The Delaware General Assembly did not go to the dogs Wednesday. The dogs came to them.
Four lucky pooches who were up for adoption or had been adopted from shelters sat through part of a Senate hearing and then part of a Senate Session as Senate Bill 37, which would make the rescue dog the official state animal, passed in committee and then on the Senate floor.
Along the way, Sen. Trey Paradee, D-Dover, left his perch at the table after talking about a casino bill in the Senate Elections and Government Affairs Committee to sit in the doorway, where he pulled a puppy into his lap, and then pet a larger dog that wanted its fair share of attention.
It all led to an amusing scene as Secretary of Finance Rick Geisenberger sat surrounded by dogs as he testified in favor of Pardee’s Senate Bill 64. That bill would allow casinos to reduce license fees by investing in their facilities.
Sponsored by Sen. Jack Walsh, D-Stanton/Newport, SB 37 stops the practice of naming a new state animal every two years in favor of declaring the rescue dog the one and only state animal for all eternity.
Walsh, who pointed out both in the committee and on the Senate floor, that he had worn his doggie tie and doggie socks, said the bill that first designated the rescue dog as the official state animal had expired in 2019.
Rescue dog definition
The owner of a rescue dog named Maisie, Walsh explained that rescue dogs were not animals who rescued humans, but dogs that found themselves at shelters and needed homes.
The senator said he is a board member of the Delaware SPCA, which has merged with the Delaware Humane Society to become the Humane Animal Partners.
“These are loving animals that have done nothing,” he said. “You know they deserve a loving home.”
Less than an hour later in the Senate, after the doggies had sat through the several appointments and a resolution honoring Vietnam veterans on the 50th anniversary of the day that the American military left Vietnam, Walsh was back at the microphone pleading his case.
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“I would highly recommend that you visit one because it warms your heart and it breaks your heart at the same time,” he told the Senate.
Sen. Marie Pinkney, D-Bear, had a word of warning for Walsh.
“I want the sponsor to know that if I go home with a dog today, I’m going to very upset with him, and I wanted to be added as a sponsor for the bill,” she said.
The bill passed unanimously and is headed to the House for a committee hearing.
- Paradee’s casino bill was reported out of committee with one favorable vote and four on its merit, moments after the committee and moments before the full Senate meeting. Senate committees do not vote in public and the public has to keep looking on the bill tracker to see what happened.
- Sen. Kyle Evans Gay’s Senate Bill 57, which would lead to the state adopting the Uniform Faithful Presidential Electors Act, passed with four favorable and one on its merits. The bill would allow the state to remove any presidential elector who did not cast a ballot reflecting the state’s popular vote.
- Rep. Tim Duke’s House Bill 63 passed with five votes on its merits. It will allow state pensioners to return to work and earn more money before their pension is reduced by the state.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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