Taylor Hawk - Policy Director, Delaware Senate Majority Caucus
Jesse Chadderdon - Chief of Staff, Delaware Senate Majority Democratic Caucus
Ms Hawk and Mr Chadderdon discussed recent policy victories and ongoing policy work.
Recent victories include: the creation of new district maps – now in the hands of the Department of Elections; Passage of SB 12, which opened up the SEED Act to Delaware adults who are not high-school graduates; and raising the minimum wage.
They reported that there is now a huge legislative agenda. The top legislative item is SB 1 – paid family and medical leave. They reported that there is a lot of momentum on the bill and they are working to get Governor’s support.
They are now working on some housing and education reform. Including right to counsel for tenants facing eviction, early childcare funding, and education equity. Police reform and accountability are on the agenda. A taskforce on aging in place is working on possible legislation.
Other items of note included: Last year was the most active first year in recent history and the most publicly transparent year in history. The transitioned to virtual sessions and virtual hearings saw a 100% increase in participation.
Audience concerns centered around gun legislation: SB 3 which is now in the House requires a permit to purchase. SB 6 – passed Senate. Would limit size of magazine. 17 rounds
The audience also raised over-development and environment questions: The speakers responded that the environmental Conversation is becoming more wholistic. Senator Pickney from New Castle is working with Senator Hansen to make sure environmental legislation includes environmental justice.
The audience also asked about the most effective ways for citizens to be involved. The speakers responded:
Primary voting democrats have an outsized voice. Vote in primaries to have real influence– politicians care. Calling/emailing matters – but also getting others to do it. Bring new people to the table. Data helps. Legislators tend to hear the loudest voices. Some rely on antidotal evidence. We need data and we need stories. Come to committee hearings. Easy to participate.
There is a caucus website that is kept updated on legislative issues, actions and hearings. When we’re in session – notices of next week committee meetings go up on Thursday and Friday. We would love more direct communication
We ‘ve got to win an election down here and we have a really good chance to win one down here. Have to win this seat. Our leadership will be here to help. We know that we have a super majority because of the support you gave us… flip the 6th and maybe the 20th…. Once we do that, people will listen more