House Bill 435 passed the Delaware House of Representatives today with not a single no vote. This is in sharp contrast to last year when the majority of the House Republicans voted no on the former charter audit bill, House Bill 186. With 39 yes votes and two absent, HB 435 will now head to the Senate. Whether it is placed in the Senate Education Committee or the Senate Executive Committee remains to be seen. Since the Senate Education Committee won’t be meeting again between now and the end of the 148th General Assembly on June 30th, a suspension of rules would have to be used for a full Senate vote if it is placed in that committee. I reported earlier today the WEIC bills passed by the House were sent to the Senate Executive Committee instead of the Senate Education Committee for this very reason.
Congrats to State Rep Kim Williams and State Senator David Sokola for coming together and working on this new bill!
Could this have been what that meeting in Governor Markell’s office at Legislative Hall was about after the WEIC redistricting House vote? It turns out the two WEIC bills, House Joint Resolution #12 and House Bill #424, will not have to go through the Senate Education Committee. Instead, they are going to the Senate Executive Committee.
The Senate Education Committee is the designated committee these bills should have gone to. I looked in the Senate Rules from Senate Resolution #3 and there is nothing in there that states a bill can be petitioned out of committee unless it is not heard in committee for 12 consecutive legislative days. And it has to be agreed upon by the majority of the full Senate. While there could be a stipulation in Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedures (which is the go-to guide in case something isn’t covered in the rules), I find it very unusual they would skip that step. The only scenario I can think of is there won’t be another Senate Education Committee from now until June 30th. Which I just confirmed is the case. The President Pro Tempore of the Senate is the one that assigns bills to a committee when they come from the House. So Senator Patti Blevins is the one that assigned this to the Senate Executive Committee.
The members of the Senate Executive Committee are as follows: Senator Blevins (D) (Chair), Senator Henry (D), Senator Lavelle (R), Senator McBride (D), Senator McDowell (D), and Senator Simpson (R). That is four Democrats and two Republicans folks. Which means if all those Dems vote yes for release from committee it will go to a full Senate vote.
If the Senate Education Committee is NOT meeting again this year, that could have a huge impact on bills still in the House or recently passed in the House. Like House Bill 399, the teacher evaluation bill, or House Bill 435, the charter school audit bill which faces a full House vote today. House Bill 399 was assigned to the Senate Education Committee so there would have to be a suspension of rules to get it to a full Senate vote. Which can only happen if the Chair of the Senate Education Committee requests it. That would be Senator David Sokola…
It must be the last week of June in Delaware folks! Shenanigans rule the day!
Wow! I wouldn’t have seen this happening five months ago, but new legislation introduced today by co-sponsors Delaware State Rep. Kim Williams and Senator David Sokola focuses on the fifth attempt at a charter school audit bill in over a year. Williams’ House Bill 186 passed the Delaware House almost a year ago, but when it arrived at the Senate Education Committee, Chair of the Committee Senator Sokola introduced his own charter audit legislation, Senate Bill 171. This led to a lot of back and forth on social media between Sokola and Williams and other sides of each bill.
In the spirit of compromise, it appears the two have come together in the form of House Bill 435, seen below. Will this sail through the House and Senate in the final weeks of the 148th General Assembly and settle the matter once and for all? Time will tell!