By Tyler Micik
The 152nd Delaware General Assembly gaveled into the second and final leg of session this week. As a reminder, any bills that were introduced last year and were not defeated or enacted remain active and carry over to this year. Overall, it was a pretty light week as far as acted-upon legislation goes – only a small number of bills (none of which the State Chamber is following or engaged on) were heard in committee and placed on the full agenda for a vote in both Chambers. Additionally, the Senate did not gavel into session on Wednesday.
Much like the first week of school, this week is a time for legislators, lobbyists, and others to catch up after the long break and welcome new faces. One of those new faces is Representative Valerie Jones Giltner who was sworn into office on Tuesday. Rep. Giltner replaces Rep. Briggs King, who resigned in November, and will represent Delaware’s 37th House District. The State Chamber looks forward to working with her and all the members of the General Assembly this year in support of our 2024 policy priorities.
One issue the State Chamber has its eyes on and will be a topic of conversation in the coming weeks is HB249, known as the DNREC Permit and Fee Increase Bill. The current version was introduced on June 28th and has been assigned to the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee. We expect a substitute bill to be introduced, although it’s unclear what it will look like. As currently written, HB249 proposes 155 permit/fee changes. DNREC is proposing these changes because 92% of the fees have not been adjusted since 1991. The proposed adjustments aim to contribute to funding investments in technology, salaries, and other aspects for the Department.
You can view the bill here and a copy of the fee proposal chart here. Please look at both and let me know if you have any thoughts/feedback. We want to hear from you! And if you’re interested in staying up to date on environmental policy, consider joining our Environmental Committee.