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State lawmakers pass a flurry of bills before February budget break

Joe Irizarry
Delaware Public Media

A constitutional amendment protecting equal rights for all Delawareans is now in place after unanimously clearing its final hurdle in the House.


The amendment adds “race, color and national origin” to the state constitution’s equal rights clause, enshrining equal protections that match the U.S. Constitution.  It takes effect immediately


House lawmakers also passed a bill extending Delaware’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, requiring utilities to generate 40 percent of their electricitywith renewables by 2035.


House sponsor Ed Osienski says the state auditor and Public Service Commission already agree a 40 percent goal is reachable.


“They are actually comfortable with going to 50, but possibly when we implement community solar. This would expand the generation capability.”


Osienski says he’d like to see a community solar initiative come through the state legislature to help boost the state’s energy generation.


The bill passed with the approval of a few Republican legislators. Some of those voting ‘no’ had concerns over the fee imposed on electric bills. It now heads to Gov. Carney.


A bill providing relief to Delawareans on unemployment is also headed to Carney’s desk after gaining State Senate approval. It waives state taxes on any unemployment benefits last year and ensures businesses will not face paying higher assessment rates this year.

Roman Battaglia a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

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.
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