The Delaware General Assembly recessed on Wednesday, June 30 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

HB 150 – Legalize Recreational Marijuana with PLA stalls

HB 150, The Delaware Marijuana Control Act was introduced into the Delaware House of Representatives but not voted on during the session.  It included a union only project labor agreement on all new construction or retrofit of facilities for owners of these facilities looking to obtain a cannabis license.  It also regulates and taxes marijuana in the same manner as alcohol. It allows adults over the age of 21 to legally possess and consume under 1 ounce of marijuana for personal use. It does not permit people to grow their own marijuana.  The plan is for it to come back for vote next legislative session in January 2022.  For a copy of HB 150, please click here.  For a fact sheet on this legislation provided by the sponsors, click here.

 

SB 184 – Apprenticeship bill passes

Senate Bill 184 with Senate Amendment 1, a bill that makes changes to the public works procurement statute and makes contractors bidding on public works projects to commit to craft training of apprentices, passed both chambers and awaits the Governor’s signature.  This bill will require contractors to have apprentices in every trade in their contract. An amendment was added to the legislation that would allow contractors who do not have apprentices or if a program does not exist in their trade to buy-in financially to comply.  The fee would be $1,700/craft/project with a yearly cap of $10,000 for companies of 10 or more and $20,000 for companies with 20 or more employees. ABC opposed this bill due to the cost of the buy-in being per project and not per year for contractors.  For a copy of the bill, click here.

 

State Capital Budget surpasses $1 billion

The States capital projects budget passed the General Assembly on June 30, 2021. The bond bill total is $1 billion, which is the largest in state history and $500 million more than last year.  Here is the breakdown:  The bill puts almost $500 million into transportation and infrastructure; $304 million into K-12 and higher education; $198 million into economic development; $151 million for new Kent and Sussex County courthouses; $87 million for clean water, outdoor recreation, and inland bay dredging; and $70 million for Community Reinvestment and Redevelopment Fund. For a full copy of the State bond bill, click here.

 

Governor signs $4.77 billion budget

Governor John Carney signed the fiscal 2022 operating budget, a $4.77-billion spending plan that invests in public schools, higher education and health care services. For a copy of the full budget, please click here. The House also passed a $221-million supplemental budget, also sponsored by Rep. William Carson, which provides one-time funding for other priorities. For a copy of the supplemental budget, please click here. Notable items in the budget bills include:$17.2 million to increase reimbursement rates for Direct Support Professionals serving adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, fulfilling the promise of phased-in progress toward funding benchmarks established in the McNesby Act; $4.3 million toward expansion of SEED and Inspire scholarships for Delaware students; $5.2 million to implement a statewide body-worn camera program for police officers; a stable and supportive pay and benefits package for state workers and retirees, which includes: a $500 pay increase for all state workers, as well as a one-time bonus of $1,000 to be distributed in November; a 1% pay increase for educators, in addition to salary steps; $20 million in contingency funds to cover projected state employee health insurance costs and ensure employees incur no rate increases this fiscal year; and raises of 1-3% for state pensioners, based on years of retirement, as well as a one-time bonus of $500 to be distributed in November.

 

SB 51 – HVACR board increases enforcement

SB 51, a bill that increases the monetary penalties for sanctions by the Board of Plumbing, Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Examiners to not less than $1,500 but no more than $3,000 was passed by both chambers an awaits the Governor’s signature. The current fine structure states not less than $500 but no more than $1,000. ABC opposed this legislation due to tripling the fine structure in one year during a pandemic.  Contractors have also had issues accessing information from the Division of Professional Regulations during this time.  It was signed into law by the Governor. For a copy of this legislation, please click here.

 

SB 48 – Electrical fines increased

HB 48 a bill that would increases the maximum monetary penalty for a sanction by the Board of Electrical Examiners from $1,500 to not less than $4,500 passed both chambers and awaits the Governor’s signature. The current fine structure language states that a fine cannot exceed $1,500.  ABC opposed this legislation due to tripling the fine structure in one year during a pandemic. Contractors are also having issues accessing information from the Division of Professional Regulations and the Electrical Board. For a copy, click here.

 

SB 156 – Prevailing wage for University of Delaware

SB 156, a bill that would mandate the University of Delaware, like other institutes of higher learning including Delaware State University and Delaware Technical and Community College, must comply with the terms of the Prevailing Wage Law for projects secured under the State Procurement Act passed both chambers and awaits the Governor’s signature. This Act ensures that laborers and trade unions working on public work projects at or for the University of Delaware enjoy the same protections of the Prevailing Wage Law as they would on any other project governed by the SPA. The bill is curtailed such that it will only apply to the University’s designation as a “state agency” for the limited purpose of the application of the Prevailing Wage Law and does not otherwise expand or limit the entity’s duties and liabilities under any other governing statute.  For a copy of this legislation, click here.

 

SB 52 – Sussex Tech tax rates clarified

SB 52, a bill that revises Chapter 26 of Title 14, regarding the Sussex County Vocational-Technical High School District (“District”) passed both chambers and was signed by the Governor.  It does the following:
1. Revises the tax rate for the district and clarifies the acceptable use for the tax revenue.
2. Repeals § 2602(b) of Title 14 because the Tax Rate Review Committee has not been active in decades and it has effectively been replaced by the citizen budget oversight committee created under § 1508 of Title 14.
3. Revises the number of students who may be enrolled in the district.
4. It creates a preference for student admissions for children of members of the District’s Board of Education.
5. Revises academic eligibility by requiring that accepted students remain academically eligible for promotion under the standards established by the Department of Education.
To review the legislation, click here.

 

SB 65 – Fast Act for training tuition re-imbursement

SB 65 which establishes the Focus on Alternative Skills Training Program (“FAST”) passed both chambers and awaits the Governor’s signature. FAST will provide tuition, up to $9,000, to Delaware residents who have obtained a high school diploma, Diploma of Alternate Achievement Standards, or a Delaware secondary credential, which includes earning a GED, and have enrolled in an approved non-degree credit certificate program. The Workforce Development Board will create a list of non-degree credit certificate programs approved for the FAST program.  ABC supported the passage of this legislation. It was signed into law by the Governor. For a full copy of SB 65 click here.

SB 142 removes exclusion for Community Transportation Fund from performance-based rating system

SB 142, a bill that removes the exclusion of Community Transportation Funds from the performance-based rating system has passed both chambers and awaits the Governor’s signature.  This exclusion has been in place since the original legislation was passed 4 years ago. A contractor must meet or exceed the minimum contractor’s performance rating at the time of bid, as determined by the Department’s performance-based contractor evaluation system, to be eligible to bid. A contractor who does not meet or exceed the minimum contractor’s performance rating at the time of bid is eligible to bid if the contractor agrees to allow the Department to retain 5% of the payments to be made to the contractor for work performed under the contract.   For a full copy of SB 142, please click here.