Delaware House of Representatives
|Delaware House of Representatives|
|2015 session start:||January 13, 2015|
|Website:||Official House Page|
|House Speaker:||Peter Schwartzkopf (D)|
|Majority Leader:||Valerie Longhurst (D)|
|Minority leader:||Daniel Short (R)|
Democratic Party (25)
Republican Party (16)
|Length of term:||2 years|
|Authority:||Art II, Delaware Constitution|
|Salary:||$41,680/year + expenses|
|Last Election:||November 4, 2014 (41 seats)|
|Next election:||November 8, 2016 (41 seats)|
|Redistricting:||Delaware Legislature has control|
- 1 Sessions
- 2 Ethics and transparency
- 3 Elections
- 4 Redistricting
- 5 Representatives
- 6 Standing committees
- 7 History
- 8 External links
- 9 References
As of January 2015, Delaware is one of 7 Democratic state government trifectas.
Article II of the Delaware Constitution establishes when the Delaware General Assembly, of which the House is a part, is to be in session. Section 4 of Article II states that the General Assembly is to convene on the second Tuesday of January of each calendar year, and it is not to extend beyond the last day of June.
Section 4 also allows the General Assembly to be convened into special session by the Governor of Delaware or by the mutual call of the presiding officers of both Houses.
- See also: Dates of 2015 state legislative sessions
In 2015, the Legislature is in session from January 13 through June 30.
- See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
In 2014, the Legislature was in session from January 14 through July 1.
Major issues in the 2014 legislative session included raising the minimum wage, gun control, the 2015 budget, campaign finance and the economy.
- See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 8 through July 1.
Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included gun control, gay marriage, and budgetary problems.
- See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions
In 2012, the House was in session from January 10 through June 30.
Legislators focused more on economic rather than social issues this session, including reforms to Medicaid and addressing the budget deficit.
- See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions
In 2011, the General Assembly was in session from January 11 through June 30.
- See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions
In 2010, the General Assembly was in session from January 12th to June 30th.
Role in state budget
- See also: Delaware state budget
- In July and August of the year preceding the start of the new fiscal year, the governor sends budget instructions to state agencies.
- In October, agencies submit their budget requests to the governor.
- Budget hearings are held with the public in November.
- On or before February 1, the governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature.
- The legislature must pass a budget with a simple majority by June 30. The fiscal year then begins in July.
The governor is constitutionally and statutorily required to submit a balanced budget to the legislature. In turn, the legislature must pass a balanced budget, and any budget signed into law by the governor must be balanced.
Delaware maintains two major governmental funds: the General Fund and the Special Fund. Within the Special Fund, there are four category types: Appropriated Special Funds (ASF), Non-appropriated Special Funds (NSF), Federal Funds and Bond Funds.
The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative released a report in July 2013 which indicated that cost-benefit analysis in policymaking led to more effective uses of public funds. Looking at data from 2008 through 2011, the study's authors found that some states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis while others were facing challenges and lagging behind the rest of the nation. Among the challenges states faced were a lack of time, money and technical skills needed to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses. Delaware was one of 29 states with mixed results regarding the frequency and effectiveness in its use of cost-benefit analysis.
Ethics and transparency
Following the Money report
- See also: Following the Money 2014 Report
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending. According to the report, Delaware received a grade of D+ and a numerical score of 63, indicating that Delaware was "lagging" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.
Open States Transparency
The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Delaware was given a grade of C in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data is to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A -- Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
Elections for the office of Delaware House of Representatives took place in 2014. A primary election took place on September 9, 2014. The general election was held on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was July 8, 2014.
The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.
|2012 Margin of Victory, Delaware House of Representatives|
|District||Winner||Margin of Victory||Total Votes||Top Opponent|
|District 41||John Atkins||0.8%||8,773||Richard Collins|
|District 11||Jeffrey Spiegelman||2.4%||8,618||Lynne Newlin|
|District 10||Dennis E. Williams||4.2%||10,657||Robert Rhodunda|
|District 20||Stephen Smyk||6.4%||12,158||M. Marie Mayor|
|District 33||Harold Peterman||6.8%||9,032||John Klevin Robbins|
|District 29||William C. Paradee III||8.6%||9,541||Lincoln Willis|
|District 37||Ruth Briggs King||9.7%||9,165||Elizabeth McGinn|
|District 23||Paul Baumbach||14.5%||8,329||Mark Doughty|
|District 34||Donald Blakey||16%||10,022||Theodore Yacucci|
|District 38||Ronald Gray||22.2%||12,937||Shirley Price|
The primary nomination process for candidates wishing to run in these elections was to gain the party's nomination at state conventions held by the state's two major political parties in May. Candidates wishing to run as independents could submit nominating signatures up through July 30. The primary Election Day was September 14, 2010.
