Bill allows aftermarket safety products
A bill introduced April 28 by Rep. Daniel Short, R-Seaford, allows for the installation of aftermarket brake lights that flash up to five times on motorcycles, Mopeds and motorized scooters.
House Bill 114 has been voted through the House and been assigned to the Senate Public Safety Committee.
Bill lessons reciprocity requirements for beauticians
A bill revising the statutory provisions relating to reciprocity requirements for barbers, cosmetologists, and aestheticians awaits the governor's signature after passing through the Senate July 1.
Currently an applicant from a state with licensure standards less stringent than those of Delaware must show 5 continuous years of practice in the other state immediately preceding application to Delaware, in order to receive a Delaware license under reciprocity provisions.
Under House Bill 123, which was introduced May 5 by Rep. James Johnson, D-New Castle, the applicant is required to show work in the other jurisdiction for 3 out of the last 5 years.
The bill was passed by the House June 25.
Bill encourages international insurance business
A bill introduced May 6 by Sen. Brian Bushweller, D-Dover/Central Kent, creating a Port-of-Entry chapter for the Delaware Insurance Code awaits the governor's signature after passing through the House June 24.
Senate Bill 87 will allow international insurance companies to use Delaware as its “Port-of-Entry” state into the U.S. market. The bill gives the insurance commissioner the authority to regulate these entities and sets up the requirements and other regulatory framework for them to come to Delaware.
The bill was passed by the full Senate June 9.
Bill allows augmentation of funding
A bill authorizing DNREC’s Division of Parks and Recreation to augment the funding it receives from the state budget thru proactive endeavors will become law after passing through the House July 1.
Sen. Catherine Cloutier, R-Heatherbrooke, introduced Senate Bill 88, which allows and encourages the division to solicit donations, sponsorships and sell advertisements to support park operations, help maintain park facilities and support park programs.
The bill was passed by the Senate June 30.
Bill updates family support act
A bill updating the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act awaits the governor's signature after passing through the House June 18.
Introduced May 7 by Sen. Bethany Hall-Long, D-Middletown, Senate Bill 85 updates improves the enforcement of United States child support orders abroad and ensure children residing in the United States will receive the financial support due from parents wherever those parents may reside.
SB85 would adopt the most recent version of the act, which was done in 2008. Currently the state is using the 2001 version of the act.
The bill was voted out of the Senate Health and Social Services Committee May 13, passed by the full Senate May 14 and voted out of the House Health and Human Development Committee June 3.
Bill removes requirement for food protection manager
A bill exempting charitable and fraternal organizations from having a certified food protection manager will become law after passing through the House July 1.
Senate Bill 89 was Introduced by Sen. Bruce Ennis, D-Smyrna, May 7, and changes state code that required all food establishments to be permitted by the state’s Department of Health and Social Services as having a certified food protection manager.
The bill was passed by the full Senate June 18.
Bills update state’s autism program
Two bills introduced May 13 by Senate Majority Whip Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington East, update and change the Delaware Autism Program.
Senate Bill 92 would realign the state’s educational model for students diagnosed with autism by adding services allowing them to be educated in their home schools. The legislation also would create a panel to monitor the latest developments in educating students with autism spectrum disorders and craft policy reflecting those changes.
Senate Bill 93 would set up a network of autism spectrum specialists that would go into schools to assist students with autism while providing training and support to local educators, and establish an interagency committee on autism and the Delaware Network for Excellence in Autism Education.
The bills are the product of the Autism Education Task Force, co-chaired by Henry and Jaques, which was charged with strengthening and modernizing the state’s approach to educating students with autism.
Both bills were voted out of the Senate Education Committee June 3.
Bill gives county residents say in school board
A bill introduced May 13 by Rep. Timothy Dukes, R-Laurel, would change Sussex Tech’s School Board from a governor-appointed board to one voted on by county residents.
Under House Bill 138 there will be one board member elected from each public school district within the Sussex County.
The bill keeps the same number of members, seven, but changes term lengths from seven years to four years. The elections will be staggered and occurring on even numbered years, with the first elected terms to begin on July 1, 2016.
HB138 was voted out of the House Education Committee June 24.
Bill creates special license plate
Rep. William R. Outten, R-Harrington, introduced a bill May 13 that creates a special license plate for retired professional firefighters.
House Bill 142 was voted out of the House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee June 3.
Resolution creates task force on financial literacy
Rep. Ruth Briggs King, R-Georgetown, introduced legislation May 13 that would create a task force to study and make findings concerning financial literacy education in Delaware.
The task force created by House Joint Resolution 4 would also make policy and program recommendations that will help increase the financial literacy of our students.
The bill was voted out of the House Education Committee June 24.
Bill sets minimum amount of transportation funding
A bill introduced May 14 by Rep. Joseph E. Miro, R-Pike Creek Valley, codifies the annual funding of transportation of students of nonpublic, nonprofit elementary and high schools.
House Bill 144 would require the state to annually appropriate a minimum of $127 per family to fund nonpublic, nonprofit elementary and high school transportation.
The bill was voted out of the House Education Committee June 3 and then assigned to the House Appropriations Committee June 18.
Bill creates tax on potential educators
A bill establishing a $100 for new education licenses awaits the governor's signature after passing through the Senate June 24.
Rep. Kimberly Williams, D-Newport/Stanton, introduced House Bill 146 May 14. The bill is expected to reduce the process burden and allow the licensure office to better serve the needs of Delaware’s educators.
