How The Delaware General Assembly Got Away With Not Needing A 3/4 Vote To Pass The State Budget

Senate Concurrent Resolution #39

Last summer, many folks took notice the Delaware Senate did not pass the state budget with a 3/4 majority vote as required by Delaware state code.  There was a specific reason they needed a 3/4 vote.  That was because the universities and charter schools they have appropriations for are considered corporations.  The law states the 3/4 vote is needed to appropriate money to corporations.  If they didn’t give any money to those entities, they only need a majority vote.  At the end of the legislative session in 2015, State Senator Colin Bonini introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution #39 which formed a working group to determine if the universities and charter schools were indeed corporations as defined in state code.

The group met twice and quickly issued a letter to Governor Markell which determined charter schools, the University of Delaware, and Delaware State University are not “corporations” as was originally written in the law because they have many key relationships with state government.  So therefore, that was why the 3/4 majority vote was not needed, based on a legal opinion which came out of all this.


2 thoughts on “How The Delaware General Assembly Got Away With Not Needing A 3/4 Vote To Pass The State Budget

  1. Maybe someone can fill in a gap for me… I’m having trouble remembering the history leading up to these details…

    Here is relevant part of the Constitution…………(lifted and pasted)

    § 4. Restrictions on loan of public money or bonds and credit of State.

    Section 4. No appropriation of the public money shall be made to, nor the bonds of this State be issued or loaned to any county, municipality or corporation, nor shall the credit of the State, by the guarantee or the endorsement of the bonds or other undertakings of any county, municipality or corporation, be pledged otherwise than pursuant to an Act of the General Assembly, passed with the concurrence of three fourths of all the members elected to each House.

    My question is since the funding bills have always covered not only the educational corporations you mentioned, but counties and municipalities, why have all past budgets gotten by with a simple majority? Charter schools have been around since 1990’s, the university longer than that, municipalities and counties since the creation of the state… Why was this imperative now?

    Maybe John K. knows?


    1. Bonini brought this legislation up. If you go to the legis website and look at the minutes for it, it almost seemed like an exercise in futility on Bonini’s part. He was the only one in the working group who wanted this 3/4 budget majority vote.


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