The partisan breakdown of the House before and after the election was as follows:
|Delaware House of Representatives|
|Party||As of November 1, 2010||After the 2010 Election|
In 2010, the total amount of contributions raised in house campaigns was $2,583,173. The top 10 overall contributors were:
|2010 Donors, Delaware House of Representatives|
|Ellis, David E||$83,043|
|LaVelle, Gregory Francis||$52,700|
|King, Stanley & Ruth||$30,000|
|Manolakos, Nick T||$25,665|
|Delaware Racing Association||$21,503|
|Delaware Association of Realtors||$20,731|
|Kenton, Harvey & Jeanne||$20,000|
|Delaware Education Association||$19,203|
|Gallogly, Kay Wilde||$17,920|
|Delaware Citizens for Economic Development||$14,700|
Elections for the office of Delaware House of Representatives consisted of a primary election on September 9, 2008, and a general election on November 4, 2008.
During the 2008 election, the total value of contributions to House candidates was $2,334,401. The top 10 contributors were:
|2008 Donors, Delaware House of Representatives|
|Atkins, John C||$53,000|
|Delaware Democratic Party||$22,350|
|Delaware Racing Association||$22,075|
|Czerwinski, John J||$22,069|
|Delaware State Dental Society||$19,100|
|Delaware Republican Party||$18,800|
|Delaware Association of Realtors||$18,092|
|Carpenters & Joiners Local 626||$17,921|
|Delaware Education Association||$17,032|
|Lavelle, Gregory Francis||$16,050|
Elections for the office of Delaware House of Representatives consisted of a primary election on September 12, 2006, and a general election on November 7, 2006.
During the 2006 election, the total value of contributions to House candidates was $2,156,700. The top 10 contributors were:
|2006 Donors, Delaware House of Representatives|
|Delaware Republican Party||$22,773|
|Delaware Racing Association||$18,300|
|Delaware Education Association||$17,400|
|Sternberg, Richard J||$17,000|
|Delware Trial Lawyers Association||$16,800|
|Delaware Association of Realtors||$16,500|
Elections for the office of Delaware House of Representatives consisted of a primary election on September 11, 2004, and a general election on November 2, 2004.
During the 2004 election, the total value of contributions to House candidates was $2,020,644. The top 10 contributors were:
|2004 Donors, Delaware House of Representatives|
|Delaware Racing Association||$22,500|
|New Castle County Democratic Cmte||$16,700|
|Delaware Trial Lawyers Association||$16,400|
|Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 74||$15,200|
|Delaware Automobile & Truck Dealers Association||$15,000|
|First State Manufactured Housing Association||$14,607|
|Delaware Democratic Party||$13,900|
|Optometry Eye PAC||$13,850|
|Nonpartisan Citizens for Business Expansion||$13,300|
Elections for the office of Delaware House of Representatives consisted of a primary election on September 7, 2002, and a general election on November 5, 2002.
During the 2002 election, the total value of contributions to House candidates was $1,824,680. The top 10 contributors were:
|2002 Donors, Delaware House of Representatives|
|Meoli, Michael A||$25,000|
|Delaware Racing Association||$21,725|
|First State Manufactured Housing Association||$16,975|
|Delaware Trial Lawyers Association||$15,300|
|Delaware Automobile & Truck Dealers Association||$15,275|
|Delaware Association of Realtors||$14,475|
|Nonpartisan Citizens for Business Expansion||$13,860|
Elections for the office of Delaware House of Representatives consisted of a primary election on September 9, 2000, and a general election on November 7, 2000.
During the 2000 election, the total value of contributions to House candidates was $1,452,617. The top 10 contributors were:
|2000 Donors, Delaware House of Representatives|
|Delaware Racing Association||$19,325|
|Delaware Republican Party||$18,479|
|National Rifle Association||$17,535|
|Valihura Jr, Robert J||$17,078|
|Nonpartisan Citizens for Business Expansion||$15,800|
|Medical Society of Delaware||$14,775|
|Delaware State Dental Society||$13,900|
|Cmte to Elect a Republican House of Delaware||$13,200|
|First State Manufactured Housing Association||$12,971|
Article II, Section 3 of the Delaware Constitution states: No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained the age of twenty-four years, and have been a citizen and inhabitant of the State three years next preceding the day of his election, and the last year of that term an inhabitant of the Representative District in which he shall be chosen, unless he shall have been absent on the public business of the United States or of this State.
| How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures |
If there is a vacancy in the State House, the House Speaker must call for a special election. The election must be called for no later than 30 days after the vacancy happened. The Governor may make the declaration if the House is not in session. The date of the election must be set no later than 10 days after a declaration was made.
- See also: Redistricting in Delaware
The Delaware General Assembly is responsible for redistricting.
Delaware received its 2010 census data on March 1, 2011. The state population increased by over 115,000 (nearly 15%), topping 900,000 residents. Significant population shifts threatened to radically alter state House and Senate districts. According to the Delaware Population Consortium, there was a large shift to the southern part of the state, with Sussex County growing by 25% while New Castle County only saw 7% growth.
