From the Desk of Executive Director Bryon Short
From the Desk of Executive Director Bryon Short - July 7, 2023
There were a lot of historic happenings in Legislative Hall as the first half of the 152nd General Assembly closed Friday evening. The first was that session actually ended Friday evening! Following an amendment to Delaware’s constitution, the General Assembly was able to gavel out the first session at 5 pm and then gavel in the second session at 5:01 pm giving it the ability to call itself back into session should there be a need before it is scheduled to reconvene the first Tuesday of January. Prior to this constitutional amendment, the gaveling out occurred at 12:00 am and gaveling in occurred at roughly 12:01 am. This resulted in legislation being debated and voted on through the dark hours of the AM. While serving in the House, I remember pulling into my driveway at 9 am on July 1 after having arrived at Dover the day before to start working at 10 am. As you can imagine, law makers are usually not in the best state of mind to be negotiating and debating at 3 am.
The second historic event followed Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf stepping down as Speaker of the House midway through his term as Speaker for the 152nd General Assembly. Speaker Schwartzkopf said that he had made this decision prior to the beginning of session for two reasons. The first was to be with his family more and the second was to be a part of making way for a first in Delaware history.
Now to historic actions 3, 4, and 5. With the introduction and passage of House Resolution 25, sponsored by Speaker Schwartzkopf, Representative Valerie Longhurst became Delaware’s first female Speaker of the House. Speaker Longhurst’s ascension to the House’s highest leadership position also required that a new leadership team be elected within the Democratic majority caucus. Representative Minor-Brown is the first person of color elected to serve as House Majority Leader, a position formerly held by Longhurst. Representative Harris is the first openly LGBTQ+ member to be elected to serve as House Majority Whip.
A number of bills impacting the construction industry passed with others staying active for potential consideration when the General Assembly returns in January. In the next six months, DCA will be very active in the regulatory process as well as leading initiatives in examining issues ranging from the state’s drug policy to unemployment insurance. The Legislative Status Report linked in this Punchlist will be the last until session resumes. In the coming weeks, I will be assembling an End-of Session Report that provides more details than the Legislative Status Reports and share it with our membership.