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Statehouse Business: Week 1

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DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

Delaware Business Times will recap each week of the 2020 Delaware General Assembly by tracking bills of interest in the state’s business community as they proceed through the legislative process.

A bill is first assigned to either a House of Representatives or Senate committee for hearings on its proposal within 12 days of introduction. After the hearing, the committee may vote to send the bill to the floor of the chamber for a full vote among members. If approved on the House or Senate floor, the bill is sent to the opposite chamber for a committee and floor vote. If approved there, Gov. John Carney will either sign or veto the bill.

Bills will be listed along with their primary sponsor.Committee votes are tracked in three numbers: Favorable, On Its Merits (meaning no opinion but willing to let full chamber weigh in) and Unfavorable. Full chamber votes are tracked in four numbers: Yes, No, Not Voting and Absent. There are 21 members of the Delaware Senate and 41 members of the Delaware House of Representatives.

Passed by House:

HB275 (Schwartzkopf)

Approved in 40-0-0-1 vote on Jan. 16 after 5-0-0 vote in House Administration Committee on Jan. 15. Now awaits hearing in Senate Health & Social Services Committee.

This bill permits the owner of a beer garden or food establishment to permit leashed dogs on licensed outdoor patios of food establishments and in beer gardens.

HB264 (Baumbach)

Approved in 40-0-0-1 vote on Jan. 16 after 0-9-0 vote in House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee on Jan. 15. Now awaits hearing in Senate Elections, Govt. & Community Affairs Committee.

This act revises the process by which the New Castle County tax rate for owners of real property in municipalities is calculated to reflect fire company contributions made by the municipality. This process does not consider as an in-kind contribution from New Castle County or a municipality the property tax that a fire company does not pay because real property owned by fire companies is exempt from taxation. Because no property tax is due, it is not an amount that either New Castle County or a municipality is waiving. This Act is effective immediately for New Castle County’s fiscal year 2021.

Passed by Senate:

SB 198 (Paradee)

Approved in 21-0-0-0 vote on Jan. 16 after 0-5-0 vote in the Senate Elections, Govt. & Community Affairs Committee on Jan. 15. Now awaits hearing in House Administration Committee.

This act repeals the authority granted to Kent County Levy Court to impose a lodging tax to benefit the Kent County Regional Sports Complex Corporation, also known as DE Turf. This authority was granted during the first session of the 150th General Assembly.

Out of Committee:

HB263 (Bentz)

Reported out of House Health & Human Development Committee in 5-4-0 vote on Jan. 15.

This act requires that individual, group, and State employee insurance plans cap the amount an individual must pay for insulin prescriptions at $100 a month and must include at least one formulation of insulin on the lowest tier of the drug formulary developed and maintained by the carrier.

HB281 (Schwartzkopf)

Reported out of House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee in 4-5-0 vote on Jan. 15.

This bill increases the minimum amount of property damage that triggers the mandatory reporting of a vehicular collision to police from $500 to $2,000. This bill also increases the minimum amount of property damage requiring police agencies to investigate from $1,000 to $2,000. This increase makes Delaware more consistent with other states and reflects the Legislature’s intention in 1997 to increase the amount annually by $100.

HB237 (Q. Johnson)

Reported out of House Economic Development/Banking/Insurance & Commerce Committee in 5-5-0 vote.

This act eliminates the requirement that movie theaters selling alcohol have video cameras in each auditorium and the requirement that an employee must pass through each auditorium during a movie showing.

Introduced:

HB268 (K.Williams)

Assigned to House Health & Human Development Committee on Jan. 16.

This act requires that individual, group, State employee, and public assistance insurance plans provide coverage for epinephrine autoinjectors for individuals who are 18 years of age or under and must include at least 1 formulation of epinephrine autoinjectors on the lowest tier of the drug formulary developed and maintained by the carrier if the insurance plan has tiers.

HB257 (Bentz)

Assigned to House Health & Human Development Committee on Jan. 16

This substitute act establishes a Health Care Provider Loan Repayment Program for new primary care providers to be administered by the Delaware Health Care Commission. Under the loan repayment program, the Health Care Commission may award education loan repayment grants to new primary care providers of up to $50,000 per year for a maximum of 4 years. Priority consideration may be given to DIMER-participating students and participants in Delaware-based residency programs. Sites eligible to apply for grants on behalf of their new primary care providers must be located in underserved areas or areas of need and must accept Medicare and Medicaid participants. Grants to hospital sites must be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis by the applicant hospital and the disbursement of grants from the program is contingent upon an initial, one-time contribution to the Health Care Provider Loan Repayment Program, in an amount Fiscal Year 21 appropriation of State funds up to a maximum of $1 million, from Delaware health insurers.

SB204 (Hocker)

Assigned to Senate Education Committee on Jan. 15.

This act requires public schools to begin their school year after Labor Day. There have been many economic impact reports done that show a positive impact from starting public schools after Labor Day. A report by the Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association estimates that $369 million would be lost if schools were not required to start after Labor Day. This includes $104 million in wages and $21 million in state and local taxes. Maryland is considering similar legislation. A study of Maryland found that pushing the start of school back would generate $74.3 million in economic activity and $7.7 million in new state and local tax revenue. This act takes effect for the 2020/2021 school year.

HCR69 (M. Smith)

Assigned to House Administration Committee on Jan. 16.

Requesting the Division of Research, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Delaware Department of Technology & Information cooperate in creating a detailed and implementable plan to stream audio and video of all floor proceedings of the House of Representatives and Senate, and the public committee action of both legislative chambers; record all such material; and make these recordings available to the public via a web-based archive. The resolution further requests the 151st General Assembly and the governor to vote on the finished plan and authorize the funding needed to implement it.

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