Legislative Wrap-Up

March 21, 2014

Bills would reform campaign finance laws

Rep. Deborah Hudson, R-Fairthorne introduced three bills Wednesday, March 19 that aim at reforming Delaware’s campaign finance laws.

The package of bills includes a bill clarifying Delaware’s Whis­tleblowers’ Protection Act to protect employees who report campaign finance violations by their employers; a bill clarify­ing how joint contributions to a political committee are to be attributed, and a House Con­current Resolution (HCR 39) requesting the establishment of an independent bipartisan com­mittee of Delaware attorneys to review and recommend revisions to Delaware’s campaign finance laws with a report and recom­mendations due by Jan. 1, 2015.

The bills come in response to work done by the Election Law Task Force, on which Hud­son served over the past several months.

Bill would protect children’s online privacy

Rep. Darryl Scott, D-Dover, and Attorney General Beau Biden introduced legislation Tuesday, March 18 designed to protect the online privacy of children and ensure greater control over content posted online by minors.

The Child Online Protection Act, House Bill 261, outlines sev­eral key provisions that websites would be required to implement for users in Delaware, including a requirement to comply with requests from users to take down material they posted as minors, even if the person making the request is no longer a minor.

The bill prohibits website hosts from targeting advertis­ing for products such as alcohol, drugs, tobacco and weapons to users they know are under the age of 18. The bill also would prevent sites from gathering “personally identifiable informa­tion” from known minor users for the purpose of targeting any advertisements to them.

The bill would require sites to use some form of age verifica­tion for users whose information would be tracked or stored. Web­site hosts found to be in violation would be subject to prosecution by Biden’s Consumer Protection Unit under the state’s existing Consumer Fraud Act and face penalties of up to $10,000 per violation.

HB 261 has been assigned to the House Telecommunications, Internet and Technology Com­mittee.

Bill aims to deter witness intimidation

A bill was introduced Monday, March 17, that will increase pen­alties for criminals who attempt to intimidate witnesses. The bill strengthens the state’s laws against witness intimidation.

Attorney General Beau Biden, Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington East, Rep. Helene Keeley, D-Wilmington North, and a bipartisan group of legisla­tors unveiled the bill.

Specifically, this bill seeks to deter criminals and their associates from harassing and in­timidating victims and witnesses by increasing the punishment imposed upon those convicted of the existing crimes of Act of Intimidation and Aggravated Act of Intimidation.

The bill reclassifies Act of Intimidation as a Class D felony, which has a penalty of up to 8 years in prison, and Aggravated Act of Intimidation as a Class B felony, which has a penalty of a minimum of 2 years and up to 25 years in prison.

Bill would permit electronic insurance ID

Rep. Bryon Short, D–Brandy­wine Hundred, has introduced a bill that would allow Delaware drivers to show their proof of insurance using their cell phones.

House Bill 258 would permit drivers to take advantage of new electronic ID cards services be­ing offered by major insurance companies, which now make proof-of-insurance information available to clients via mobile apps and web-based portals.