According the bill’s synopsis, because of reciprocity agreements and the lack of license fees in our state, the Department of Education processes approximately one to two thousand applications per year from applicants outside of the State of Delaware who do not become employed here.
The bill was voted out of the House June 11.
Bill stiffens penalty of false reporting
A bill introduced May 14 by David Lawson, R-Marydel, makes clear that it is a class A misdemeanor when a person, knowing the information reported is false or baseless, reports to a law-enforcement officer that a Protection from Abuse Order has been violated.
Senate Bill 99 has been introduced to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Bill allows liquor stores to open earlier
A bill allowing stores that sell alcohol to open at 8 a.m., instead of 9 a.m., on Fridays and Saturdays, and at 10 a.m., instead of noon, during the months of October, November and December is waiting for the governor's signature after passing through the Senate June 24.
House Bill 156 was introduced June 2 by Rep. Valerie Longhurst, D-Bear. The bill passed through the House June 9.
Bill defines freestanding emergency department
A bill clearly defining the scope of services offered in outpatient settings for members of the public at a freestanding emergency department is set to become law after passing through the Senate July 1.
House Bill 157 was introduced June 2 by Rep. Sean Matthews, D-Talleyville, and updates Delaware code by providing a definition for a freestanding emergency department.
The bill was passed by the House June 24.
Bill protects impaired or incapacitated adults
Rep. Stephanie Bolden, D-Wilmington East, introduced a bill June 2 that creates penalties for the failure to report a reasonable cause to believe that an adult person who is impaired or incapacitated is in need of protective services.
The penalties associated with House Bill 158 is intended to match those that are currently in place for the failure to report the suspected abuse of a child.
The bill has been assigned to the House Health and Human Development Committee.
Bill adds Inland Bays board members
A bill that adds up to five citizen members to the Board of Directors of the Center for the Inland Bays awaits the governor's signature after passing through the Senate June 23.
House Bill 162 was introduced by Speaker of the House Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, include more citizen representation on the board and to improve the center’s capacity to procure and administer private moneys.
The bill was voted out of the House June 11.
Bill requires on-going sexual assault training
A bill requiring on-going sexual assault training for police officers and Deputy attorney generals in the Criminal and Family Divisions awaits the governor's signature after being passed by the Senate June 25.
House Bill 2 was introduced June 3 by Rep. Helene Keeley, D-Wilmington South, and passed by the House June 16.
Bill allows for same-day registration
A bill introduced June 3 by Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington East, would allow for election day registration for presidential primary, primary, special, and general elections.
The current deadline is the fourth Saturday prior to the election date.
Senate Bill 111 allows for registration at polling places with submission of valid government issued identification or other generally accepted proof of identification.
The bill removes the requirement that a felon has paid all financial obligations, including fines and restitution, before his or her right to vote is restored.
SB111 was voted out of the Senate Administrative Services/Election Committee June 11.
Bill requires updates from DEDO
A bill requiring the Delaware Economic Development Office to develop a comprehensive state plan for economic development every five years is set to become law after passing through the House June 30.
Introduced June 3 by Sen. Nicole Poore, D-New Castle, Senate Bill 112 would also require DEDO to submit annual reports detailing the office’s status in meeting its vision, goals, objectives, and strategies.
The bill was passed by the Senate June 11.
Bill updates campaign finance disclosure laws
A bill introduced June 9 by Rep. Kimberly Williams, D-Stanton, improves the enforcement mechanisms related to Delaware’s campaign finance disclosure laws in four ways.
First, House Bill 167 says the Superior Court would not be allowed to grant a certificate of election to a successful candidate for office until the candidate has paid all fines assessed by the Commissioner of Elections for the candidate’s wilful failure to file a required campaign finance report.
Second, the bill prohibits an individual from being a candidate in a future election until all previous campaign finance reports are filed and all previously assessed fines assessed by the commissioner are paid.
Third, the bill gives the commissioner one day to notify a candidate that a report is incomplete or tardy, and decreases the time in which a candidate may appeal the commissioner’s decision to issue a fine for a tardy or incomplete report from 30 days to 15 days.
Fourth, the bill requires the commissioner to publish, on the Department of Elections website, the name of any candidate who has wilfully neglected to file a campaign finance report, been assessed a fine by the commissioner, or been reported to the Attorney General’s office by the commissioner.
The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.
Bill streamlines DelDOT contracting process
A bill that adds wording to state code giving the Delaware Department of Transportation the ability to use design-build contracting methodology for Transportation Trust Fund projects is set to become law after passing through the Senate July 1.
House Bill 169 was introduced June 9 by Rep. Edward Osienski, D-Newark, and says design-build contracting shall be used at the discretion of the DelDOT secretary for specialized projects that have time constraints, unique site conditions, specialized construction methods or similar complexities. It is expected to be used on a limited basis.
The bill was voted favorably by the House June 23.
Bill updates veteran’s cemetery criteria
Rep. Earl Jaques, D-Glasgow, introduced a bill June 9 that updates the state’s eligibility criteria for interment at the veterans’ cemetery.
The criteria are not current, and House Bill 170 makes Delaware consistent with a 2011 directive from the National Cemetery Administration that requires that a state cemetery be fully compliant with the directive. A state risks loss of funding if the directive isn’t followed.
The bill has been assigned to the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
Bill makes recommendations for Family Court proceedings
A bill introduced June 9 by Sen. Bruce Ennis, D-Smyrna, clarifies which proceeding of Family Court are public or private.
