by James DeChene
This week in Dover the major bill impacting the business community was SB105, which will raise Delaware’s minimum wage to $15. We started off the week hosting a teletown hall with over 50 members joining to hear the latest on timing and strategies, and a number of businesses joined us in Dover to make comment on the bill at the Senate Labor Committee. The stories business leaders shared during the committee meeting were compelling and varied, and included entities ranging from nonprofits to small and medium sized businesses from bakeries to a small business sign maker. Ultimately the bill was released from committee and has now been assigned to Senate Finance Committee due the bill’s significant fiscal note. If you have not taken the opportunity to contact your senator on this bill, I urge you to do so by visiting our Action Network page.
Other bills of note: The passage of a Chamber-backed bill in SB61, which would create a Transportation Infrastructure Investment Fund (TIFF) to help expedite commercial and industrial development projects. Released out of committee was SB74. This bill would make a technical change to the New Economy Jobs credit making it easier and more likely businesses will be able to take advantage of the credit.
Moving forward, there are 7(!) legislative days left this session. DEFAC will meet next Wednesday to announce the final forecast numbers that will dictate how much money will be allocated to the bond and grant-in-aid bills.
members testifying against sb105 on june 12:
DelDOT would like to invite you to participate in the upcoming Phase 2 Mileage-Based User Fee (MBUF) pilot.
Delaware is the lead state for a pilot project through the I-95 Corridor Coalition to determine the feasibility of replacing the state fuel tax with a mileage-based user fee. The main purpose of the pilot is to provide a better understanding of how a MBUF might work in our region given the potential for out-of-state mileage and toll interoperability challenges. Delaware is recruiting 450 participants.
Participation will include having a plug-in device – with or without location – installed in your vehicle’s on board diagnostic (OBD) port to track mileage (you will be able to choose the method). Mileage and fuel usage will be based on vehicle data obtained from the plug-in device. Location information will be used to differentiate the mileage by the state in which the vehicle was driven, and also provides enhanced driver amenities. A mock monthly “invoice” will be generated to show mileage traveled and what the MBUF would be based on those miles. The entire pilot project will be a simulated mock process and no funds will be involved at any point.
The pilot is scheduled to begin in July and sign-ups are underway now to get participants registered so they can receive their plug-in devices in time. If you’re willing to participate, please use this link to sign-up as a volunteer by June 18: http://eepurl.com/gmHUR5. Please feel free to forward this to family and friends as well. We want to get a diverse cross-section of participants.
You can find more information about MBUF at https://www.i95coalitionmbuf.org/. If you have questions about the pilot, please contact Shanté Hastings at email@example.com.
by James DeChene
This week was the first in the four-week sprint to June 30. Highlights this week included: HB110, the legalization of marijuana bill was released out of House Revenue and Finance committee. DSCC remains opposed to the bill for reasons such as restrictions in how employers can create employment policies surrounding marijuana use, the current difficulty for employers finding qualified applicants that can pass a drug screen (which we think will be exacerbated by legalization) and the lack of a spot test for impairment.
SB105, the bill that would raise Delaware’s minimum wage to $11 in January 2020 and then by a dollar each year until it hits $15 in 2024 (with an imbedded escalator to raise with cost of living), was tabled in committee this week, HOWEVER, it will be heard in Senate Labor Committee next Wednesday, June 12. This will be one of the Key Votes (along with HB110) that DSCC will be using when making the decision on whether to support candidates.
Also this week was the State Chamber’s End-of-Session Brunch. Attendees heard from Tim Holly, chair of the DSCC Employer Advocacy Committee, on HB110, from Gary Stockbridge, DSCC Chairman, Chair of the Delaware Workforce Development Board (DWDB) and President of Delmarva Power, on what the DWDB is up to and how members can help in workforce training. We then heard from Solomon Adote from the Delaware Department on Technology & Information on the Cyber Security Council and the work they are doing to develop best practices on how to combat cybersecurity threats.
Rounding out the morning were remarks from House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf on what to expect in June, including legislation on clean water, medical and recreational marijuana, education investments and how the state budget is shaping up. Senate President David McBride offered his perspective including acknowledging efforts by the General Assembly and the State Chamber to help provide economic development opportunities in Delaware. He also discussed what the Senate will be working on, including minimum wage in committee, education and transportation infrastructure investment
James DeChene is the Chamber's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.