Last Month in Dover
By Tyler Micik
The 152nd General Assembly gaveled into session last month and several bills were introduced that are noteworthy.
HB1 & HB2: Legalization of Recreational Marijuana
This is the return of Rep. Osienski's two-part approach to legalize and tax recreational marijuana in the same manner as alcohol. HB1 removes all penalties for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana and HB2 is the “regulation and tax” piece. The State Chamber testified in opposition to HB2 as written when the bill was heard in the House Revenue and Finance Committee and requested the agreed upon language relating to the impact of legalization and regulation on employers and employees from last year be added back into the bill. Some companies have federal contracts, and the federal government insists on a zero-tolerance policy. Similarly, regardless of whether companies have federal contracts, they simply want the ability to maintain their own policies without state laws or regulations superseding company policy. The amendment gives employers the flexibility to keep and maintain their policies regarding drugs and alcohol. Osienski agreed to add the language back into the bill after the hearing. Both bills were released from Committee.
State Chamber Position: Neutral based on amended language
Status: HB1 now moves to the House for a full vote and HB2 has been assigned to House Appropriations
SB35: Bond and Capital Improvements (Mini-Bond)
Controversy over the bill ensued because the bill's epilogue language called for the creation of a pilot program under the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and DelDOT, which mandates project labor agreements (PLAs) on state funded construction projects. The bill targets six projects: Hodgson school; DNREC Lab; Hospital for the Chronically Ill; OMB Food Building; and two DelDOT projects which have not been identified yet. All four OMB projects contain PLAs, while only one project (Hodgson) included a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) requirement.
The State Chamber worked with the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and the Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce (DEBCC) to push for several amendments such as removing the PLA requirements, placing DBE requirements on all projects, and requiring that all projects be completed by bona fide legal residents of the State to ensure Delawareans were the ones benefiting from the projects but all amendments were defeated.
State Chamber Position: Opposed
Status: Signed by the Governor on January 26, 2023
Other bills that saw movement:
HB49: Unemployment Benefits and Employer Assessments - Provides post-pandemic related relief to both claimants receiving unemployment benefits and employers who are assessed unemployment taxes. The bill increases the maximum weekly benefit amount payable to claimants seeking unemployment compensation benefits from the Delaware Department of Labor, Division of Unemployment Insurance from $400 per week to $450 per week. The funds necessary to pay the increased weekly benefit amounts will be paid from the Unemployment Trust Fund.
State Chamber Position: Neutral
Status: Signed by the Governor on January 26, 2023
HB36: Realty Transfer Tax - Decreases by 1% the rate of the realty transfer tax to be received by the State, thereby returning it to the rate that was applicable prior to August 1, 2017. It also makes technical corrections to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual. This Act will apply to documents recorded and permits applied for after the effective date of the Act.
State Chamber Position: Support
Status: Released from House Revenue & Finance Committee on 1/24 and assigned to House Appropriations
HB41: Digital Right to Repair - Currently when an electronic product such as a phone or electronic game breaks, it is only allowed to be repaired by the manufacturer. Parts are not available whether you are a consumer or a local repair shop. This Act requires the manufacturer to make parts, documentation, tools, and updates available on fair and reasonable terms.
State Chamber Position: Engaged and gathering feedback
Status: Assigned to Economic Development/Banking/Insurance & Commerce Committee
HB55: Homeless Bill of Rights - Ensures that all individuals, regardless of housing status, have equal opportunity to live in decent, safe, sanitary, and healthful accommodations and enjoy equal opportunities. It sets forth the rights of individuals experiencing homelessness and creates a process by which the State Human and Civil Rights Commission and the Division of Human Relations may accept and investigate complaints of discriminatory treatment, attempt conciliation, and refer enforcement actions to the Department of Justice where necessary.