Senate Bill 119 provides that paternity, divorce, property division and alimony hearings are presumed to be public proceedings, and that the court has discretion to hold the proceedings in private for criteria specifically outlined.
The bill also clarifies that adoption, custody, visitation, third party visitation, termination of parental rights, guardianship, permanent guardianship, Child Protection Registry and dependency/neglect/abuse hearings are private, except that the court may open the hearings to the public under a specific criteria.
This bill represents the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on the feasibility of opening Family Court proceedings to the public.
The bill was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee June 18, passed by the full Senate June 24 and then assigned to the House Judiciary Committee June 25.
Bill increases number of DALPF trustees
A bill introduced June 9 by Sen. Bruce Ennis, D-Smyrna, expands the number of Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation trustees from 12 to 13.
Senate Bill 124 says the additional trustee must be an individual actively engaged in farming or some other form of agribusiness who may reside in any county of the state.
The bill increases the number of trustees required for a quorum from six to seven.
The bill was voted out of the Senate Agriculture Committee June 17, passed by the full Senate June 23 and then assigned to the House Agriculture Committee June 24.
Resolution mandates reporting of unexamined sexual assault kits
A joint resolution introduced June 9 by Sen. Nicole Poore, D-New Castle, requires every law enforcement agency, law department, hospital, testing facility, and prosecutorial agency to report to the Attorney General’s Office the number of unexamined sexual assault kits and their date of collection.
Senate Joint Resolution 1 gives the Criminal Justice Council a date of January 11, 2016 to prepare an aggregated report. It also requires the council to develop strategies which will improve the response from the medical and criminal justice communities to reports of sexual assault in Delaware
The resolution was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee June 18 and then passed by the House June 25.
Bill increases education information
A bill introduced June 10 by Rep. Richard Collins, R-Millsboro, would require that the state’s department of education automatically disclose federally mandated policies and requirements on its website.
House Bill 173 would remove the necessity of a Freedom of Information Request for such information. The bill has been assigned to the House Education Committee.
Bill creates unified sports program
Rep. Melanie George Smith, D-Bear/Newark, introduced a bill June 10 that would create a unified sports pilot program in track and field in all regular, vocational and charter high schools during the 2015-2016 school year.
House Bill 175 requires an evaluation of the pilot program to determine the feasibility of making unified sports a permanent part of the state’s high school experience.
The implementation of the bill is contingent on funding and was been voted out of the House Education Committee June 17.
Resolution creates anti-dumping, anti-littering task force
Rep. Richard Collins, R-Millsboro, introduced legislation June 10 that would create the Delaware Anti-Dumping and Anti-Littering Task Force.
House Concurrent Resolution 40 seeks to address the pervasive problems of littering and illegal dumping in Delaware.
The task force would be charged with defining the scope of the problem; developing actionable strategies for curtailing it; and delivering a report to the General Assembly by March 15, 2016, as to how these new policies could be implemented and financed.
HCR 40 was voted out of the House Natural Resources Committee June 17.
Bill adds leaving child unsupervised to list of potential abuses
A bill introduced June 11 by Rep. Joseph E Miro, R-Pike Creek Valley, identifies leaving a child home alone as an act that is considered when investigating the potential abuse or neglect of a child.
House Bill 176 allows for a case by case determination of what type of supervision is reasonably appropriate.
The bill also clarifies that police officers may retain temporary emergency protective custody of a child that is found left home alone without adequate supervision.
The bill was voted out of the House Health & Human Development Committee June 17.
Bill requires third party notification system for utilities
A bill requiring utilities to maintain a third party notification system that allows a customer to designate a third party to receive notice prior to a termination of service will become law after passing through the Senate June 30.
Introduced June 11 by Stephanie Bolden, D-Wilmington East, House Bill 177 allows condominium and common interest communities to adopt bylaws that require unit owners to designate the unit owners’ association as a third party to receive notification prior to a termination of utility service.
The bill was passed by the House June 18.
Bill establishes community cat program
Rep. Mike Mulrooney, D-New Castle, introduced a bill June 11 that would create a “community cat” program to encourage spaying, neutering and vaccination of stray cats.
House Bill 178 is designed to help limit the number of unwanted cats and protect the public from rabies and other diseases carried by unvaccinated animals. The bill defines “community cats” and “community cat caretakers,” whereby one or more persons may provide food, shelter, or medical treatment for free roaming cats without becoming an “owner” for legal purposes.
The bill also clarifies that community cat caretakers may participate in the state low-cost spay/neuter program if they meet income eligibility requirements. Additionally, it would require animal shelters to collect data on the number of cats they return to field as part of a community cat program, in order to measure the community cat population and plan future programs to reduce overpopulation.
HB 178 was voted out of the House Health & Human Development Committee June 17.
Bill promotes large-venue safety
A bill creating a separation in the definition of event security staff and guard company in state code is set to become law after passing through the House June 30.
Introduced June 11 by Sen. Brian Bushweller, D-Dover, Senate Bill 129 would allow non-licensed security staff to be temporarily used at entertainment venues in Delaware that host in excess of 5,000 people at an event can meet special security needs to ensure public safety.
The bill says event security staff cannot work more than 28 calendar days in one year.
The bill was passed by the Senate June 18.
Bill makes people pay fines before driver’s licenses renewed
A bill that says a driver’s licenses will not be renewed, or duplicate issued, if there are outstanding fines of fees for minor traffic offenses is set to become law after passing through the House June 30.
