Del. Constitutional Amendment To End June 30th All-Nighter Moves Forward

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Delaware’s annual tradition of meeting at all hours of the night on the final day of the General Assembly session is a step closer to becoming a part of First State history.
The Delaware State Senate has passed legislation to amend the state Constitution to end the requirement that the General Assembly stay in session until after midnight each June 30th to go into special session.
House Bill 411 would amend the Constitution to change the time for the end of session to 5:00 p.m. June 30th, at which time the House and Senate would be able to reconvene in a special session.
The midnight ritual has sometimes led to sessions that lasted until sunrise.

“This legislation is designed to strike a balance between concluding the final day of legislative session at a reasonable hour while preserving our ability to work overtime on behalf of the people of Delaware if the need arises,” State Senate President Pro Tempore David Sokola, D-Newark said. “But, ultimately, my hope is that this amendment results in far fewer late nights and reduced risk for the people whose jobs require that they head home only after we have concluded our deliberations.” 

“Having both chambers end session past midnight on June 30th/July 1st is an archaic practice that is dangerous for the public, staff, and members of the General Assembly,” Senate Minority Leader Gerald Hocker, R-Ocean View and Senate Minority Whip Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown said in a statement. “The late-night hours hinder transparency and discourage public participation. This common sense change is long overdue.” 

The measure has also passed the House of Representatives. A two-thirds majority vote in each chamber, in two consecutive General Assemblies, is required to amend the Constitution.

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