State Chamber Position: Engaged and gathering feedback
Status: Assigned to House Judiciary Committee
In addition to these bills there are several environmental proposals floating around, which the State Chamber is monitoring and engaging in conversations with our members. It’s important for all businesses, large and small, and their employees to be aware of these proposals and start getting involved in the conversation because they will have lasting impacts for all Delawareans. These proposals include:
Delaware Climate Change Solutions Act: Commonly known last session as SB305, this places the Governor's Climate Action plan into law and regulation. A bill has not been introduced yet this year, but one is expected soon. Two sets of recommendations have been sent to DNREC Secretary Garvin, Sen. Hansen, and Rep. Heffernan on behalf of the State Chamber, New Castle County Chamber, and our members.
Zero Emissions Vehicles: In March 2022, Governor Carney directed DNREC to promulgate regulations to implement California’s Advanced Clean Car II standards – joining 13 other states surrendering their transportation policy autonomy to CA. Although Delaware meets EPA standards in all three counites, it does not meet CA standards in New Castle County (per monitoring station in Bucks County, PA). Given this, DNREC plans to adopt regulations that by 2035, all new passenger cars, trucks, and SUVs sold in Delaware will be required to be zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). So, what does this mean? It appears that beginning in Model Year 2026 (Fall 2025), 35% of all new cars sold in Delaware will need to be zero-emissions. By Fall 2031, over three-quarters of all cars sold will be required to be ZEVs, with the sale of new gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles banned by late 2034.
New Castle County 2050 Economic Development Plan: New Castle County Department of Land Use is holding meetings to seek public input regarding the 2050 NCC Comprehensive Plan. According to the County, the objective is “to develop policies and programs to create an economic environment that supports a range of industries while ensuring policy is based on leveraging equitable and robust outcomes that limit or mitigate negative community impacts."
The State Chamber is looking for feedback from members on how any of these proposals may impact you. Please direct feedback to email@example.com.
The General Assembly is in recess through the month of February for Joint Finance Committee meetings. They will return on Tuesday, March 7. This is a good time to engage with legislators by phone, Zoom, or schedule a visit to your office. The State Chamber can help. Contact Tyler Micik for assistance.
Reflecting on 2022
By Michael J. Quaranta
The new normal is not the old normal or whatever that was! This year started off with a new variant of COVID-19—Omicron—and the postponement of our Annual Dinner. Supply chain woes slowly began to resolve themselves but still persist. International disruptions were experienced as a direct result of the Russian invasion of the Ukraine and created roiling energy markets and more. The Federal Reserve Bank raised the federal funds rate multiple times to spell inflation concerns, while borrowing costs surged for consumers and businesses alike.
These and other challenges served as a backdrop for State Chamber members who continue to wrestle with workforce scarcity. As Baby Boomers continue to reach retirement eligibility at a pace of 10,000 per day—a rate that will not relent until 2029—employers face enormous pressure to fill jobs. Without the immediate relief that could come from a strategic immigration policy; changes to Social Security wage laws that restrict
the income of older workers; or elected leaders doing more to meet the emergency of job vacancies in industries like health care, teaching, technology, and the building trades, technology will march on and idle more of us without in-demand skills.
If nothing else, 2022 proved that we have work to do and precious little time to waste. Workforce remains a top priority for the business community, as does the speed with which permitting decisions are made. We need policymakers to be a partner in solving these challenges and recognize that business cycles are moving faster than ever. We also need to recognize that new laws and regulations, while created separately, have an accumulated effect on businesses and that oftentimes is a fact that goes under appreciated.
Now more than ever it is important for each of us to invite elected officials into your place of business—be it an office, store, factory, or school—and help them understand what you do, how you do it, the supplies you
need to accomplish your end-product, who your customers are, and how incredibly valuable your employees are to your success.
Policymakers are called upon to make decisions on a wide range of issues every day, and there is no possible way they can fully appreciate the impacts the choices they make will have on you and your colleagues. That’s why it is so important for you to establish those relationships early and continue sharing updates as your priorities change, customers grow, or supplies run dry. They cannot make good decisions with limited information. This is why you are such a critical link to better policy outcomes.