Introduced June 11 by Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington East, Senate Bill 132 would cause the suspension of a licenses, but would require the outstanding fees be paid.
The bill voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee June 18, passed by the full Senate June 24 and then assigned to the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.
Bill creates Homeless Persons Bill of Rights
A bill introduced June 11 by Sen. Bryan Townsend, D-Newark, amends Delaware code by adding a Homeless Persons Bill of Rights, which provides basic legal and civil protections and ensures equal treatment for persons experiencing homelessness in Delaware.
Senate Bill 134 is intended to provide persons experiencing homelessness protection from discrimination while on the streets and when seeking access to housing, employment, and temporary shelter as necessary to end their episode of homelessness.
The bill has been assigned to the Senate Community/County Affairs Committee.
Bill prohibits locomotive idling
A bill prohibiting non-essential idling of locomotives between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. will become law after passing through the House June 30.
Introduced June 11 by Sen. David McBride, D-Hawk’s Nest, Senate Bill 135 says non-essential idling degrades the quality of their life, property, and environment.
The bill says a violation is punishable by a fine of between $5,000 and $10,000 for the first offense, by a fine of between $10,000 and $20,000 for each subsequent offense.
The bill was passed by the Senate June 18.
Bill requires library media specialist
A bill introduced May 28 by Rep. Paul Baumbach, D-Newark, ensures every elementary, middle, and high school in the state employs at least one library media specialist.
House Bill 152 was voted out of House Education Committee June 17 and then assigned to the House Appropriations Committee June 18.
Bill expands driver’s license scope
A bill establishing a mechanism for individuals receiving special education services with an active Individual Education Plan until the age of 21 to receive a license to drive will become law after passing through the Senate June 30.
Introduced June 16 by Rep. Debra Heffernan, D-Brandywine Hundred South, House Bill 184 was voted out of the House June 25.
Bill gives state control of charter school audits
A bill introduced June 16 by Rep. Kimberly Williams, D-Newport, Stanton, adds charter schools to the list of entities for audits through the state’s Auditor of Accounts.
House Bill 186 fixes a mistake made in November 2010 when the charter school manual removed instructions for charter schools to go through the Auditor of Accounts when contracting for audits.
All school districts, including vocational schools, are subject to the Auditor of Accounts. The bill takes effect so that the Auditor of Accounts shall conduct postaudits for the time periods starting on or after July 1, 2015.
The bill was voted out of the House June 30.
Bill changes criminal background check for taxi and limousine drivers
A bill adjusting the criminal background check and review period for taxi and limousine drivers to equal what is expected of a driver for a transportation network company such as Uber or Lyft is set to become law after passing through the Senate July 1.
Introduced June 16 by Rep. John Mitchell, D-Elsmere, House Bill 187 means a taxi or limousine driver would not qualify for a license if they have pled guilty or been convicted in the past seven years of driving under the influence, driving over 100 mph, certain hit and run offenses and certain reckless driving offenses.
The bill was voted out of the House June 23.
Bill allows sale of bulk neutral spirits
A bill that permits licensed craft distilleries to sell unfinished bulk neutral spirits to distilleries located within and outside the state awaits the governor's signature after passing through the Senate June 25.
Introduced by Speaker of the House Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, House Bill 191 is intended to facilitate growth by recapturing tax revenue for the state. Most distilleries currently purchase the bulk neutral spirits for redistillation from outside the State.
The bill was voted out of the House Economic Development/Banking/Insurance/Commerce Committee June 17, passed through the House and then voted out of the Senate Banking and Business Committee June 24.
Bill allows municipal governments to regulate guns
A bill establishing that municipal governments may pass ordinances regulating the possession of firearms, ammunition, components of firearms, and explosives in municipal buildings and police stations is set to become law after passing through the Senate July 1.
Introduced by Rep. John Mitchell, D-Elsmere, House Bill 192 also allows municipalities to establish penalties for violation by ordinance.
The bill was passed by the House June 23.
Bill regulates drone usage
Rep. John Mitchell, D-Elsmere, introduced a bill June 16 that makes the unlawful use of an unmanned aircraft system a crime.
House Bill 195 prohibits unmanned aircraft systems from flying over sporting events, concerts, automobile races, festivals, and events at which more than 5,000 people are in attendance and critical infrastructure.
The penalty for the crime is an unclassified misdemeanor for a first offense and a class A misdemeanor for a second or subsequent offense unless injury occurs to a person or property damage occurs as a result of a violation in which case it is a Class G felony.
The bill was voted out of the House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee June 17, and then passed by the full House and assigned to the Senate Public Safety Committee June 23.
Bill lowers taxes, creates new tax brackets
A bill introduced June 16 by Rep. John Kowalko, D-Newark South, creates two new personal income tax brackets and lowers current tax rates.
The first bracket associated with House Bill 196 is at $125,000 with a rate of 7.05 percent; the second is at $250,000 with a rate of 7.8 percent.
The bill lowers current tax rates by .05 percent for each existing bracking.
The bill was voted out of the House Revenue and Finance Committee June 17.
Bill authorizes marijuana research
The scientific study of medical marijuana in Delaware will be happening.
Senate Bill 138 awaits the governor's signature after passing through the House July 1.
The bill, introduced by Sen. David Sokola, D-Newark, calls for an assessment of the safety, effects, and efficacy of cannabis and cannabis compounds for treating medical conditions to be conducted in Delaware.
