Seaford, EV bills pass House, so GOP votes to OK bond bill

Sam HautGovernment, Headlines


GOP votes for $1.4 billion bond bill after House passes Seaford charter change.
Photo by Vladimir Solomianyi, Unsplash.

Republicans returned to the House Friday to vote in favor of the bond bill after the House passed the change to Seaford’s charter and another bill on electric vehicles.

House Substitute 1 for House Bill 121, sponsored by Rep. Daniel Short, R-Seaford, will approve a charter change for the town of Seaford allowing an LLC that owns a business in town to have a single vote in municipal elections, even if the owner lives outside the city.

The bill passed 34 to 6 and now makes its way to the Senate for consideration.

The House Republicans had walked out Thursday after the Seaford bill failed when they were under the impression that it had the votes to pass. It meant there were not enough votes to pass the capital improvement budget bill.

After Friday’s vote Minority Leader Mike Ramone, R-Pike Creek, said he appreciated House Bill 121 passing.

“We were very grateful that our colleagues were able to rerun the bill despite some of the antics that went on within the last 24 hours,” Ramone said. “And we’re also very grateful for those of you who chose to support…representative Short’s initiatives, very kind and very much appreciated.”

Speaker of the House Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, apologized after Ramone’s comments.

“I would like to offer you guys an apology because I messed something up yesterday,” Schwartzkopf said. “We should have never had our organization meeting during caucus time. We should have come in earlier, that’s my call, my mistake. We should have done it on either Wednesday or Thursday before caucus. I’ll accept that responsibility.”

The House also passed 21 to 20 House Bill 123, sponsored by Ramone, which would require the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to get approval from the legislature before it restricts the sale of gas-powered vehicles.

Republicans have been pushing for the legislature to restrict DNREC in some way after a new regulation was announced that would have Delaware follow California rules and require all new vehicles sold in Delaware to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035.

House Bill 123, which was introduced on April 20 and had previously not gotten enough signatures to be approved by the House Natural Resources & Energy Committee, will now make its way to the Senate for consideration.

Ramone said Friday that he doesn’t know if House Bill 121 or House Bill 123 will pass the Senate. Friday is the last day of the 2023 General Assembly session.

Related Story: Senate passes $1.4 billion for capital improvement

Senate Bill 160, sponsored by Sen. Jack Walsh, D-Stanton, would allocate $1,409,448,938 to address capital improvement projects across the state and is this year’s bond bill. It now makes its way to Gov. John Carney for his signature.

Joe Fulgham, communications director for the House Republican Caucus, said the discussion about getting House Bill 121 and the bond bill passed ended up including House Bill 123.

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