Lawmakers Preview Upcoming Session in Delaware - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Lawmakers Preview Upcoming Session in Delaware

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

DOVER, Del.- It is just four days until the start of the 2013 legislative session in Dover.   

This is going to be a busy year for lawmakers.

The first day is largely a lot pomp, circumstance and ceremony.

After that legislators will start getting down the state's business.

Democrats and Republicans agree the most important item facing lawmakers will be the budget.

House Speaker Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth, said a big part of that will be looking at tax increases put in place in 2009 and set to expire in 2013.

"The bottom line is we have to make a decision," said Schwartzkopf. "On whether to allow these taxes to sunset and go back to 2009 levels or whether to extend the sunset provision for a period of time."

Senate Minority Whip Sen. Greg Lavelle, R-Sharpley, says Delaware made a commitment to that sunset.

"The challenge is that government tends to spend everything we get," he said. "So, there's not a cushion. I'm certainly willing to have that discussion."

Beyond the budget, lawmakers could look at topics ranging from gay marriage to death penalty reform.

And Schwartzkopf says look for what to do about slot machines at places like VFW and American Legion halls to get a lot of discussion.

"We want to take a good hard look at it and see what we can do," he said. "If we can do anything to help, we want to try. But they have to be patient. This is not going to happen very quickly."

Plus, Some are already making proposals connected to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Lavelle expects the governor to weigh in on that issue, too.

"We'll have those discussions and hopefully have rational and reasonable discussions around those issues."

Friday, Sen. Robert Marshall, D-Wilmington, announced he planned to push for an assault weapons ban and allowing cities and counties to impose gun licensing laws in Delaware.

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