This bill provides protections against prosecution, search, seizure, denial of a right or privilege, or disciplinary action solely for acting in accordance with the Delaware Medical Marijuana Act.
The bill also provides that research must be conducted in a facility which meets FDA-accepted security and operational standards.
The bill was passed by the Senate June 24.
Bill places liens on retirement accounts
Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes, introduced a bill June 16 that amends state code to include public and private retirement fund accounts for as sources for government liens to pay past due child support for noncustodial parents.
Senate Bill 139 was voted out of the Senate Health and Social Services Committee June 17.
Bill provides dental care to all eligible Medicaid recipients
A bill introduced June 16 by Sen. Bethany Hall-Long, D-Middletown, expands Delaware’s Public Assistance Code to provide preventative and urgent dental care to all eligible Medicaid recipients.
Under Senate Bill 142, payments for preventative or urgent dental care treatments shall be subject to a $10.00 recipient co-pay and the total amount of dental care assistance provided to an eligible recipient shall not exceed $1,000 per year. An additional $1,500 may be authorized on an emergency basis for urgent dental care treatments through a review process established by the state dental director.
The bill was voted out of the Senate Health and Social Services Committee June 24.
Bill increases scope of school safety zone
A bill introduced June 17 by Rep. Gerald Brady, D-Wilmington East, enlarges the scope of a criminal charge of Possession of a Weapon in a Safe School and Recreation Zone.
Currently, the definition of a safe school and recreation zone focuses on buildings and structures used as a recreation center, athletic field or sports stadium.
House Bill 198 would add wording to include to parks used as a recreation area or to parkland. The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.
Bill updates Americans with Disabilities Act
A bill introduced June 17 by Rep. John Viola, D-Newark, incorporates federal standards found in the American with Disabilities Act to state standards.
House Bill 200 increases the penalty for violating the statute from $100 to $250 for the first offense, and from $200 to $500 for each subsequent offense.
The bill adds a definition, with specific measurements, for an accessible parking space.
The also requires county government and municipalities to comply with ADA standards by July 1, 2016.
The bill was voted out of the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee June 25.
Bill creates Biden child protection act
The Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III Child Protection Act is set to become law after passing through the House July 1.
Introduced June 17 by Sen. Karen Peterson, D-Stanton, Senate Bill 144 is the result of the work of the Delaware Background Checks Task Force, which was established by Executive Order 42.
SB144 consolidates the code for the background checks that must be completed for individuals who seek to work or volunteer for a child-serving entity. The bill addresses inconsistencies as to what types of background checks those individuals must have and the types of criminal convictions and/or what level of entrance on the Child Protection Registry will prohibit an individual from working or volunteering with such an entity.
Finally, this legislation includes individuals who seek to work with a private school or youth camp, who previous to this legislation, were not required to have background checks on staff or volunteers.
The bill was passed by the Senate June 25.
Bill creates fee for CNAs
A bill imposing a renewal fee for the recertification application of a certified nursing assistant will become law after passing through the House July 1.
Introduced June 17 by Sen. Robert Marshall, D-Wilmington West, Senate Bill 145 does not define the amount of the fee, instead saying the renewal fee shall approximate and reasonably reflect all costs necessary to defray the expenses of maintaining an educational website from which certified nursing assistants will receive the required educational credits.
The bill was passed by the Senate June 25.
Resolution creates Education Funding Improvement Commission
The Education Funding Improvement Commission is set to begin work after its creation legislation was passed by the House July 1.
Senate Joint Resolution 4 was introduced June 17 by Sen. David Sokola, D-Newark, and it creates a commission to conduct a comprehensive review of Delaware’s public education funding system and make recommendations to modernize and strengthen the system.
The commission will include stakeholders from across the education system and will submit a report and recommendations to the governor and General Assembly no later than March 31, 2016.
The resolution was voted out of the Senate June 24.
Bill updates anatomical gift act
With the passage of House Bill 205 June 30, Delaware’s Uniform Anatomical Gift Act will soon coincide with federal law, which was last updated in 1998.
Introduced June 18 by Rep. Michael Barbieri, D-Newark, the bill incorporates input from stakeholder groups, including the hospitals, practitioners and state agencies that have an important role in this area.
Specifically the bill addresses three key areas.
First, to better align with clinical best practices, the bill revises the hierarchy of who may authorize donation more closely to hospital practice. Second, to enhance organ and tissue donor awareness, the bill updates current language regarding inclusion of the donor designation on driver’s licenses and incorporates existing DelDOT initiatives regarding donor designation. Third, in terms of public health and safety, the bill reinforces the purposes for which anatomical gifts can be used and extends public health protections to safeguard the interests of Delawareans. The bill also ensures the privacy of donors and recipients.
The bill was voted out of the House Health and Human Development Committee June 23 and then passed by the full House June 24.
Bill gives gun control to counties
A bill that gives counties the ability to control guns in county buildings is set to become law after passing through the Senate July 1.
House Bill 201, introduced by Rep. John Mitchell, D-Elsmere, allows for county governments to pass ordinances regulating the possession of firearms, ammunition, components of firearms, and explosives in county buildings and police stations.
The bill further allows counties to establish penalties for violation by ordinance. The bill was passed by the House June 23.
Bill gives more donation options
A bill introduced June 23 by Rep. Paul Baumbach, D-Newark, adds four new check-off donation boxes on the Delaware personal income tax return.
House Bill 206 gives individuals the ability to donate to Food Bank of Delaware, Sussex County Habitat for Humanity, Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity, or Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County.
