DOVER — Marking contributions of the late Gov. Ruth Ann Minner and Sen. Robert Venables, saluting the law enforcement community and applauding Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s lasting impact, the second session of the 151st Delaware General Assembly commenced Tuesday in the state Senate.
On opening day, senators were unanimous in approving those four concurrent resolutions in a roughly 40-minute session conducted virtually. Other than occasional technical difficulties, the meeting appeared to proceed smoothly.
The 21 senators came together but remained physically apart due to overriding COVID-19 concern. They’ll reconvene remotely Wednesday at 4 p.m.
In an opening address, Senate President Pro Tempore Dave Sokola, a Newark Democrat, explained that “we are in virtual format because of the extraordinary circumstances. Our hospitals are all in an emergency state of care, which is unprecedented here in Delaware. We are doing all we can to try to do our part to reduce the pandemic, and we have shown in the past that we can govern during these circumstances and can do so effectively with significant input from the general public and with a healthy debate during the sessions.”
He added, “I cannot wait to get back to general session and to see each and every one of you in person, but I think this is the prudent thing to do at this time.”
Following those remarks, the resolutions were introduced, beginning with a tribute to Gov. Minner, about whom Sen. Colin Bonini, a Dover Republican, said, “To achieve what she achieved and be the first in so many (ways), ... it’s an amazing American story.” Gov. Minner died in November.
The late Sen. Venables, who passed away in December, drew plaudits from Sen. Bryant Richardson, a Seaford Republican, who emphasized that he fostered projects and programs that will benefit the area for years to come. “Sen. Venables was a true statesman,” he said.
Sen. Nicole Poore, a New Castle Democrat, lauded his contributions to economic development.
The resolution citing Dr. King honored his life and achievements. In introduction, Sen. Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman, D-Wilmington, noted that, with Dr. King’s birthday Saturday and Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, the GA session “gives us an opportunity to reflect on what he stood for, his vision and commitment to justice on all fronts, whether it be racial (or socioeconomic) and all the meaningful actions he took in order to uplift his fellow man.”
The senators unanimously affirmed Jan. 9 as Law Enforcement Appreciation Day in Delaware, with Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown, introducing the measure and saying, “Our men and women in blue sacrifice so much to protect our communities and deserve all the thanks and appreciation we can give.”