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Delaware lawmakers ready to get back to work

Delaware Public Media

Delaware lawmakers begin their new session Tuesday, but will do so virtually.


Legislators expect to cover some ground in their first month at work, before taking a break for budget hearings.




In addition to swearing in new members, and voting on each chamber’s rules, State President Pro Temp David Sokola (D-Newark) says one of his priorities in this month is changing laws around unemployment taxes. He had hoped the federal relief package passed in December would have waived federal taxes on unemployment.


“They were hoping that in the relief package that Congress did in December,  that Congress was gonna forgive taxes on unemployment compensation," said Sokola. "And if Congress had done that, Delaware tax law is very clear that we track the federal law on what’s deductible, what’s exempt.”


But since it did not,  he wants Delaware to waive state taxes on those benefits.


Lawmakers have already introduced some bills, including the second leg of a constitution amendment to allow no excuse absentee voting.


Sokola also notes says some housekeeping bills needed by cities will be handled.


“You know, also we’ll get a charter change. A municipality wants to change something with respect to their election law and they have elections in March or something so they want the change done in January," said Sokola. "Some of those we don’t even hear about until we’re back in session.”



Other more controversial measures, such as legalizing recreational marijuana, criminal justice and police reform, and gun control, will likely wait for later when lawmakers perhaps begin working in person again.



Gov. John Carney will lay out his priorities in his State of the State address on Jan 26th, then offer his 2022 budget plan two days later.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.