With a comfortable majority in the House, Democrats controlled the redistricting process, although Republicans did construct a counter-proposal to Democratic maps. The House passed its redistricting map on June 28, 2011 on a party line vote. House Majority Leader Pete Schwartzkopf said that no substantial changes were made to the map after public hearings were held. Of the 15 Republican House members, 10 voted no and 5 did not vote. Schwartzkopf said he was not surprised by the Republican vote against the map.
- See also: Partisan composition of state houses
|Party||As of January 2015|
The Speaker of the House is the presiding officer of the body. Duties of the Speaker include preserving order and decorum, deciding all questions of order, signing all bills and resolutions passed by the House, and appointing all committees and subcommittees.
|Current Leadership, Delaware House of Representatives|
|State Speaker of the House||Peter Schwartzkopf||Democratic|
|State House Majority Leader||Valerie Longhurst||Democratic|
|State House Majority Whip||John Viola||Democratic|
|State House Minority Leader||Daniel Short||Republican|
|State House Minority Whip||Deborah Hudson||Republican|
- See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries
As of 2013, members of the Delaware legislature are paid $42,750 per year. Legislators are allowed a maximum of $7,334 in expenses annually.
When sworn in
Delaware legislators assume office the day after their election.
The Delaware House of Representatives has 25 standing committees:
- Agriculture Committee
- Appropriations Committee
- Capital Infrastructure Committee
- Corrections Committee
- Economic Development/Banking/Insurance/Commerce Committee
- Education Committee
- Energy Committee
- Ethics Committee
- Gaming & Parimutuels Committee
- Health & Human Development Committee
- House Administration Committee
- House Rules Committee
- Housing & Community Affairs Committee
- Joint Finance Committee
- Judiciary Committee
- Labor Committee
- Legislative Council Committee
- Manufactured Housing Committee
- Natural Resources Committee
- Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee
- Revenue & Finance Committee
- Sunset Committee (Policy Analysis & Government Accountability)
- Telecommunication Internet & Technology Committee
- Transportation/Land Use and Infrastructure Committee
- Veterans Affairs Committee
Partisan balance 1992-2013
From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Delaware State House of Representatives for five years and the Republicans for 17 years. During the final five years of the study, Delaware was under Democratic trifectas.
Across the country, there were 577 Democratic and 483 Republican State Houses of Representatives from 1992 to 2013.
Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
SQLI and partisanship
The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Delaware state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. For twelve out of the twenty years observed during the study, Delaware ranked in the top-10 of the SQLI ranking. The state dropped out of the top-10 for a period between 1996 and 1999, hitting the rank of 16th before climbing back into the top-10 for eight more years. It again dropped out of the top-10 in 2008 and has remained out of the top rankings since then. Delaware has never had a Republican trifecta, but has had a Democratic trifecta since 2009. In the state’s longest period of divided government, there was a Democratic governor, a Democratic state senate and a Republican state house. Delaware achieved its highest SQLI ranking (3rd) in 2003 and 2004 under divided government, and its lowest ranking (20th) in 2012 under a Democratic trifecta.
- SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 16.75
- SQLI average with Republican trifecta: N/A
- SQLI average with divided government: 7.94
- Official website of the Delaware House of Representatives
- Official list of the current members of the Delaware House of Representatives
- Delaware House of Representatives on Wikipedia
- Delaware General Assembly," "Delaware House of Representatives," accessed December 16, 2013
- U.S. Census Bureau, "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," accessed January 6, 2014
- U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population: 2000," April 2, 2001
- delaware.newszap.com, "Delaware lawmakers to revisit guns, minimum wage," accessed January 15, 2014
- Beaumont Enterprise, "Budget, guns among issues facing Del. lawmakers," January 8, 2013
- Delaware First Media, "Legislators begin to form 2012 agenda," January 8, 2012
- National Conference of State Legislatures "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
- National Association of State Budget Officers "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
- State of Delaware Office of Management and Budget, "Budget and Accounting Policy Manual: Chapter 3 - Delaware's Accounting Framework," accessed April 14, 2014
- Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
- U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
- Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
- Follow the Money: "Delaware House 2010 Campaign Contributions"
- Follow the Money, "Delaware 2008 Candidates," accessed July 8, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Delaware 2006 Candidates," accessed July 8, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Delaware 2004 Candidates," accessed July 8, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Delaware 2002 Candidates," accessed July 8, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Delaware 2000 Candidates," accessed July 8, 2013
- Delaware Legislature, "Delaware Election Code," accessed December 16, 2013(Referenced Statutes § 7101 and § 7104, Delaware Code)
- Delaware Online, "Delaware grows 15 percent, tops 900,000," December 22, 2010
- Sussex Countian, "Redistricting looms in 2011 General Assembly session," January 12, 2011
- Dover Post, "UPDATE: House passes redistricting legislation, Senate vote up next," June 29, 2011
- Rules of the 145th Delaware General Assembly
- Delaware House Leaders
- NCSL.org, "2013 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
- Delaware House committees
State of Delaware
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Treasurer | State Auditor | Secretary of Education | Insurance Commissioner | Secretary of Agriculture | Secretary of Natural Resources and Environmental Control | Secretary of Labor | Delaware Public Service Commission |