The bill was voted out of the House Revenue and Finance Committee June 24.
Bill increases legislative term limits
Rep. Stephanie Bolden, D-Wilmington East, introduced a bill June 23 that would amend the state’s constitution by increasing the term limits for senators and representatives.
House Bill 207 would the term of office for members of the House of Representatives to four years and members of the Senate to six years.
The bill has been assigned to the House House administration Committee.
Bill alters definition of motorsports speedway
A bill altering the definition of motorsports speedway by lowering the seating capacity requirement is set to become law after passing through the Senate and the House July 1.
Introduced June 23 by House Minority Leader Rep. Daniel Short, R-Seaford, House Bill 208 lowers the seating threshold from 75,000 seats to 5,000, which would then include Delaware International Speedway in Delmar. Currently, only Dover International Speedway meets the seating capacity standard.
This change would allow patrons of the Delmar racetrack to bring their own alcoholic beverages for their own personal consumption.
Bill gives parking authority to counties
A bill amending the zoning authority for the three counties to expressly provide that each county may, via its zoning processes, regulate parking and parking areas is set to become law after passing through the Senate and the House July 1.
House Bill 209 was introduced June 23 by Rep. Gerald Brady, D-Wilmington East.
Resolution urges statewide police body-cam policy
A resolution introduced June 23 by Rep. John Mitchell, D-Elsmere, encourages state and local agencies to formulate a uniform body camera policy for use by police agencies across Delaware.
House Concurrent Resolution 46 asks law enforcement groups to collaborate with the Department of Safety and Homeland Security and the Attorney General’s Office to examine questions related to the deployment and use of body cameras.
The measure was passed by the Senate June 24.
Specific issues addressed by the resolution include which officers would be required to wear cameras, when the cameras would be required to be turned on, how and when videos would be made available to the public, and the manner in which the videos would be stored.
Bill makes county seats equal
A bill introduced June 23 by Sen. Brian Bushweller, D-Dover/Central Kent, removes the disparate treatment of counties, making all three county seats eligible for the same percentage of reimbursement of real property taxes.
Currently a county seat’s reimbursement is based on population. A county seat with a population larger than 50,000 receives 100 percent reimbursement, while a county seat with a population lower than 50,000 receives 30.8 percent reimbursement.
Senate Bill 149 changes the reimbursement to 100 percent for all three county seats. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Community/County Affairs Committee.
Bill requires ice and snow removal
Sen. Gregory Lavelle, R-Sharpley, introduced a bill June 23 that requires drivers to clean ice and snow off of their vehicles prior to driving on the state’s highways.
Senate Bill 152 gives police the ability to give drivers a ticket, ranging in price from $25 to $75, if an accumulation of snow or ice provides a threat to other drivers or property.
The bill also gives police the ability to ticket drivers when snow or ice does damage property or cause physical harm. Non-commercial vehicles are subject to a fine of $200 to $1,000. Commercial vehicles are subject to a fine of $500 to $1,500.
The bill has been assigned to the Senate Public Safety Committee.
Resolution creates motion picture commission
A resolution creating the Delaware Motion Picture and Television Development Commission has passed through both the House and Senate.
Introduced June 23 by Sen. Harris McDowell, D-Wilmington North, Senate Joint Resolution 5 calls for the commission to prepare and implement programs to promote a motion picture and television industry within the state.
The resolution voted out of the Senate June 25.
Bill limits use of physical restraints on children
A bill introduced June 24 by Rep. James Johnson, D-New Castle, limits the use of shackles and other physical restraints on children appearing in juvenile delinquency proceedings.
House Bill 211 makes exceptions in situations where the court determines the use of restraints is necessary and there are no less restrictive alternatives that will prevent flight or physical harm to the child or other courtroom participants.
The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.
Resolution calls for renewable energy projects
Rep. Paul Baumbach, D-Newark, introduced a bill June 24 that says the Public Service Commission should consider only approving electricity generating projects being developed to assist the state in meeting its Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards that utilize eligible energy resources.
House Concurrent Resolution 47 also ask to consider certifying new renewable installations that are generated from projects developed after the enactment of this legislation that utilize only eligible energy resources.
The resolution has been assigned to the House Energy Committee.
Resolution creates task force to examine state’s mental health system
The Behavioral and Mental Health Task Force is set to be established after passing through the House July 1.
Introduced June 24 by Sen. Bethany Hall-Long, D-Middletown, the task force will examine mental health in Delaware and make recommendations for the improvement of services and the mental healthcare system. The resolution calls for the task force to report its finding and make recommendations no later than Jan. 30, 2016.
The resolution was passed by the Senate June 24.
Resolution creates clean water task force
The Clean Water and Flood Abatement Task Force is set to begin work after passing through the House July 1.
Introduced June 24 by Sen. Bryan Townsend, D-Newark, Senate Concurrent Resolution 30 calls the task force to study, and make findings and recommendations regarding ways to improve water quality and alleviate flooding in Delaware. The group is to report its finding and recommendations no later than Jan. 31, 2016.
The resolution was passed by the Senate June 24.
AG’s internet safety bills pass General Assembly
A four-part package of bills aimed at protecting Delawareans privacy and safety rights on the internet has been passed by the General Assembly.
The package of bills, proposed by Attorney General Matt Denn in April, now goes to the governor for his signature and will be enforced by the Delaware Department of Justice.
The first bill is Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 68. This bill was sponsored by Senate Pro Tempore Patricia Blevins, D-Elsmere, and Speaker of the House Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach.
