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Delaware transparency legislation

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Here you will find a collection of transparency legislation in Delaware.


House Bill 1: Amending the Delaware Code Related to the Freedom of Information Act Documents produced by the Delaware legislature are currently exempt under Delaware FOIA law.[1] House Bill 1 sponsored by House Speaker Robert F. Gilligan was introduced in the Delaware state legislature on January 6, 2009.[2] The bill proposes to end the exemption to all committee meetings and records generated by the General Assembly, excepting party caucuses.[1] According to Speaker Gilligan, "Without the openness represented by this bill, it will be all but impossible to persuade the public to buy into legislative actions needed to head off a budget deficit of up to $600 million expected for the year that begins July 1."[3]

An amendment to the bill was sponsored by House Majority Leader Pete Schwartzkopf (D-Rehoboth Beach).[4] The amendment seeks to exempt all e-mail "received and sent by members of the Delaware General Assembly or their staff," in effect closing off access to records that are currently subject to public disclosure.[4]

House Bill 90: Creating a Searchable Budget Database for State Spending House Bill 90[5] was introduced in the state legislature on March 24, 2009.[6] The bill, sponsored by Representative Greg Lavelle, states that "taxpayers should be able to easily access the details on how the State is spending their tax dollars and what performance results are achieved for those expenditures."[5] The bill seeks to create a searcheable budget database detailing all state expenditures, their purpose and results.[5] The bill is currently assigned to the House Administration Committee.[6]

Senate Bill 58: Amending the Delaware Code Related to the Freedom of Information Act Senate Bill 58[7] was introduced in the state legislature by Senator Karen Peterson on April 7, 2009.[8] The bill seeks to make various amendments to the Delaware Code relating to the Freedom of Information Act which would:

  • Create consistency in the determination of whether a record is public by designating the public body that first created the document as responsible for determining if a record is subject to disclosure;[7]
  • Clarify that the purpose for which a document is sought is irrelevant under the FOIA;[7]
  • Increase the period of time the state's Attorney General has to investigate and determine whether there has been an FOIA violation;[7] and
  • Permit the Attorney General to determine FOIA complaints made against state bodies and officers.[7]

The bill was referred to the Senate Executive Committee on April 7, 2009.[8]


Sen. Charles Copeland (R-West Farms) and Rep. Greg Lavelle (R-Sharpley) attempted to bring transparency to the forefront with the introduction of the Delaware Taxpayers Coalition's 2008 Fiscal Transparency Package. It includes:

  • Delaware Senate Bill 184/HB 334 (2008) requires the creation of an online budget database available to the public.
  • Delaware Senate Bill 185/HB 338 (2008) requires the creation of an online database of contracts involving school districts and charter schools.
  • Delaware Senate Bill 186/HB 337 (2008) requires school districts and charter schools to post their checking account activity online.
  • Delaware Senate Bill 187/HB 336 (2008) requires state agencies to post their checking account activity online.
  • Delaware Senate Bill 188 (2008) requires information regarding distributions from the Delaware Strategic Found to be posted on the Delaware Economic Development Office's website.

Other transparency and accountability acts in 2008 include:

  • Delaware Senate Bill 181 (2008) requires creation of an online database listing names, positions, expenses and other information on all full and part-time State employees, officers, and officials.