Politics in Delaware are changing, and it follows then that the decisions made will be different too. Your participation and involvement will help shape the outcome in the new year and beyond. I’m certain of that.
By Tyler Micik
The State Chamber’s Employer Advocacy Committee met in late October for their quarterly meeting. The committee was joined by Chris Counihan, Delaware Department of Labor’s (DOL) Paid Family and Medical Leave implementation manager. Counihan joined the Department in August with the task of setting up the new insurance program, along with a new division within the DOL to administer it. The new division will add between 35 to 60 employees to the Department, and they expect to be fully staffed by 2025.
Counihan discussed a few details within the Paid Family and Medical Leave Program—who is covered, when
the program begins, and when benefits are available. Some important dates for employers to be aware of:
Additionally, Counihan asked committee members for ideas on how the program could be set up, so the
system is simple and smooth for both employers and their employees to use.
One topic considered was eliminating double entry of information. In addition to passing the Healthy Delaware Families Act (PFML), the General Assembly also passed Delaware EARNS, which establishes a State-run voluntary employee IRA savings program. Both programs start the same day—January 1, 2025. Similarly, both require the creation of two new programs within two separate departments, one within the DOL and other in the State Treasurer’s office. Considering this, our members suggested creating a “one stop” system where employers can go to input information once for both programs.
Small businesses have limited resources and creating a system that gives employers the ability to input
information once for a variety of programs, such as PFML and EARNS, is important because it streamlines the process and saves employers valuable time and resources.
Taking the committee’s suggestion into consideration, after the meeting, Counihan held a preliminary meeting with the State Treasurer’s office to create a single data entry point for both programs. Additionally, they will be extending this initiative so that it becomes part of the DOL’s Unemployment Insurance and Workers Comp modernization efforts. There are also conversations on looping in the Department of Revenue so that all these programs and taxes are submitted through one entry point.
If you would like to participate in the Employer Advocacy Committee, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Tyler Micik
TO MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY:
On behalf of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, please accept our sincerest congratulations on your success in the November elections and best wishes as you begin the 152nd Delaware General Assembly.
The State Chamber is the state’s largest business advocacy organization—representing employers and their employees. We hope that your body of work in 2023 will position Delaware for success, and we look forward to working with you. In that spirit we submit to you our policy priorities, which you can find here (and below) and on our website. It includes items we believe need action. Our policy priorities are a coordinated list of feedback from our members, which includes businesses of all sizes and industries across the state.
TO OUR MEMBERS:
It’s important to note that nine new legislators were elected in November. That includes three seats in the Senate and six in the House. Six of the nine seats were open following the retirements of Representatives David Bentz, Andria Bennett, John Kowalko, and Senators Bruce Ennis and Ernie Lopez. Additionally, two other seats were open after Representative Steve Smyk chose to run for State Senate instead of his House seat, and an extra seat was created in central Sussex County after redistricting. The nine newly elected legislators are: Russ Huxtable (SD 6), Kyra Hoffner (SD 14), Eric Buckson (SD 16), Jeff Hilovsky (RD 4), DeShanna Neal (RD 13), Sophie Phillips (RD 18), Stell Parker Selby (RD 20), Cyndie Romer (RD 25), and Kerri Evelyn Harris (RD 32).
The makeup of Democrats to Republicans in the House will remain the same at 26 (D) to 15 (R). In the Senate, Democrats picked up one seat, strengthening their majority to 15 and reducing the Republican Caucus to six.
The House Democratic Caucus will remain the same with Pete Schwartzkopf as Speaker of the House and Valerie Longhurst as Majority Leader. Melissa Minor-Brown has been named the new Majority Whip, replacing Larry Mitchell who lost his primary. The Senate Democratic Caucus remains the same with President Pro Tempore David Sokola, Majority Leader Bryan Townsend, and Majority Whip Elizabeth Lockman. On the Republican side, the House will see new leadership with Mike Ramone as Minority Leader and Lyndon Yearick as Minority Whip. The Senate Minority Caucus remains the same with Gerald Hocker as
Minority Leader and Brian Pettyjohn as Minority Whip.
