Delaware State Senate
|Delaware State Senate|
|2015 session start:||January 13, 2015|
|Website:||Official Senate Page|
|Senate President:||Vacant (D)|
|Majority Leader:||David McBride (D)|
|Minority leader:||Gary Simpson (R)|
Democratic Party (12)
Republican Party (9)
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||Art II, Section 1, Delaware Constitution|
|Salary:||$41,680/year + $7,334 expenses/year|
|Last Election:||November 4, 2014 (10 seats)|
|Next election:||November 8, 2016|
|Redistricting:||Legislature controls redistricting|
- 1 Sessions
- 2 Ethics and transparency
- 3 Elections
- 4 Senators
- 5 Standing Senate Committees
- 6 History
- 7 External links
- 8 References
The Lieutenant Governor of Delaware serves as the President of the Senate, but only casts a vote when doing so is required to break a tie. When the Lieutenant Governor is not present, the President Pro Tempore -- who is elected by the majority party -- presides over the Senate.
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 Senate 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.
Major issues in the 2015 legislative session include the annual budget, adding e-cigarettes to the Clean Indoor Air Act and gun control. Because the budget is required to be balanced by law and the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council announced a flat revenue projection for the coming year, legislators are expected to have to difficult choices in order to maintain balance.
- 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 Senate 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.
In 2010, the Senate 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.
- See also: Delaware State Senate elections, 2014
Elections for the office of Delaware State Senate 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.
Elections for the office of Delaware State Senate were held in Delaware on November 6, 2012. A total of 21 seats were up for election. Although Delaware senators typically serve four-year terms, they are elected to a two-year term during the first election of the decade. Thus, rather than only half of all senators being up for election, all sitting members were on the ballot in November.
The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.
|2012 Margin of Victory, Delaware State Senate|
|District||Winner||Margin of Victory||Total Votes||Top Opponent|
|District 15||Dave Lawson||2.9%||18,875||Kathleen Cooke|
|District 4||Gregory Lavelle||3.3%||23,568||Michael Katz|
|District 5||Catherine Cloutier||12.4%||22,974||Christopher Counihan|
|District 21||Robert Venables||12.9%||16,031||Bryant Richardson|
|District 6||Ernesto Lopez||13.4%||24,241||Andrew Staton|
|District 19||Brian Pettyjohn||19.6%||16,422||Jane Hovington|
|District 8||David Sokola||21.4%||16,634||William Stritzinger|
|District 12||Nicole Poore||22%||21,355||Dorinda Connor|
|District 14||Bruce Ennis||22.2%||19,683||Scott Unruh|
|District 20||Gerald Hocker||35.9%||21,026||Richard Eakle|
- See also: Delaware State Senate elections, 2010
Elections for the office of Delaware State Senator were held in Delaware on November 2, 2010. Senate seats in ten of Delaware's 21 districts were up for election in 2010. These districts were: 1, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, and 20.
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 Senate before and after the election was as follows:
|Delaware State Senate|
|Party||As of November 1, 2010||After the 2010 Election|
In 2010, the total amount of contributions raised in senate campaigns was $643,813. The top 10 overall contributors were:
|2010 Donors, Delaware State Senate|
|Bodenweisser, Eric R||$26,000|
|Friends to Elect Joe Booth State Representative||$23,832|
|Moritz, John A||$23,295|
|Bunting Jr., George H||$11,500|
|Booth, Joseph W||$10,000|
|Delaware Racing Association||$6,600|
|Delaware Association of Realtors||$5,450|
|Delaware Trial Lawyers Association||$4,800|
- See also: Delaware State Senate elections, 2008
Elections for the office of Delaware State Senate 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 Senate candidates was $1,296,843. The top 10 contributors were:
|2008 Donors, Delaware State Senate|
|Bonini, Colin J||$19,800|
|Delaware Republican Party||$17,000|
|Abbott, Richard L||$16,640|
|Clatworthy, John D||$11,309|
|Delaware Democratic Party||$10,110|
|Cmte to Re-elect David Mcbride||$8,594|
|Carpenters & Joiners Local 626||$6,000|
|Stafford, Harold E||$5,675|
- See also: Delaware State Senate elections, 2006
Elections for the office of Delaware State Senate 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 Senate candidates was $1,144,623. The top 10 contributors were:
|2006 Donors, Delaware State Senate|
|Delaware Republican Party||$|
|Potter Jr, Charles||$|
|Allsopp, Barbara J||$|
|Delaware Education Association||$|
|Delaware Association of Realtors||$|
|Delaware Chiropractic Society||$|
|Delaware Automobile & Truck Dealers Association||$|
|Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 74||$|
- See also: Delaware State Senate elections, 2004
Elections for the office of Delaware State Senate 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 Senate candidates was $963,920. The top 10 contributors were:
