Legislative Update, Week of January 9, 2023

Legislative Update, Week of January 9, 2023

Legislative Update, Week of January 9, 2023


152nd General Assembly Convenes on Tuesday, January 10

The 152nd General Assembly convenes this Tuesday, January 10, with the swearing-in of all members. Every seat was on the ballot as it was the first election following the decennial census and redistricting. 


While there was some key turnover due to retirements, and one significant incumbent primary loss, the party composition in the House will remain 26 Democrats and 15 Republicans. In the Senate, the Democrats picked up a seat in Sussex County (6th SD) which changes their supermajority to 15-6. 








Speaker:                                Pete Schwartzkopf (D-Rehoboth Beach) https://legis.delaware.gov/AssemblyMember/152/Schwartzkopf           

Majority Leader:                  Valerie Longhurst (D-Bear)



Majority Whip:                     Melissa Minor-Brown (D-New Castle)



Minority Leader:                  Michael Ramone (R-Pike Creek South)



Minority Whip:                     Lyndon Yearick (D-Dover)





President Pro Tem:             David Sokola (D-North Star)



Majority Leader:                  Bryan Townsend (D-Newark)



Majority Whip:                     Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman (D-Wilmington)



Minority Leader:                  Gerald Hocker (R-Ocean View)



Minority Whip:                     Brian Pettyjohn (R-Georgetown)




Committee Assignments


Committee Assignments for the House and Senate are complete and can be accessed at the following links: 


House:                  https://legis.delaware.gov/Committees/House


Senate:                 https://legis.delaware.gov/Committees/Senate



State Budget 


The Governor’s Recommended Budget (GRB) package will be introduced toward the end of January, after which the Governor will give a presentation. The introduction of the recommended operating and capital budgets is the beginning of the legislative budget process for FY 2024, which begins on July 1, 2023.  Joint Finance Committee and Bond Bill Committee hearings will take place during the months of February and early March wherein agencies and other stakeholders will make presentations and/or offer testimony. Later in the legislative session, those committees will vote in the appropriations for the final versions of the operating budget (Joint Finance), grant-in-aid (Joint Finance), and capital budgets (Bond Bill). They will be introduced at some point during June and voted on by both houses and advance to the governor for action. 


State Finances


The most recent projections released by the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council indicate an increase of $300 million in revenue projections. A substantial part of that increase is credited to an increase in net corporate income tax revenues. This increase means that Carney Administration will have a record $6.5 billion in projected revenue on which to base the Governor’s Recommended Budget. 


Governor Carney has been hesitant to build new recurring costs into the base of the budget and has sought to maintain a healthy balance in the budget smoothing account, to mitigate any volatility in revenue due to broader economic conditions. The new General Assembly will bring new ideas and vigorous debate as to how to allocate state resources. 



U.S. House of Representatives Elects Speaker


Representative Kevin McCarthy (D-California) has been elected speaker of the United States House of Representatives after 15 ballots. It has been more than a century since multiple ballots were required to elect the speaker. The powerful office, third in line to the presidency, is unique among House leadership positions in that the entire House casts ballots. 


The Republican Party holds a narrow majority of 222-to-212 (one seat vacant). Therefore, a relatively small number of members of the Republican Conference were able to mount vigorous opposition to Speaker McCarthy’s leadership election. In the process of garnering the votes sufficient (majority of members present for the vote, provided that there is a quorum), a number of concessions were made regarding the House rules, which will be adopted today (January 9).  Adoption of the House Rules is the first step in beginning legislative business at the start of a new Congress. The newly elected House cannot legislate until a speaker is in place and the rules are adopted.  The House Republican Steering Committee is also scheduled to meet today to finalize committee assignments.

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