6 top issues Delaware lawmakers will tackle this year: Quick cheat sheet




The Delaware General Assembly will start its 2021 legislative session on Tuesday grappling with declining revenue, a pandemic and long list of new and postponed issues from last year’s truncated session.


Here's a quick look at some of the top issues:


Pandemic relief


Pandemic related bills could include additional financial relief to businesses and the unemployed, including waving taxes on unemployment benefits and making vote by mail permanent.


Police reform


Police reform will also be on the table, though it's unclear what legislation will surface from a recently formed police accountability task force. The task force was created by the General Assembly after violent protests in Wilmington and Dover in May following the death of George Floyd.


Minimum wage


Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour will be back on the table after Democrats failed to move the proposal out of the Senate last session.


Gun control


The General Assembly is also expected to return to debating gun control after progressives last session failed to pass three bills that would have banned certain semi-automatic weapons, capped to the size of magazines that hold more than 15 rounds and required a permit to buy and own a gun.


Marijuana


Delaware is feeling pressure to legalize marijuana after New Jersey voters in November overwhelmingly approved it, making it more likely that First State residents will drive across the bridge and funnel tax revenue to the state next door.


Budget


While revenue projections have improved since the start of the pandemic, the state is still forecasting a loss. The state may look into spending $50 million for clean water infrastructure and restoring the savings that lawmakers dipped into last year to shore up the pandemic's toll on revenues.



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