This bill prohibits marketing certain age-restricted products and services such as alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and body-piercing to children on websites or mobile apps directed to children, and it prohibits using a child’s personal information to market those products and services to that child.
Finally, the bill restricts the ability of online book service providers from disclosing information about customers’ reading choices without a court order, since what people read can reveal or imply much about them.
The second bill is Senate Substitute for Senate Bill 79, which introduced by Sen. David Sokola, D-Newark.
This bill prohibits education technology service providers from selling student data, using student data to engage in targeted advertising to students or their families, amassing a profile on students to be used for non-educational purposes, or disclosing student data except as permitted by the bill.
The bill requires education technology service providers to have reasonable procedures and practices for ensuring the security of student data they collect or maintain, protecting that student data from unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification, or disclosure, and deleting the student data if appropriately requested to do so by a school or school district.
The bill also establishes a Student Data Privacy Task Force to study and make findings and recommendations regarding the development and implementation of a comprehensive framework to govern the privacy, protection, accessibility, and use of student data at all levels of the State’s public education system.
The third bill is House Bill 102, which was also introduced by Blevins.
Under this bill, it will be unlawful to publicly display, post online, or solicit, sell, or trade online the address, image, or telephone number of a participant in DOJ’s Address Confidentiality Program for the purpose of inciting someone to commit violence or harm against that person or members of their household.
This bill also outlaws a person’s ability to publicly display or post such information online if the program participant or their representative has made a written demand on the person to stop.
The fourth, and final bill, is House Bill 109, which was introduced by Rep. Bryon Short, D-Highland Woods.
This bill protects the online activities of Delawareans by prohibiting employers from requiring employees, or applicants, to disclose information that would give the employer access to their personal social media accounts, to log in so the employer may view such accounts, to accept a “friend” request from the employer, or to disable privacy settings on those accounts.
The bill respects employers’ rights to investigate and penalize conduct which harms or reflects poorly on the employer.
This bill does not restrict employers’ existing control over accounts created for their business purposes and the activities of their employees on such accounts, any electronic device issued or paid for by the company, and their own networks.
Regulatory reform package passes
Legislators have passed a package of three-bill package of regulatory reform proposed by Gov. Jack Markell.
House Bill 147, introduced by Rep. Bryon Short, D-Highland Woods, requires each executive branch agency to conduct periodic reviews of its regulations for possible modification or elimination.
The bill would codify the governor’s Executive Order No. 36, which in 2013 resulted in the elimination or modification of more than 100 agency regulations.
Senate Bill 113, introduced by Sen. Gerald Hocker, R-Ocean View, is one of two bills that comprise the Regulatory Transparency and Accountability Act of 2015 (RTAA).
SB 113 would require each agency to submit a “regulatory impact statement” whenever it proposes regulations that would place additional burdens upon small businesses. Among other things, each statement must include an estimate of the costs of complying with the regulation.
In addition, SB 113 requires the Registrar of Regulations to submit regulatory impact statements to the appropriate committee of the General Assembly.
Senate Bill 120, introduced by Sen. Bobby Marshall, D-Wilmington East, is the second bill that is part of the RTAA.
Under SB 120, whenever an agency proposes a regulation that would place additional burdens upon small businesses, it must submit a “regulatory flexibility analysis” to consider ways to reduce the regulation’s burden on individuals and small business. That includes considering less stringent requirements or deadlines for individuals or small businesses that must comply with the proposed regulation.
In addition, SB 120 provides that if an agency does not submit the required information to the Registrar, a proposed regulation may not be published in the Register of Regulations.
Bill establishes business tax credit
A bill introduced June 25 by Rep. Rich Collins, R-Millsboro, establishes a tax credit for any business with operations in Delaware that hires a new full time employee in an amount that is equal to the amount of workers compensation and unemployment insurance payments that the employer makes on behalf of that employer.
House Bill 212 will allows employers will be able to claim 100 percent of the tax in the first year of new employment, 75 percent in the second year, and 25 percent in the third year.
The tax credit will be based off the number of full time employees that were employed in the year preceding the first year a tax credit is claimed.
HB212 requires employers with 21-50 employees hire five new employees before they are eligible for the tax credit; employers with more than 50 employees have to hire 10 new.
This bill will become effective the January 1 following its enactment. The credit will expire for any tax year that begins after December 31, 2021.
This bill has been assigned to the House Revenue and Finance Committee.
Bill regulates pilot fees and liabilities
A bill introduced June 25 by Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes, limits and regulates the liability of pilots and maintains pilotage fees at reasonable amounts.
Senate Bill 159 limits the liability of pilots and pilot trainees to $5,000 unless there is willful misconduct or gross negligence.
This bill has been assigned to the Senate Executive Committee.
Bill requires schools to begin after Labor Day
A bill introduced June 25 by Sen. Gerald Hocker, R-Ocean View, would require public schools to begin their school year after Labor Day.
Senate Bill 161 would begin to be applied for the 2017-2018 school year.
The bill has been assigned to the Senate Education Committee.
Resolution examines what to do with organic waste
A resolution introduced June 25 by Sen. David McBride, D-Hawk’s Nest, establishes a task force to discuss and evaluate the most effective and efficient way to recycle organic waste within Delaware.
Senate Concurrent Resolution 35 requires the task force to report its finding by March 1, 2016.
The measure has passed through both the House and Senate.
Women's issues bills become law
A series of bills addressing a host of issues impacting Delaware women in their workplaces, doctors’ offices, homes and schools were signed into law June 30.
