As the News Journal reported the other day, the Delaware House and Senate met tonight to choose the leadership for each caucus. This was met with scrutiny by some because this is normally done a week after the election. But both parties want to get the ball rolling early for the 150th General Assembly. Who is in?
President Pro Tempore
WEIC Bills Bypass Senate Education Committee And Go Straight To Senate Executive Committee, Bad News For House Bill 399House Bill 399, House Bill 424, House Bill 435, House Joint Resolution #12
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!