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2016 Legislative Recap

 

The Delaware General Assembly recessed on Thursday, June 30, 2016 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 Union Only Project Labor Agreement legislation
HB 283, a bill  that mandates union only project labor agreements on state funded construction projects was not put up for vote in the General Assembly.  The proposed bill would have required state funded projects to have agreements with unions that require only union members to be hired for the work - meaning an ABC member could bid but would have to hire union members to perform the work. Additionally, the bill requires that contractors and subcontractors must draw 30% of their workforce from the Representative District where the project is located, and 5% of their workforce from eligible Delaware veterans. ABC opposed the bill because it would remove the ability of our members to bid for state funded work and use their existing employees, denying them the same chance as union craftpersons to do work on state funded jobs that their taxes are being used to build.  ABC also believes that government contracting should be based on sound, credible criteria and should be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder.  Government officials have a duty to the public to be fiscally responsible and to avoid favoritism in the procurement process.  These interests are not served when an agency requires a union-only Project Labor Agreement, which discourages the vast majority of the industry from bidding.  For a copy of this legislation, click on http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/lis148.nsf/vwLegislation/HB+283/$file/legis.html?open

ABC defeats mandated apprenticeship program bill
HB 437, 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 12 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 businesses who will not have the ability to meet this requirement.  For a copy of this legislation, click on http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/lis148.nsf/vwLegislation/HB+437/$file/legis.html?open

ABC supports new Stormwater/Erosion Sediment control changes
HB 253, a bill that provides additional options and flexibility to developers, contractors and landowners for meeting standards that protect Delaware's water quality and reduce flooding impacts under the state's sediment and stormwater management program. The legislation was the result of a collaborative effort between the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, state legislators, representatives of the development community, and members of DNREC's Regulatory Advisory Committee (RAC), which has been working to improve upon Delaware's sediment and stormwater regulations that were adopted in 2014. ABC supported this legislation as a way of helping to amend the law to make it more acceptable to landowners, farmers and contractors.  For a copy of this legislation, click on http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/lis148.nsf/vwLegislation/SB+253/$file/legis.html?open

ABC supports Rocket Docket legislation to speed up land use process
HB 396, a bill that is designed to provide an expedited review process for projects likely to have significant economic impact passed the House but stalled in the Senate.  It is for 75,000 square feet of new space, or (ii) the creation or addition of at least 60 new, full-time permanent jobs in New Castle County.  The expedited review process shall create a review timeline which allows for review, final approval and, if required, recordation of a land use plan within 9 months of the plan’s submission, provided that all non-County permits and approvals necessary for County approval have been obtained.  It applies to new office, manufacturing and industrial uses, and excludes new residential projects and commercial (i.e., retail) projects. ABC has always been concerned with the time and delay associated with the review of land use projects is often a factor in determining whether a potential employer comes to Delaware or not. ABC supported this legislation as a way of creating a faster land use process which will ultimately create more construction jobs.  For a copy of this legislation, click on http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/lis148.nsf/vwLegislation/HB+396/$file/legis.html?open

State Capital Budget tops out at $501million

The States capital projects budget passed the General Assembly on June 30, 2015.  The bond bill total is $501 million.  Here is the breakdown:  $75 million for school construction; $250 million for transportation projects; $34 million for the Delaware Economic Office; $45 million for the Office of Management and Budget; and $5.5 million each for Delaware State University, University of Delaware and Delaware Tech.  The rest of the bond bill went to Corrections and DNREC.  There was one provision in the epilogue language related to training:  1) The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) may, in its discretion, engage in one public works procurement utilizing a craft training program. OMB may determine the parameters and processes for any such procurement process and contract. Should OMB engage in such public works procurement as set forth herein, upon its completion, OMB shall report to the Joint Legislative Committee on the Capital Improvement Program with an assessment of said procurement including, but not limited to, cost-savings, project quality and worker safety. For a full copy of the State bond bill, click on http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/lis148.nsf/vwLegislation/HB+450/$file/legis.pdf?open

 

ABC supports enforcement update on electrical licensing
HB 257, a bill that bill allows agents of the Division of Professional Regulation to inspect persons providing electrical services to ensure compliance with the laws relating to electrical services in Title 24 of the Delaware Code was passed by the House and Senate and signed by the Governor.  ABC supported this bill as it is an amendment to the electrical licensing bill that passed 3 years ago that mandates licensing for all electrical journeyperson and apprentice.  This would just allow the State to make sure that contractors are in compliance.  For a copy of this legislation, click on http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/lis148.nsf/vwLegislation/HB+257/$file/legis.html?open

ABC supports waiting period for license for criminal convictions
HB 258, a bill that would eliminate the creation of a probationary electrician license passed the House but no action was taken in the Senate. Additionally, the bill modifies the waiver provision for criminal convictions to require a 2 year waiting period for a person convicted of a felony that was committed against a person.  For all other crimes the person must not be incarcerated.  ABC supported this waiting period for someone to get an electrical license in Delaware.  For a copy of the legislation, click on http://www.legis.delaware.gov/LIS/lis148.nsf/vwLegislation/HA+1+to+HB+258/$file/legis.html?open

ABC opposes mandatory work week requirement for service employees

HB 297, a bill that would require that employers in large office spaces, retail establishments, and post-secondary academic settings provide a minimum 30 hour work week for building service employees was not put up for vote in the General Assembly.  This would include security personnel (except those who work only weekends), janitors, cleaners, porters, and handy persons.  There is an exception if the employee is on voluntary leave during a work week. ABC opposed this mandatory government requirement for companies.  For a copy of this legislation, click on http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/lis148.nsf/vwLegislation/HB+297/$file/legis.html?open

 

ABC supports Wilmington Procurement amendment
HB 324, a bill that
amends Section 8-200 of the Charter of the City of Wilmington and raises some of the threshold amounts in the procurement process passed the House but stalled in the Senate. ABC supported this legislation as a way of improving the procurement process in Wilmington. The purpose of the amendment was to increase public access to City of Wilmington contracting opportunities through the authorization of internet advertising, and authorize the City of Wilmington to participate in cooperative purchasing agreements with other public procurement agencies. For a copy of this legislation, click on http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/lis148.nsf/vwLegislation/HB+324/$file/legis.html?open 

 

Governor signs fiscal 2017 budget
Governor Jack Markell signed the $4.1 billion fiscal year 2017 budget early July 1. The Joint Finance Committee that writes the budget had to remove most of the proposals for new spending Gov. Jack Markell had included in his January budget, since estimates for state tax revenues turned out lower than expected. These cuts included new education spending like improved technology and internet bandwith for schools, pay raises for teachers and expanded after school.  They also cut 1% from the operating budgets of Delaware Tech, University of Delaware and Delaware State. The budget did provide for a 1 ½ % pay raise for state employees.  For a copy of the 2017 budget, click on http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/lis148.nsf/vwLegislation/SB+285/$file/legis.pdf?open