State House Minority Leader speaks out, calls Delaware’s legislative system “broken”

State Minority Leader Danny Short

Delaware House Minority Leader Danny Short is speaking out, calling the system in which bills are passed broken, citing the “unprofessional” way Democrats annually push through countless pieces of legislation in the final hours of session.

The recent controversy over a Kent County lodging tax law – which was approved by the General Assembly in less than 20 minutes on the last day of this year’s session – has Rep. Short discussing pending reforms that would end such dysfunction in Delaware’s legislative process.

“Delaware is different from a lot of other states,” Rep. Short explained. “There’s a significant number of states that have a process in place that allows bills brought forth to the General Assembly to be considered in a very methodical way.”

Rep. Short called the current legislative system “broken” and said the way legislation is passed at the last second, annually, is “unprofessional.”

“I think Delaware is a state that considers bills in a very unprofessional manner,” Rep. Short said. “We have bills that are introduced in the last several days that no one’s ever seen. So, I think our system is broken and there’s ways to fix that if folks would entertain some innovative solutions to this.”

Rep. Short touted two bills that would reform the way legislation is passed, increasing transparency in the legislative process.

One bill would conclude the last day of session at 7 p.m. instead of the wee hours of the morning, and the other would ensure legislation crosses chambers for consideration well ahead of the June 30th deadline.

A key way of increasing the transparency of the legislative process, making the public aware of what bills are being considered and have been introduced, is for the press to get involved and actually cover bills that are proposed by Republicans, according to Rep. Short.

“I think what can be done to move some of our proposals forwards, and these are good ideas, one way would be that the press gets involved and actually reports on issues that are of importance that the minority party has introduced,” Rep. Short said. “Not just discard them because it’s the minority party.”

The public needs to be more aware and involved in the legislative process, Rep. Short stressed, and one of the most efficient ways to do that is to get the word out about all the issues, on both sides, through the media.

“We have rules in the General Assembly,” Rep. Short concluded. “The House specifically has a rule that says a bill needs to be heard in a certain amount of days and that rule needs to be adhered to.”