House Bill 136
150th General Assembly (Present)
House Administration 5/2/19
Committee Hearing takes place within twelve legislative days.
AN ACT PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO ARTICLE II OF THE DELAWARE CONSTITUTION RELATING TO LIMITATIONS ON THE TIME AND FREQUENCY OF SESSIONS.
This Act is the first leg of a constitutional amendment that would ensure that legislative business is conducted at a reasonable time during a special session to enable the public to monitor and participate in the legislative process. Specifically, this Act: (1) Prohibits the regular session of the General Assembly from extending beyond 7:00 p.m. on the last day of June, unless the session is recalled by the Governor or the presiding officers of both Houses. This changes the time beyond which a regular session of the General Assembly may not extend from midnight on June 30 to 7:00 p.m., which changes the time at which the presiding officers of both Houses must act to recall the General Assembly into special session. This change negates the Supreme Court’s ruling in Opinion of the Justices, 405 A.2d 694 (Del. 1979), that “the General Assembly, by operation of law, is required to stop its session at midnight of June 30th annually and it cannot continue by Legislative initiative unless ‘the session is recalled by . . . the mutual call of the presiding officers of both Houses.’” (2) Requires that a session of a special session adjourn or recess to the call of the chair not later than 11:59 p.m. on June 30, unless otherwise provided by a resolution passed by a 2/3 vote of all members elected to both Houses. (3) Prohibits a session of a special session from being called to order before 9:00 a.m. on any other calendar day or being adjourned or recessed to the call of the chair later than 9:00 p.m. on any other calendar day, unless otherwise provided by a resolution passed by a 2/3 vote of all members elected to both Houses. This Act does not change the date of or process for “final adjournment,” as defined in Opinion of the Justices, 175 A.2d 543, 545 (Del. 1961) (“‘[F]inal adjournment’ . . . means the adjournment sine die of the second regular session, or, in the absence of such adjournment, the extinguishment of the particular General Assembly by reason of expiration of the terms of office of the members.”). In addition, this Act contemplates that the General Assembly will continue its traditional practice of recessing to the call of the chair to enter a temporary recess of a special session, from which a presiding officer may then recall the officer’s House at that officer’s pleasure.
A First Leg amendment must be approved by the next General Assembly to become part of the Constitution. A Second Leg amendment becomes part of the Constitution upon passage of both Chambers of the subsequent General Assembly.