|Before a bill is presented to the full chamber and voted on, any legislator has the opportunity to propose amendments. Once an amendment is introduced, all legislators in that chamber vote on it. If it passes, it is added to the bill.
The first two amendments to HB 305 were from Democrat legislators and each passed. Then, Rep. Mike Smith, a Republican in New Castle County, proposed four amendments back-to-back that would be sensible additions. However, each amendment was quickly voted down by every Democrat legislator.
At one point, a newer legislator, Rep. Moore (D), mistakenly voted yes to one of Rep. Smith’s (R) amendments, to which you could hear chuckles from her colleagues as she fixed her “mistake” and quickly changed her vote to a “no.”
A couple minutes later, Rep. Chuckwuocha (D) was having audio issues and didn’t hear which amendments were being voted on – so he asked. That’s when I heard House Leader Rep. Longhurst (D) say in response, “Tell him it’s Rep. Smith, then he’ll know.”
In other words, vote no, because it’s an “R” amendment.
After his four amendments were heard, Rep. Smith made the final closing comment, which felt like a “mic drop moment.”
He stated strongly that he’d been planning to vote for legalization, knowing that a 3/5 vote was needed to pass it (3/5 needed because the bill has financial implications). His vote was needed especially since every other Republican lawmaker was voting no.
But, he changed his mind after the demonstration of extreme partisanship after introducing his four needed and reasonable amendments. Not even a consideration was given by Democrat colleagues.