Deadline looms over Delaware lawmakers

 (file/NewsWorks)

(file/NewsWorks)

Today is the last day for Delaware lawmakers to pass legislation before the end of the 147th General Assembly’s two-year session.

Lawmakers are expected to work into the early morning hours to pass bills before the July 1 deadline.

State leaders have already passed the $3.8 billion fiscal year 2015 budget bill, but have yet to approve the Bond Bill or Grant-in-Aid.

A bill that some lawmakers have called a “bailout” for the state’s three casinos is expected to take center stage tonight. 

Senate Bill 220 would provide the state’s three ailing casinos with $9.9 million in relief, by requiring the state to split the slot machine vendor fees with the gaming facilities. 

The Senate passed the bill after a lengthy debate last week. On Monday afternoon, Rep. Dennis Williams, D-Talleyville, added a new amendment to the legislation which will require the casinos to pay back the money if they layoff more than 3 percent of their workforce. The bill is now in the hands of the House of Representatives. 

Several other bills including repealing the death penalty, decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana, and allowing same-day voting registration gained momentum earlier in the session. However, those bills have lost the attention of lawmakers as the state grappled with the tight budget.

This is the last chance for those items to be passed. If they are not brought up tonight, they will expire and have to be re-introduced next year.

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