clock and I sure as heck wanted him to keep his word," said Schwartzkopf. "I told you then at the time, that we could do it, especially in the first of a two-year long session, as long as we worked together all year long.” 

The General Assembly didn’t adjourned last year until around 8:30 a.m after controversy about raising the minimum wage halted momentum on passing the Bond Bill. In 2017, failure to pass a budget by July 1 led to holding an extraordinary session which finally delivered a spending plan on July 3.

But the legislature mostly avoided controversial legislation this year. Gun control legislation stalled in committee.   Bills to raise the minimum wage and eliminate a training wage also failed to advance from committee.

 

Bills introduced but not passed this year can be considered next year in the second year of the session.