The six bills are part of a bipartisan 11-bill package announced in March that focuses on three major areas where reform is needed: justice and public safety, health care and employment. The wide-ranging package is a list of the top priorities for change and revision to state laws that impact women.
The six bills signed into law are House Bills 2, 3, 4, Senate Joint Resolution 1, and Senate Bills 51 and 84.
HB 2 requires ongoing sexual assault training for police officers and prosecutors. HB 3 requires employers receiving state contracts to offer employees equal pay for equal work. HB 4 protects employees by guaranteeing them the right to take leave based on circumstances of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault. SJR 1 requires all law enforcement, hospitals, etc. to report untested and unsubmitted sexual assault kits and date of collection. SB 51 allows victims to provide court testimony remotely, with a judge’s permission. SB 84 exempts breastfeeding women from jury duty.
A seventh bill, House Bill 81, requiring the listing of Title IX coordinators for every public school, including public institutions of higher learning, was signed into law earlier this session.
The remaining bills in the package will carry over to the second half of the 148th General Assembly, which will continue in January 2016.
Bill ends driver’s license suspensions in unnecessary cases
Legislation signed by Governor Jack Markell Aug. 3 ends the automatic suspension of driver’s licenses for Delawareans who fail to pay fines for minor traffic offenses and who don’t pose a traffic safety hazard.
Under Senate Bill 132 individuals with outstanding fines or fees for minor traffic offenses will not be able to renew nor receive a duplicate license until such fees are paid. However, their licenses will not be suspended in these cases.
Suspension is reserved for offenses affecting traffic safety such as reckless driving, driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, or multiple speeding violations.
Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington East, was the prime sponsor of the legislation.
SB 132 builds on work since the beginning of the Markell Administration to transform the criminal justice system, ensuring more people can have the opportunity to reach their potential.
The signing complements a push Markell led in 2014 to eliminate mandates that cause non-violent offenders to lose their driver’s license even when their crime isn’t related to driving. As a result, nearly 800 non-violent offenders per year are having their driver’s licenses returned after being released.
New commission to bolster state’s film and TV industry
Gov. Jack Markell signed legislation July 15 that created the Delaware Motion Picture and Television Development Commission.
Senate Joint Resolution 5, which passed unanimously in the both the House and the Senate, means Delaware is no longer the only state with neither a state-affiliated film commissioner or a film office.
The goal of the commission, comprised of nine non-paid members, is to prepare and implement programs to promote a motion picture and television industry within the state.
Sen. Bryant Richardson, R-Seaford, is hoping the legislation will fill the void.
“It would be nice to have opportunities for a new industry in Delaware that could help our economy grow,” said Richardson in a prepared statement.
Over the two-year period of 2013 and 2014, Delaware joined Wyoming, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Kansas and Vermont as the only states where no movies or television series were filmed.
According to the Motion Picture Association of America, the film and television industry contributes $40 billion dollars annually to state businesses and another $16 billion in federal and state taxes.
Co-chairing the nine-person Commission will be T.J. Healy, who has worked on dozens of Hollywood feature films and TV series since the 1960s as a location manager and line producer, including 1989’s “Dead Poets Society.”
Residential fire legislation made law
Gov. Jack Markell signed into law Aug. 6 a piece of legislation aimed at making homes safer from fire.
House Bill 133 requires all home builders to offer, as an option, a residential fire sprinkler system, and to hand to the home buyer literature explaining the benefits of sprinklers and the cost of the installation.
Residential sprinklers are part of a national campaign by most national fire service organizations and the National Fire Protection Association.
Legislation protecting internet users becomes law
Gov. Jack Markell signed four pieces of legislation into law Aug. 7, giving Delawareans, especially children, enhanced privacy and protection of their online activities.
The first bill, Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 68, expands the legal protections available under Delaware law to individuals relating to their online and digital activities.
The bill prohibits marketing certain age-restricted products and services to children on websites or mobile apps directed to children, and it prohibits using a child’s personal information to market those products and services to that child.
Finally, the bill restricts the ability of online book service providers from disclosing information about customers’ reading choices without a court order, since what people read can reveal or imply much about them.
The second bill, Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 79, enables students and educators in Delaware public schools to use technology to enhance student educational opportunities without compromising the privacy and security of student data.
The bill prohibits education technology service providers from selling student data, using student data to engage in targeted advertising to students or their families, amassing a profile on students to be used for non-educational purposes, or disclosing student data except as permitted by the bill.
The bill also establishes a Student Data Privacy Task Force to study and make recommendations regarding the development and implementation of a comprehensive framework to govern the privacy, protection, accessibility, and use of student data at all levels of the state’s public education system.
The third bill, House Bill 102, is an extension of the Department Of Justice’s Address Confidentiality Program for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, as well as material witnesses, and members of their households.
Under this bill, it will be unlawful to publicly display, post online, or solicit, sell, or trade online the address, image, or telephone number of a participant in the Address Confidentiality Program for the purpose of inciting someone to commit violence or harm against that person or members of their household.
HB102 also outlaws a person’s ability to publicly display or post such information online if the program participant or their representative has made a written demand on the person to stop.
The final bill, House Bill 109, protects the online activities of Delawareans by prohibiting employers from requiring employees, or applicants, to disclose information that would give the employer access to their personal social media accounts, to log in so the employer may view such accounts, to accept a “friend” request from the employer, or to disable privacy settings on those accounts.