2018 Legislative Recap

 

The Delaware General Assembly recessed on Saturday, June 30, 2018 for the year.  Here is a list of bills that ABC was watching throughout the session. 
If you have any questions, please e-mail ecapodanno@abcdelaware.com

 

ABC defeats mandated apprenticeship program bill

Senate Substitute 1 to Senate Bill 76, a bill that all contractors and subcontractors are required, independently or through agreement with other organizations, to provide craft training for journeyman and apprentice levels through a bona fide program approved by and registered with the State of Delaware and/or United States Department of Labor for projects in which workers shall be paid the prevailing wage under §6960 of Title 29 was defeated.  ABC believes that training is an important part of any business but does not believe that the government should mandate participation in an apprenticeship program as a condition for bidding state work. This should be a choice that is made based upon how our members choose to run their business. In addition, the State of Delaware currently does not offer apprenticeship programs in 13 of the 26 prevailing wage classifications.  These companies would be excluded from bidding on state work even if they wanted to comply because the State doesn't offer the training. ABC was also concerned about the impact this will have on small and minority owned businesses that will not have the ability to meet this requirement.  For a copy of this legislation, Click Here 

State Changes DelDOT procurement process

SB 208, a bill that changes the requirement for the prequalification process so that submissions must contain performance reviews for previously awarded public works or private sector construction projects within the last 5 years instead of the last 10 years passed the Senate and House and was signed into law by the Governor. When an agency elects to award on the basis of best value, the maximum weight that can be assigned to the schedule is reduced from 30% to 20%. When an agency elects to award on the basis of best value, performance is added as an objective criteria and must be given weight of at least 10% but no more than 20%. Performance criterion is based on the contractor's performance rating, as determined under the agency's regulations. This Act makes the following changes to the large public works contract procedures in subsection § 6962(c) of Title 29 for only Department of Transportation projects: Adds a bidder prequalification requirement to projects other than Community Transportation Fund and municipal street aid contracts, so that the only contractors eligible to bid on projects are contractors that either meet or exceed the minimum contractor's performance rating or that will permit the Department to retain 10% of the payments to be made to the contractor.  It creates a stakeholder panel to advise the Department of Transportation on the content of the performance-based rating system regulations. Because the stakeholder panel only exists when the performance-based rating system regulations are promulgated or being revised, the stakeholder panel is codified in the Laws of Delaware instead of the Delaware Code. ABC will be represented by Chris Baker from George and Lynch and Bob Fields from Eastern Highway Specialists on the stakeholder panel.  ABC was also able to pass an amendment reducing the retainage from 10% to 5% with that number being reduced to 2% upon 50% completion of the project. 
For a copy of the legislation, Click Here

 

ABC supported workplace fraud reform doesn’t move forward

The General Assembly did not move forward with reform to workplace fraud that was proposed by ABC. It did pass Senate Resolution 26 that mandates the Department of Labor to review and study this issue and report back to the General Assembly in January 2019 with any changes needed. Workplace fraud is a statute that does not allow contractors to sub work out to contractors that do similar work. The proposal would have mirrored language that is used in Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The workplace fraud statute creates severe consequences for Delaware contractors and subcontractors: No ability to subcontract work that is deemed within your course of business – for any reason, ever. It prevents use of MBE/DBE (minority/disadvantaged business enterprises) for work within contractor’s type of work, even if required by the contract (such asDelDOT and other state-funded projects). For a copy of Senate Resolution 26 outlining the study, Click Here 

 

State Capital Budget increases 30% to $817million

The States capital projects budget passed the General Assembly on June 30, 2018.  The bond bill total is $817 million which is a 30% increase over last year.  Here is the breakdown:  $165 million for school construction; $321 million for transportation projects; $35 million for the Delaware Economic Office; $94 million for the Office of Management and Budget; and $10 million each for Delaware State University, University of Delaware and Delaware Tech.  The rest of the bond bill went to Corrections, Delaware State Housing Authority and DNREC.  For a full copy of the State bond bill, Click Here 

 

Residential Electrical Licensing requirements changed

HB 457,
a bill that amends the electrical licensing requirements for residential contractors passed the House and Senate and was signed into law by the Governor.  This bill provides for a residential electrician license. A residential electrician license allows for a person to conduct residential electrical work without having to be under the direct onsite supervision of a licensed master electrician, master electrician special, limited electrician, limited electrician special or journeyperson electrician. Electricians with a residential electrician license are permitted to perform electric work performed on or within a residential dwelling or building prior to the dwelling or building being connected to the electric grid, or work to or beyond the breaker panel or fuse box in a residential dwelling or building, or residential low voltage electric work. For a full copy of this legislation, Click Here

 

ABC supports Electronic Bidding legislation

HB 355, a bill that allows an agency, as defined in § 6902 of Title 29, (“agency”) to accept electronic bid submissions and on-line bidding for contracts procuring material and nonprofessional services. This Act also expands the use of electronic bid submission and on-line bidding to be used for large public works contracts and large professional service contracts by the Office of Management and Budget or an agency. This Act also makes the Section of Government Support Services in the Office of Management and Budget responsible for administering the State’s centralized contract development, solicitation, evaluation, and contract administration system on behalf of all agencies.  For a full copy of this legislation, Click Here 

ABC supports DNREC Cleanup fund legislation

HB 451, a bill that stabilizes revenue for the Hazardous Substances Cleanup Act ("HSCA") Fund by minimizing the wide swings in revenue due to oil prices changes passed the House and Senate and was signed into law by the Governor. Under this Act, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is prevented from receiving a revenue windfall when oil prices rise, while minimum funding for the Brownfields Grant Program is protected when oil prices are low. The legislation ties HSCA funding to a median benchmark and authorizes the Division of Revenue to adjust the tax rate up or down for the following year to smooth the revenue stream and avoid the roller coaster effect of oil price changes. This Act caps the HSCA tax rate at 1.675% and allows the lowest rate to drop to .675%, versus the current HSCA rate of .9%. This Act sets aside a minimum of $5,000,000 annually in HSCA funds for the Brownfields Grant Program, which has leveraged private investment of 16 times the public funds expended in cleaning up polluted sites and returning them to productive use, generating jobs and tax revenue. For a full copy of this legislation Click Here

 

Mechanic’s Lien bill to include engineers

HB 423, a bill that will permit engineers to obtain mechanic’s liens was introduced into the House but did not make it out of committee. The bill further states that a mechanic’s lien can be obtained only if improvements as contemplated by the engineering or architectural services provided are actually constructed or if the surveys or plans are actually approved by the governing authority having jurisdiction or recorded. For a full copy of the legislation, Click Here 

Governor signs fiscal 2018 budget

Governor John Carney signed the $4.7 billion fiscal year 2018 budget early July 2. Contained within are increases to special education funding, and it sets aside $46 million in deferred spending for next year’s operating budget.
The spending plan approved by the Joint Finance Committee earlier this month included $1,000 salary increases for state workers and 2 percent increases for teachers. It also has more than $10 million in step increases for educators and over $3 million for correctional officers. There’s also new money for education initiatives. High poverty schools and those with large populations of English language learners will see $6 million in grant funding. The budget also closes the funding gap of special education services for kids in kindergarten through third grade. Additional dollars are also earmarked for child protection services and substance abuse treatment. But the budget does not include the proposed bonuses for state employees and pensioners. For a copy of the full budget, Click Here