By Tyler Micik
Today wraps up a busy week in Dover. Of note was the Senate’s passage of House Bill 1 (HB1) and House Bill 2 (HB2), legalization of recreational marijuana. Both bills now move to Governor Carney for signature.
The Governor vetoed the bill last year and it’s uncertain whether he will again. If the Governor were to veto the bill, it’s likely the General Assembly would have the required number of votes to override his decision. A veto can be overridden with a three-fifths majority vote in both chambers, meaning the General Assembly would need 13 votes in the Senate and 25 in the House in favor of the legislation to override a veto. HB1 passed the Senate by a vote of 16 to 4 and in the House by 28 to 13. HB2 passed the Senate by a vote of 15 to 5 and the House by 27 to 13. Both bills already received several votes over the three-fifths needed in both chambers to override a potential veto—assuming those in favor don’t switch their vote in response to the Governor's decision. It’s also possible the Governor could take no action; in which case the bill would still become law.
So far, 21 states—along with Washington, D.C. and Guam--have legalized recreational marijuana. Should Delaware become the 22nd state, next steps will be for the state to stand up the structure laid out in the legislation to regulate the new industry. HB2, specifically, establishes a marijuana commissioner position under the Department of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement, which would also be expanded to create an Office of the Marijuana Commissioner and Appeals Commission.
Today, the State Chamber was glad to see the package of four bills related to Ready in 6 were introduced. They are House Bill 101, 102, 103, and 104. The State Chamber supports these bills because they are an important part of the Ready in 6 initiative and a crucial step in improving and speeding up the permitting process for economic development projects in Delaware. All four bills have been assigned to House Economic Development/Banking/Insurance & Commerce Committee. HB102 and HB104 have been placed on the committee’s agenda for Wednesday, April 5th at 12pm.
Senate Bill 51, known as the polystyrene bill, saw movement this week as well. The Act prohibits food establishments from providing consumers with ready-to-eat food or beverages in polystyrene foam containers or with single-service plastic coffee stirrers, cocktail picks, or sandwich picks. It also prohibits food establishments from providing single-service plastic straws, unless requested by a consumer. The bill was released from the Senate Environment, Energy, & Transportation Committee on Wednesday and is now on the senate ready list. The State Chamber testified in opposition to the bill.
The State Chamber is engaged in conversations and continues to follow other legislation such as the Climate Change Solutions Act and Data Privacy Bill—both of which have yet to be reintroduced this session, but we’ve received draft copies of the bills. If you have any comments or questions about the bills the State Chamber is following, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.