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State senators return for another special session

Roman Battaglia
Delaware Public Media

State Senators head back to Dover Tuesday, continuing to seek legal guidance on options to remove State Auditor Kathy McGuiness from office.

Lawmakers gathered November 1st to approve new district maps after redistricting, but ultimately spent a majority of their time arguing about a resolution related to the auditor’s status.

The resolution seeks Delaware Supreme Court guidance on a piece of the state constitution giving the governor the power to remove a public official after approval from the General Assembly.

Both chambers passed their own versions, which without approval from the other leaves them in limbo.

Senate President Pro Temp David Sokola (D-Newark) is unhappy with the House version, which includes a deadline for the Supreme Court to respond.

“Probably not appropriate to tie the Supreme Court’s hand on when we expect a response. I think that adds to the likelihood that they won’t address the matter at all.”

Sokola also thinks the addition of a call for a joint justice committee meeting by both chambers to decide on a course of action in absence of a supreme court opinion only makes the resolution more confusing for the justices.

Republican lawmakers didn’t like the move, saying lawmakers shouldn’t need to ask the Supreme Court before using their powers.

They add it’s unlikely the court would weigh in on a legislative matter even without the deadline.

Sokola says they need clarity.

“While our state hasn’t had a statewide official go through a process like this, other states have. And similar language has resulted in things not necessarily going very smooth. So we wanna make sure we get it right.”

Sokola expects the Senate to amend the House resolution removing the pieces he thinks bog down the request, and send it back to the House — which would also need to meet for a special session to approve it.

Roman Battaglia is 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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