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State Senate passes first leg of constitutional amendment addressing discrimination

Joe Irizarry
Delaware Public Media

The first piece of the Delaware Black Legislative Caucus’ Justice For All agenda easily cleared its first hurdle. “

A constitutional amendment explicitly prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, and national origin unanimously passed the State Senate Tuesday.

The amendment topped the list of black lawmakers’ legislative priorities for addressing systemic racism and police brutality in the First State.

“Dismantling systemic racism in Delaware must begin with our founding document from which all other laws in our state are derived,” Senator Darius Brown (D-Wilmington) said in a statement. 

“Once this process is complete, our Constitution will state clearly, once and for all, that all people – no matter their skin color and no matter their backgrounds – are guaranteed the basic rights and dignity that have been promised to us for generations,”

It now heads to the House.  If it passes there, it would still need to be approved again by both the House and Senate next session since it is a constitutional amendment.

The State Senate also passed a bill seeking to extend the use of virtual meetings by state bodies and advisory groups beyond the current COVID-19 pandemic 

Proponents argue it will expand public access to meeting and the ability to serve on advisory boards - especially for those with disabilities, 

Five Republican Senators Colin Bonini (R-Dover), Gerald Hocker (R-Ocean View), Dave Lawson (R-Milford), Brian Pettijohn (R-Georgetown), and Bryant Richardson (R-Seaford) voted against the bill - citing concerns over connectivity issues in areas like Western Kent and Sussex Counties with limited internet and phone access.

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