A week ago Tuesday, all 62 members of the General Assembly took the Oath of Office.
Once each decade, following the U.S. census and redistricting, all 21 senatorial seats are up for election, 10 for two-year terms and 11 for four years (or visa versa).
Representative seats are up for election every two years.
In the Senate some of those re-elected to office took their oath en masse. Even though I was elected to a third term in office, I chose to take my oath separately.
I did this because I have the privilege of being sworn in by my wife, Carol. Some senators are sworn in by judges, all the way up to the Honorable Jan R. Jurden, president judge of the Delaware Superior Court.
I chose the more personal form of swearing in that is allowed since Carol is a notary.
Senator Brian Pettyjohn was also sworn in by his wife. Kelly Pettyjohn is an alderman in the town of Dewey Beach.
Here is the oath that all members of the 152 General Assembly took on Tuesday, January 10:
I do proudly swear to carry out the responsibilities of the office of (State Senator or Representative) to the best of my ability, freely acknowledging that the powers of this office flow from the people I am privileged to represent.
I further swear always to place the public interests above any special or personal interests, and to respect the right of future generations to share the rich historic and natural heritage of Delaware.
In doing so I will always uphold and defend the Constitutions of my Country and my State, so help me God.
Rule Change rejected
I requested a change to Rule 45 to increase the notice time to seven days before a meeting. I believed this would be in the best interest of members of the Senate and staff and in particular members of the public, who may need to reschedule work or other responsibilities in order to testify or to listen in on the proceedings.
The rules were approved the first day of session on January 10, but my requested change was not included.
Here is Rule 45, referring to Standing Committee Meeting Notice and Minutes.
a. At least 5 days before a meeting, a standing committee must release a Committee Agenda, which must include all matters to be considered by the committee at its next meeting and any other announcements from the committee including the times, places, and dates of future meetings. Nominations are exempt from the five-day notice requirement.
Since most committee meetings are on Wednesday, to honor the five-day period, the Committee Agenda must be posted the previous Friday.
Here are instructions on how to stay informed about the meetings and how to sign up to speak:
Go to legis.delaware.gov
Go to ‘What’s Happening’ for a list of committee meetings
Find the committee hearing you want (you may have to scroll down)
Select Register for Meeting (or click on the meeting link)
Fill out the form and register to testify (This applies if testifying in person or online.)
Here are suggestions on how to testify:
Identify yourself and reason for testifying
Have strong/memorable closing statement
Keep comments to under 2 minutes to avoid being cut off in mid sentence
Rehearse and time your testimony
Make sure any facts/statistics you use are easily verifiable
Personal stories that evoke emotions are powerful
When telling stories in particular, make sure you stay within the time limit
Voting Age Amendment
A hearing was held January 18 on Senate Bill 26. This bill is the second leg of a constitutional amendment to change the minimum voting age in the Delaware Constitution from twenty-one years to eighteen years.
The first leg of this amendment, Senate Bill 294, passed in the 151st General Assembly. On passage of this second leg by the 152nd General Assembly this amendment will become part of the Delaware Constitution.
Human trafficking priority
Next week I will be discussing another priority of mine, which is to support the efforts of groups who are working to rescue victims of human trafficking.