By Tyler Micik
The General Assembly returned to session this week and several bills the State Chamber is engaged on saw movement.
Of note, HB104 passed the Senate and now moves to the Governor for signature. The bill accelerates the process for economic development projects in Delaware with some exemptions from the PLUS process. A project located in Investment Level 1 or 2 under the Strategies for State Policies and Spending that is consistent with local zoning and any local comprehensive plan that will create full-time jobs is exempt from the pre-application process unless required by the local government or requested by the applicant.
The bill is part of a package of four bills (HB101 – 104), sponsored by Representative Bush, which are aimed at improving and expediting the permitting process for economic development projects in the state. HB104 now joins HB102 as awaiting the Governor’s signature. The State Chamber would like to thank all the sponsors, especially Representative Bush and Senators Walsh and Mantzavinos, for their leadership and support in passing this legislation, which has been a top priority of our members.
Another bill that saw movement was HB154, the Delaware Personal Data Privacy Act, which passed the House and now moves to the Senate. Two amendments, HA1 and HA4, passed with the bill. We appreciate the sponsor taking our concerns into consideration and implementing some changes to the legislation based on our feedback and others. However, the State Chamber still opposes the bill and is seeking additional amendments.
Unlike the public sector, if a consumer doesn't like how one company is using their information, they have options to go elsewhere. It’s in the best interest of businesses to be responsible data handlers. Additionally, 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, or actions resulting in fines or prosecution of businesses that did not live up to their stated privacy policies. This is a staff-driven proposal that would cost businesses money, increase their exposure to lawsuits, and require the State to hire more personnel.
Our concerns with this proposal are the following:
HS1 for HB160 was pulled from Thursday’s House agenda. The substitute was introduced on Tuesday, released from House committee on Wednesday, and scheduled to be heard on the House floor Thursday. The bill would impose a 60-cent surcharge per line, per month on residential, business, wireless, and nontraditional services to help address suicide by creating a well-functioning 988 system that may help support individuals having trouble. While we recognize the importance of mental health, the State Chamber has concerns around the surcharge amount, number of lines, and broad scope of the bill.
Other bills that saw movement included: