Legislative wrap-up 03/26/19

March 26, 2019
Earlier start times for school elections, referendums

A bill that moves starting times for school board elections and referendums to 7 a.m. is now law. Gov. John Carney signed House Bill 11 March 13 changing the starting time for school board elections and referendums from 10 a.m. to 7 a.m. Polls will still close at 8 p.m. The law goes into effect for school board elections this year.

The bill passed unanimously in the House in January and passed the Senate 18-3 on March 12.

Early voting bill passes House

A bill that would allow voters to vote in-person at least 10 days before an election passed the House March 19 by a vote of 34-6 with one absent.

House Bill 38 includes voting on Saturday and Sunday at locations determined by the State Election Commissioner. The commissioner would also determine whether voting would be done by paper ballot or voting machine. All other voting procedures would be the same as for a general election, the bill states.

The bill awaits action in Senate committee.

Moving state primaries to April in Senate committee

A bill to move primary elections for state, county and municipal offices to the fourth Tuesday in April awaits a decision in Senate committee.

House Bill 41 would move primaries to the same date as presidential primaries held in presidential election years. The bill also changes dates for minor political party to file and changes the time when a voter is not allowed to change their political affiliation. In January, the bill passed a full House vote 36-5.

Constitutional change in absentee voting awaits House action

A bill that would eliminate limitations in Delaware Constitution that restrict when an individual may vote by absentee ballot was reported out of House committee March 20.

House Bill 73 is on the ready list for the House on March 26. As a constitutional amendment, the bill will need two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate in two consecutive General Assemblies. In the House, 28 votes will be needed to pass; in the Senate, 14.

Safe firearm storage proposed in bill

A bill making unsafe storage of a firearm a misdemeanor was passed by the House March 26 by a 22-19 vote. The bill now awaits action in Senate committee.

House Bill 63 would change Delaware Code on safe storage of firearms by making it a crime when someone intentionally or recklessly stores or leaves a loaded firearm where a minor or other person prohibited or unauthorized by law can access the firearm, and the unauthorized person obtains the firearm.

The penalty would be a class B misdemeanor, increasing to a class A misdemeanor if the firearm is used to harm someone or a person transfers the firearm to an unauthorized person.