The Delaware State Senate will reconvene May 27 in a virtual session that will be broadcast live on multiple websites.
The first virtual meeting of the Senate will be preceded by a Senate Executive Committee hearing for the consideration of eight gubernatorial nominations.
“We are taking this unprecedented step of meeting virtually for several reasons,” said Senate President Pro Tempore David McBride, D-Hawk’s Nest. “First, we have a Constitutional obligation to pass a balanced budget, and I think we all want to be sure our state government is able to continue delivering the vital services our constituents depend on, particularly during the greatest public health crisis of our lifetime. We also have a moral obligation to protect the health and safety of the public, our staff and our colleagues by containing the spread of COVID-19. By undertaking this virtual session, we can successfully fulfill both responsibilities while also adding an extra layer of transparency by broadcasting video of our proceedings for the first time ever.”
The Senate Executive Committee meeting will begin at 3 p.m., followed by the full Senate session at 4:30 p.m. All eight nominees are expected to participate in the Senate Executive Committee hearing.
Both virtual meetings will be broadcast on YouTube and shared on the Facebook pages of the Senate Democratic Caucus and the Senate Republican Caucus. A link to the Senate YouTube page also will be posted on the General Assembly’s website, legis.delaware.gov.
The full Senate is slated to vote on a concurrent resolution, followed by consideration of the nominees. The resolution — which was introduced and considered by the House on May 26 — would amend the legislative rules of both chambers to remove any impediments to conducting future virtual meetings.
Those rule changes would authorize the General Assembly to hold virtual meetings in times of emergency and temporarily lift requirements related to physical signatures of bill sponsors on physical backers and physical signatures for committee reports, among other provisions.
Additional virtual session days will be announced in the coming weeks. The meeting schedules for the Joint Finance Committee and Capital Improvement Committee also will be announced at a future date.
The list of nominees to be considered by the Executive Committee and the full Senate on Wednesday includes Col. Nathaniel McQueen Jr., secretary of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security; Superior Court Resident Judge Charles Butler; Superior Court Judge Francis Jones; New Castle County Justice of the Peace Walter Newton; New Castle County Justice of the Peace Shanaya Eyong; and Sussex County Justices of the Peace Candace Whitelock, Brett Graves and the Hon. Catherine Hester.
Legislative Hall remains closed to the public until further notice.