Overall, voter turnout was down this year. According to the Delaware Department of Elections, approximately 325,620 ballots were cast out of 762,908 registered voters—that’s a 42.68% turnout. In 2018, the last midterm election cycle, 52.2% of eligible Delawareans voted.
Thomas Jefferson once said: “We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.” Whatever your opinions may be on Delaware’s elections, the results are in, and the 152nd General Assembly convenes on January 10. The State Chamber will continue to do our part to help bridge all sides and advocate for Delaware employers and their employees. But we need you to participate! Schedule a meeting with a legislator, testify at a committee hearing, or join a State Chamber committee. The policy decisions made over the next six months will have an impact on you, your employees, and Delaware’s future.
To learn more about the election results and implications, the State Chamber’s policy priorities for 2023, or join a committee, please reach out to me at email@example.com.
By Tyler Micik
In January, we’ll see nine new faces in Legislative Hall—three in the Senate and six in the House. Six of the nine seats were open following the retirements of Representatives David Bentz, Andria Bennett, John Kowalko, and Senators Bruce Ennis and Ernie Lopez. Additionally, two other seats were open after Rep. Steve Smyk chose to run for State Senate instead of his House seat, and an extra seat was created in central Sussex County after redistricting. The nine newly elected legislators are:
It's important to note that the makeup of Democrats to Republicans in the House will remain the same at 26 (D) to 15 (R). In the Senate, Democrats picked up one seat, strengthening their majority to 15 and reducing the Republican Caucus to 6.
OTHER RESULTS INCLUDE:
Overall, voter turnout was down this year. Approximately, 325,620 ballots were cast on Tuesday out of 762,908 registered voters--that’s a 42.68% turnout. In 2018, the last midterm election cycle, 52.2% of eligible Delawareans voted.
A complete list of the election results can he found here. The State Chamber will share information regarding leadership decisions and committee assignments as that information becomes available. If you have any questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*As of November 9, these results have not yet been validated by the Department of Elections. Percentages are approximations.
THE POWER OF PARTNERSHIPS
By Helana Rodriguez
Did you know Delaware vo-tech medical assistant students lack access to pediatric-training?
While Delaware’s students are receiving quality education and graduating career ready, there are still many career paths that are either overlooked or lack the partnerships needed to create settings and experiences for students to gain hands-on experience and exposure to careers like pediatric care.
But there’s good news! Through programs like our Delaware Principal for a Day program, tremendous opportunities are expanding for our students.
Hosted by the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce’s workforce development affiliate—The Partnership, Inc.—Delaware Principal for a Day facilitated 80 visits in 61 schools across the state last week. The program has been creating strong connections between educators and the business community for over 30 years, and with a reimagined focus this year, schools and business leaders were strategically matched to help facilitate intentional and impactful partnerships.
An example of one of these pairings is Nemours Children’s Health who visited two vocational-technical high schools, Delcastle Technical High School and St. George’s Vocational Technical High School. These matches were made with the intention to foster discussions around the integration of pediatric training in our schools.
They aren’t the only long-term partnership resulting from the program. By identifying the needs of the participating schools in five focus areas, The Partnership paired each school with a business leader who has a unique skill set to support in the identified area.
Five focus areas:
1. Basics of Project Management (Time Management, Teamwork + Delegating tasks)
2. Job Readiness (Soft Skills, Resume + Interview prep)
3. Mentorship and Internship Opportunities
4. Program/Club Development
5. Personal Finance Training (Budgeting, Credit Cards, Interest, etc.)
Our business community was able to see first-hand the transformative and innovative workforce development programs that already exist in our schools. They also had the opportunity to share with students their own professional experiences; define what job readiness means in their industry; discuss open job and co-op opportunities; hear from principals, educators, and counselors; and much more.