|2004 Donors, Delaware State Senate|
|Savage, F Thomas||$30,767|
|Delaware Racing Association||$10,650|
|Delaware Republican Party||$9,000|
|Optometry Eye PAC||$6,200|
|Testerman, James B||$5,665|
|Delaware Chiropractic Society||$5,275|
|Delaware Automobile & Truck Dealers Association||$5,100|
|Delaware Democratic Party||$5,000|
|Delaware Association of Realtors||$4,250|
- See also: Delaware State Senate elections, 2002
Elections for the office of Delaware State Senate 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 Senate candidates was $1,485,767. The top 10 contributors were:
|2002 Donors, Delaware State Senate|
|Copeland, Charles L (Charlie)||$43,200|
|Burton Sr, John S||$32,000|
|New Castle County Democratic Cmte||$16,000|
|Schaeffer, Mark & Ruby||$13,100|
|Schaeffer, Mark G & Ruby K||$10,000|
|Delaware Association of Realtors||$9,395|
|First State Manufactured Housing Association||$9,025|
|Delaware Racing Association||$8,400|
- See also: Delaware State Senate elections, 2000
Elections for the office of Delaware State Senate 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 Senate candidates was $908,155. The top 10 contributors were:
|2000 Donors, Delaware State Senate|
|Delaware Democratic Party||$30,000|
|Mcginchey, William V||$22,631|
|Delaware Republican Party||$13,386|
|Delaware Trial Lawyers Association||$6,000|
|Nonpartisan Citizens for Business Expansion||$5,660|
|Medical Society of Delaware||$5,200|
|Wilmington Police & Fire Pension Task Force||$5,200|
|Delaware State Dental Society||$5,100|
Article II, Section 3 of the Delaware Constitution states: No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained the age of twenty-seven 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 Senatorial 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 Senate, the Senate President 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 Senate is not in session. The date of the election must be set no later than 10 days after a declaration was made.Cite error: Closing
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<ref> tag 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 Senate, Democrats controlled the redistricting process, although Republicans did construct a counter-proposal to Democratic maps. The Senate map was approved on June 30, 2011 by a 15-6 vote. Two districts were merged in the northern part of the state in order to make room for a new southern district.
- See also: Partisan composition of state senates
Senate Composition for the 146th General Assembly :
|Party||As of January 2015|
|Current Leadership, Delaware State Senate|
|President of the Senate||Vacant||Democratic|
|President Pro Tempore of the Senate||Patricia Blevins||Democratic|
|State Senate Majority Leader||David McBride||Democratic|
|State Senate Majority Whip||Margaret Rose Henry||Democratic|
|State Senate Minority Leader||Gary Simpson||Republican|
|State Senate Minority Whip||Gregory Lavelle||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.
List of current members
Senators must be citizens of the United States, have lived in Delaware for three years and been a resident of their respective district for at least one year preceding their election and must be at least 27 years old by the time of their election.
|Current members, Delaware State Senate|
|2||Margaret Rose Henry||Democratic||1995|
|6||Ernesto B. Lopez||Republican||2013|
|15||David G. Lawson||Republican||2011|
|18||F. Gary Simpson||Republican||1999|
Standing Senate Committees
The Delaware Senate has 24 standing committees.
- Administrative Services/Elections
- Adult & Juvenile Corrections
- Children, Youth & Families
- Community/County Affairs
- Energy & Transit
- Health & Social Services
- Highways & Transportation
- Labor & Industrial Relations
- Legislative Council
- Natural Resources & Environmental Control
- Permanent Rules
- Public Safety
- Small Business
- Veterans Affairs
Partisan balance 1992-2013
Throughout every year from 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Delaware State Senate. The Delaware State Senate is 1 of 16 state senates that was Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. During the final five years of the study, Delaware was under Democratic trifectas.
Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates 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
- Delaware State Legislature, "Senate term limits," 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
- WDEL, "Delaware's finances likely to be a major focus at Leg Hall in 2015," January 23, 2015
- 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
- 2010 session dates for Delaware legislature
- 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 Senate 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
- Sussex Countian, "Redistricting looms in 2011 General Assembly session," January 12, 2011
- The Republic, "Delaware lawmakers approve legislative redistricting plan for state House, Senate," June 30, 2011
- Delaware Online, "General Assembly's pace picks up in late-night flurry," July 1, 2011
- NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
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 |