The 151st Delaware General Assembly will convene Tuesday January 12th with a virtual session when lawmakers will take their oaths of office, formally elect their leaders and adopt rules and procedures for conducting legislative business.
That day’s activities will be shown live on the General Assembly YouTube Channel. Provisions are also being made to conduct virtual sessions throughout January of the full House and Senate and allow for public participation during committee meetings.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a brutal toll on families across Delaware, and after much discussion and deliberation, we determined that there was simply no way for the General Assembly to safely convene our new legislative session in person,” House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, said. “Nevertheless, the people of Delaware elected us to do a job, and when January 12 gets here, we intend to get to work considering bills, holding committee hearings, voting on legislation and doing all the things that the General Assembly is expected to do, just in a different format.”
A bipartisan team of legislators and staff developed the plan for the virtual session. Decisions about how to continue the session past January will be made to prioritize health and safety and guidelines from public health experts.
“Starting the 151st General Assembly in a virtual format will not stop us from aggressively tackling the economic, public health, and racial justice issues the people of this state are facing on a daily basis,” Senate President Pro Tempore-Elect David Sokola, D-Newark, said. “This pandemic has laid bare long-standing fractures in our society and we will not let the fact that we’re unable to meet in person prevent us from making progress for Delawareans who can’t afford to wait any longer.”
Details on future meeting dates and times and the schedule for the Joint Finance Committee will be announced in the coming weeks.