The climate of our workforce is ever evolving. Now more than ever, it’s imperative for our education and business communities to invest in the next generation of prospective employees—together.
Please reach out to me at email@example.com if you want to be a part of developing our future workforce! We want you at the table.
By Tyler Micik
JOHN F. KENNEDY ONCE SAID, “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer.” At the time of writing this article, six weeks remain before the General Election. While we may not be able to accurately predict the outcomes on November 8, the primary election results continued a movement towards Democrats nominating more progressive candidates.
Of note, progressive Representatives Eric Morrison and Madinah Wilson-Anton defeated their opponents. In four open seats, a more progressive Democrat won against a more moderate challenger. Kyra Hoffner (SD 14), Sophie Phillips (RD 18), Cyndie Romer (RD 25), and Kerri Evelyn Harris (RD 32) all won their races. Moderate Democrats won too. Representatives Debra Heffernan, Nnamdi Chukwuocha, and Stephanie Bolden successfully defended their seats. Lastly, DeShanna Neal beat House Majority Whip Larry Mitchell by 44 votes. The big question now is what does this mean for businesses and their employees?
In January, we expect to see at least eight new legislators in the General Assembly and possibly more after the General Election. Add to that possible changes in leadership and committee assignments and that means significant changes in policy choices impacting Delawareans. New legislators bring fresh perspectives and a sense of eagerness, but many have limited business experience and institutional knowledge of Legislative Hall. Expect for many of these new legislators to promote issues such as police reform, organized labor’s agenda, environmental justice, and paid time off.
Although well-intended, these policy proposals could have negative impacts on Delaware’s economy and harm the very people they’re intended to help. Now more than ever it’s vital for business leaders to develop relationships with new and incumbent legislators. Meet with them, give them a tour of your facility, and show them first-hand the impacts their policy choices will have on employees and customers. Similarly, we hope more legislators will engage in conversations and be open to incorporating feedback from all stakeholders in their policy proposals. After all, that’s the “Delaware Way”; I like to quote Bob Byrd who once said the “Delaware Way” is the idea that as a state, we can get all the right decision makers in one room to have a conversation and reach an agreement.
Whatever the outcome of the November elections, the General Assembly will be different, and the State Chamber will continue to advocate not for the “Republican or Democratic answer”, but the Delaware answer—the one that positions Delaware employers, their employees, and all Delawareans for success. New
legislators and business leaders can learn a lot from one another, and we will do our part to help bridge both sides so we understand each other’s point of view and create a shared vision for Delaware’s future.
To learn more about the election results and implications or to hear about the State Chamber’s policy priorities for 2023, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
elections have consequences
By Tyler Micik
A wise man once said that elections have consequences and the fate of most issues is decided on Election Day. While this sentiment still holds true, oftentimes the fate of elections are decided in September during the primaries instead of election day in November. According to the Delaware Department of Elections, as of January 2022, Delaware has 754,025 registered voters. That consists of 359,413 registered Democrats; 207,655 registered Republicans; and 163,579 Independents. Democrats hold every statewide office, have a 14-7 advantage in the Senate and a 26-15 majority in the House.
With every House and Senate seat up for election, this once-in-a-decade election is a crucial time for Delawareans to select the people into office who reflect their goals and interests. Voters will have a lot on their minds as they head to the polls. Gas and food prices, the cost and availability of child care and baby formula, and more are all direct and weekly expenses that challenge many Delawareans. In addition to household costs and expense issues, we expect these issues to resurface in 2023.
PROJECT LABOR AGREEMENTS
Project Labor Agreements (PLAs)—also known as Community Workforce Agreements—are collective bargaining agreements between labor organizations and contractors that govern the terms and conditions of employment for construction projects. Although the bill did not pass, legislation was introduced this past session with the objective to mandate that all public works projects over $3 million be subject to a PLA. Supporters of the legislation claim that PLAs advance efficiency, quality, and timeliness of public works projects. The concern for all Delawareans should be that non-union contractors account for over 80 percent of the construction work performed here in Delaware. Therefore, workers will come from outside Delaware to work jobs with PLAs.
