If last week was any indication of what’s in store over the final days of session – buckle up. Several bills saw movement and more continue to be introduced late and some without stakeholder or industry input. Additionally, Senate committee meetings remain virtual, and the public comment portion of the meetings in both the House and Senate are often cut short due to packed agendas and time restraints – sometimes leaving the public and the business community with little input in the policy and decision-making process. Policies that if passed, will have vast implications for not only businesses, but all Delawareans.
Bills that saw movement included:
HB262 – The Data Broker and Consumer Protection Act. The bill was heard in Senate Banking, Business, & Insurance Committee but has yet to be released from Committee. The State Chamber testified in opposition to the bill. The Department of Justice has no data to validate a problem in the business community exists nor does the Department have a record of consumer complaints. Additionally, the bill goes far beyond what any other state has done and even privacy advocates view this proposal as a vast expansion of privacy law.
HB435 – The Community Workforce Agreement Act. The bill was released from House Labor. The State Chamber submitted written comment in opposition. The bill mandates that all public works projects over $3 million be subject to a Community Workforce Agreement (CWA). Meaning, all contractors and subcontractors would have to sign an agreement with organized labor to perform work on said projects. Government contracting should be based on sound, credible criteria. Public officials have a duty to be fiscally responsible and avoid favoritism in the procurement process. This is a problem for many reasons, but two are most obvious. The first is the fact that workers will come from outside of Delaware to work these jobs. That means these workers will earn wages working on Delaware projects and return home to places like New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or Maryland where they’ll use their hard-earned income to improve their homes and neighborhoods. How does that benefit working-class neighborhoods in Newark, Wilmington, Dover, or Bear? Put simply, it doesn’t and that’s not fair. The second reason is price and quality. All Delawareans deserve the right to earn a paycheck and have equal access to state work, regardless of organizational membership. Open competition and competitive bidding for all public projects ensures contracts are awarded to those who will do the best work at the best price.
HB371 – Legalization of Recreational Marijuana. The bill is half of Representative Osienski’ s two-part approach to legalizing recreational marijuana and regulating and taxing it in the same manner as alcohol. HB371 removes all penalties for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, except for those who are under 21 years of age. The bill was vetoed by Governor Carney. A motion to override the Governor’s veto was defeated in the House by a vote of 20 in favor, 20 opposed, and 1 not voting. Both bills, HB371 & HB372 now remain dead until next year when they can be reintroduced.
SB305 – The Delaware Climate Change Solutions Act. The bill establishes a statutory requirement of greenhouse gas emissions reductions over the medium and long term to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions on the State, establishing a mandatory and regularly updated plan to achieve those emissions reductions and develop resilience strategies for the State, and requires State agencies to address climate change in decision-making and rulemaking. This is a major piece of legislation that will impact Delaware’s economy, and by extension manufacturers for years to come. The bill was introduced late without industry input and passed the Senate in four days. The bill now moves to the House Natural Resources Committee and has been placed on the agenda for this Thursday, June 16 at 1pm. You can register for the meeting here.
HB466 – Environmental Permits in Overburdened Communities. The Act defines certain facilities which will require an applicant seeking a permit for a new facility, or expansion of an existing facility, or renewal of an existing permit, located in an overburdened community, as defined in the Act, to provide an environmental justice impact report. The bill has been introduced and assigned to House Natural Resources Committee. It’s likely the bill could be placed on this Thursday’s agenda.
HB77 – Prohibition of Harmful Flame Retardants. The Act prohibits the manufacture, sale, or distribution of children's products, upholstered furniture used in residences, and mattresses that contain harmful flame retardant chemicals. The bill passed the House and now moves to the Senate Environment & Energy Committee. It’s on the committee’s agenda for Wednesday, June 15 at 1pm. You can register for the meeting here.
HB448 – Accessible Parking Spaces. Act adds provisions in Titles 9 and 22 to require county and municipal governments to adopt regulations and ordinances incorporating requirements for accessible parking spaces, including the requirement that property owners have a permit and process to ensure compliance for new or modified accessible parking spaces, to increase compliance and uniformity statewide. The bill has been assigned to House Public Safety and & Homeland Security Committee.
SB134 – Polystyrene Ban. Bill prohibits food establishments from providing consumers with a single-service plastic coffee stirrer, cocktail pick, or sandwich pick or with ready-to-eat food or a beverage in polystyrene containers. Also prohibits food establishments from providing single-service plastic straws, unless requested by a consumer. The bill passed the Senate and has been assigned to House Economic Development/Banking/Insurance & Commerce Committee.
The State Chamber will continue to review and work these bills as the legislative session draws nearer to its June 30 close. Please direct feedback to me at email@example.com.