By Tyler Micik
As the end of session draws nearer, the legislature is busy working on a number of bills. Several in particular are bills the State Chamber is actively monitoring and working--HB171, Title V Operating Permit Program; HB220, Green Amendment; and SS1 for SB43, the Signs of Hope Act.
HB171 (Title V Operating Permit Program) – Status: Passed the House and now moves to the Senate for consideration. The bill updates the Title V Operating Program annual fees for facilities in Delaware based on feedback from the Title V Operating Permit Program Advisory Committee, which the State Chamber participates in. The General Assembly is required to reauthorize the fees every three years. State Chamber Position: Support
HB220 (Green Amendment) – Status: Released from House Administration and now placed on the House Ready List. If enacted, the bill creates an inherent and inalienable right for all Delawareans to a clean and healthy environment. The State Chamber is concerned about the vagueness of the bill. We have questions around how will it be implemented or enforced, which aren't outlined in the bill. We all want clean air and water, and our members are committed to doing their part to improve the environment. Instead of enacting policy that is overly broad, we hope the General Assembly will consider legislation that is clearly stated and understood so that businesses and the public can take meaningful steps to improve the environment in balanced ways. State Chamber Position: Opposed
It's also important to note the General Assembly has already taken many positive steps to improve the environment. In 2021, the General Assembly passed HB200, the Clean Water for Delaware Act, which the State Chamber supported. The Act invested $50 million dollars in improving the state’s water quality. We hope the General Assembly will consider and enact similar policies.
SS1 for SB43 (Signs of Hope Act) – Status: Released from House Judiciary Committee and now placed on the House Ready List. The Act adds additional State facilities and categories of establishments to § 787 of Title 11, which would be required to display public awareness signs about human trafficking. It includes specific locations on the premises where establishments must display a public awareness sign and adjusts the process by which the Delaware Anti-Trafficking Action Council may designate establishments required to display public awareness signs. It allows the Council to promulgate regulations to designate other categories of establishments that must display public awareness signs, designate a specific location on the premises for a category of establishments where a public awareness sign must be displayed, and change requirements for what must be included in a “public awareness sign”, as defined in this Act. It also establishes an enforcement process, including the requirement that establishments will receive a warning before any civil penalties are assessed. If an establishment does not correct the noncompliance, its owner may be subject to a civil penalty. State Chamber Position: Opposed
Starting next week only six session days remain. If you have questions or feedback on these bills or others, please let me know.