Paid leave is a challenging topic, and every employer struggles when an employee is ill. In the last session of the General Assembly, proposals were circulating that would have mandated paid sick leave. Every business leader we know cares about their employees and their health, and they have policies to manage through times when people are ill.
They need people at work as most businesses are still struggling to find and fill available vacancies. If there ever was a time when business managers were being as flexible as practically possible, this is it. For most companies, the last couple of years have been an “all-hands-on-deck” sort of time. Businesses offer policies that afford employees time away when they are sick, and employees understand what those policies are when they begin their employment. Many employers compensate employees for time away due to an illness, and others do not, based upon the economic realities of the company, the industry and more.
CLIMATE ACTION PLAN
Legislation known as the Delaware Climate Change Solutions Act was introduced and heavily debated this past session. The legislation will likely appear again along with other proposals aimed at reducing emissions to combat climate change and create policy that aligns with the recommendations outlined in the Governors Climate Action Plan. While many businesses have taken steps on their own to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help create a better environment for their employees and the communities which they serve, support for mandated greenhouse gas emissions targets and reductions continue to grow and future legislation needs to be drafted with input from all stakeholders.
LEGALIZATION OF RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA
Advocates of legalization view it as a moneymaker for the state and argue it is a social justice initiative. Despite an amendment that would allow employers to keep and maintain a zero-tolerance policy, some employers still have concerns. Opponents question the long-term health and economic impacts of recreational marijuana use, in addition to concerns regarding testing for impairment.
These important issues and many others will likely be worked on in 2023. Remember to vote—primaries are on September 13 and the General Election is on November 8—and reference the new district maps to learn more about the candidates running to represent not only the community where you live but also where you work. If you are interested in which candidates the State Chamber is supporting, feel free to contact me.
By Tyler Micik
The General Assembly finished its second leg of the 151st Session in the early morning of July 1. Unlike the last two years, policymakers were able return to Legislative Hall and conduct much of their work in person.
Despite the challenges presented by rising costs and inflation, the House and the Senate overwhelmingly passed the budget (SB 250). The budget allocated $5.1 billion for spending in FY23 (a 6.9% increase from last year) and nearly $379 million in one-time measures and contingency funds (SB 251)—both the largest in history. These budget bills are aimed at spurring economic recovery as Delaware continues to navigate out of the pandemic. In addition, the operating budget also increased the Budget Stabilization Fund from $287 million to $402 million and Delaware’s Rainy Day Fund from $280 million to $316 million. The 2023 Capital Budget (HB 475), the bond bill, allocates $1.18 billion for capital projects. Grants-in-Aid for FY23 (SB252) was approved at just under $70 million.
The State Chamber's mission is to bring the business community and legislators together at the table to solve problems and help shape policy decisions. One such example of this in action was the Healthy Delaware Families Act—or paid family and medical leave. For more than one year, the State Chamber worked alongside Senator McBride and other key stakeholders to amend the original proposal, which resulted in a policy that allows both employers and employees to appropriately deal with life events while recognizing the economic realities of running a business.
An overview of bills that passed are:
Other bills headed to the Governor include:
Bills that did not make it through this year:
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
This summer and into the fall, we will be kickstarting our Member-to-Member program again. The program brings policymakers directly to your place of business so that you can show how your company operates, share your praises and concerns, and discuss the impact various policy proposals—like the ones mentioned above—have on you as an employer, your employees, and customers. Like customer relationships, establishing and maintaining relationships with elected officials is important because it helps create a better understanding for all parties and leads to better policy decisions. This off-season is a crucial time for business and community leaders to meet with their representatives and senators—especially with the fall elections around the corner.
These meetings will continue to highlight important pending legislation that will most likely be worked on again next year like:
All of these bills have a direct impact on Delaware employers and employees. Two in particular that will be priorities of ours next year include the PLUS process and temporary entrance permits. These bills (listed above) are crucial in helping Delaware compete for economic development projects. They stem from the Ready in 6 initiative—which the State Chamber, Delaware Business Roundtable, and other key business groups have been promoting since 2018 when site selectors said that Delaware could move faster to improve its competitive position.
The General Assembly will be on recess until January 2023.
Schedule a Member-to-Member meeting, join a State Chamber committee, reach out to your elected officials who are sponsoring legislation that impacts your organization and employees. These conversations will shape Delaware’s future for years to come.
this week in dover
By Tyler Micik
The General Assembly carried on with their work this week with three legislative days left next week. They voted on several bills the State Chamber is following and continued to introduce a few new bills despite the short timeline. Of note was SB250, the state operating budget which appropriates approximately $5.1 billion to fund state government operations. The bill marks the first time the budget has surpassed the $5 billion mark. In addition, SB251 appropriates $378,613,700 for one-time projects through the Office of Management and Budget. Both bills passed and move to the Governor for signature. Other notable bills included:
HB409: Sick and Safety Leave. The bill requires all employers to provide employees with one hour of sick/safety leave for every 30 hours worked up to a maximum of 40 hours per year, which can be carried over from one year to the next and capped at 80 hours. Any employee who’s worked at least 90 days would be eligible for the benefit and are to be paid at their normal wage rate. Employers with less than 10 employees would be required to provide time off, but it would not have to be paid. The bill was voted on in the House Economic Development, Banking, Insurance & Commerce Committee on Tuesday but has not been released and remains in committee. The State Chamber testified in opposition to the bill.
HB484: Temporary Entrance Permits. The bill expedites the issuance of a temporary entrance permit for certain development projects. The bill was released from the House Economic Development, Banking, Insurance & Commerce Committee and moves to the House for a full vote. The State Chamber testified in support of the bill because it’s a crucial step in improving the permitting process.
HB487: Craft Training Requirements in Public Works Contracts. The bill removes the “buy-out” for contractors to avoid participating in apprentice programs by paying into the Apprenticeship and Training Fund, which was created in 2021. The bill was introduced and assigned to the House Administration Committee. The State Chamber is opposed to the bill. It’s scheduled for committee on Wednesday, June 29 at 1pm. You can view the meeting notice here.
HB488: Credit Card Surcharges. This bill prohibits a seller from imposing a surcharge on a cardholder who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check, or similar means. The bill was introduced and assigned to the House Administration Committee. The State Chamber is opposed to the bill.
SS1 for SB35: Wage Payment Collection Act. The Act defines specific violations of wage payment and collection laws under Chapter 11 of Title 19 as wage theft, provides specific penalties for these violations, and creates a new criminal offense of wage theft, with a mechanism for the Department of Labor to refer completed investigations to the Department of Justice for prosecution. The bill was released from House Appropriations and moves to the House for a full vote. The State Chamber is opposed to the bill.
HB205: Delaware Expanding Access for Retirement and Necessary Saving (EARNS). Delaware State Treasurer Colleen Davis’ proposal to establish a voluntary employee IRA savings program. The bill passed the Senate and moves to the Governor for signature. The State Chamber is neutral on the bill.
HB449: Elevator Mechanics. The Act creates a new chapter in Title 24 and establishes a regulatory State Board of Elevator Mechanics consisting of five members appointed by the Governor. Additionally, it sets forth grounds for discipline, including suspension and revocation of a license. An amendment was added to the bill that would exempt those in a manufacturing or industry facility who meet certain requirements. The bill passed the Senate and moves to the Governor for signature. The State Chamber is neutral on the bill given the amendment.
The State Chamber is continuing to monitor several other bills that did not see movement this week, including HB420, HB435, HB220, SB305, HB466 and SB280. Next week are the last days before the 151st General Assembly adjourns. Expect a robust update next week!