It was a day of unanimous votes for the Delaware Senate Thursday, with 14 of the 15 items passed without any ‘no’ votes.
Sen. Darius Brown, D-Wilmington, was the only legislator to vote against House Substitute 1 for House Bill 34, a law that would require school boards from district and charter schools to hold public comment on each agenda item up for a vote.
The time for public comment would be required to take place before any vote.
Brown did not comment about the bill during the session and immediate efforts to reach him were unsuccessful Thursday.
Most school boards already allow community members to speak before action items, but bill sponsor Kim Williams, D-Marshallton, said this would make it uniform across the state.
Williams is the chair of the House Education Committee and a former Red Clay Consolidated School District board member.
Numerous resolutions passed without debate Thursday. They recognized special days and months of the calendar, such as designating March 25 as Greek Independence Day, April as Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month, and March 21 as Rock Your Socks for World Down Syndrome Day.
The seven bills that flew through the Senate unanimously were:
- Senate Bill 63, sponsored by Sen. Dave Lawson, R-Marydel, reduces the required criteria for agriculture, horticulture or forestry land use in the state. It will now be assigned to a House committee for consideration.
- Senate Bill 60, sponsored by Sen. Laura Sturgeon, D-Hockessin, who is chair of the Senate Education Committee, provides teachers and other school employees paid leave if they are subpoenaed to testify, or asked to serve on a jury. It will now be assigned to a House committee.
- Senate Bill 61, also sponsored by Sturgeon, would increase the number of days teachers and school employees can use as sick leave for personal reasons from three to five. It would also prohibit administrators from asking an employee to explain why they need the day off. The bill is headed to a House committee.
- House Bill 58, sponsored by Rep. Cyndie Romer, D-Newark, increases the borrowing power of the city of Newark. The amount it can borrow would increase from $500,000 to $1 million. Having already passed through the House, the bill heads to Gov. John Carney for signature.
- House Bill 52, sponsored by Rep. Melissa Minor-Brown, D-New Castle, would add a state-licensed psychiatrist as a voting member of the Adult Correction Healthcare Review Committee. That group is responsible for advising the governor on healthcare services for inmates. The bill awaits Carney’s signature.
- Senate Bill 47, sponsored by Sen. Kyra Hoffner, D-Smryna, would update the state’s Council on Libraries membership composition, define quorum, and add other standard provisions, including member compensation and removal policies. The bill heads to the House where it will first be discussed by a committee.
- Senate Bill 48, also sponsored by Hoffner, would repeal the Delaware Public Library Technology Assistance Act because the Delaware Division of Libraries no longer issues technology grants.
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
Jarek can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at (215) 450-9982. Follow him on Twitter @jarekrutz
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