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Statehouse Business: Week 2

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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.

Headed to Governor:

HB264 (Baumbach)

Approved by Senate 21-0-0-0 on Jan. 23 and House 40-0-0-1 on Jan. 16

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 House:

HB237 (Q. Johnson)

Approved in a 40-0-0-1 vote on Jan. 21. Awaits assignment in Senate.

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.

Out of committee

HB257 (Bentz)

Reported out of Committee  House Health & Human Development Committee in 0-8-0 vote

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.

Introduced:

HB282 (Spiegelman)

Assigned to House Administration Committee on Jan. 21.

This bill is the first leg of a Constitutional Amendment to require a 3/5 vote of each House of the General Assembly to enact a law that would enable a county to enact a tax or increase a tax rate above a rate currently authorized by state law. The General Assembly cannot increase a State tax or enact a new State tax without enacting such a law by a three-fifths vote of each House. This bill applies the same rule to State legislation enabling a county to take such action.

HB279 (Lynn)

Assigned to House Economic Development/Banking/Insurance & Commerce Committee on Jan. 21.

Delaware is one of a handful of states that has no cap other than unconscionability on interest rates for short-term consumer loans. Under Delaware case law, the unconscionability of an interest rate is decided by a court on a case by case basis. This Act caps interest rates at 20% for short-term consumer loans of $1,000 or less that must be repaid in less than 60 days and motor vehicle title loans. This Act also makes technical corrections to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual.

HB80 (Baumbach)

Assigned to House Revenue & Finance Committee on Jan. 23.

Section 1 of this act modifies Delaware’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to allow recipients to choose the most beneficial credit to be applied against their Delaware Personal Income Taxes. Under this Act, recipients can choose between a non-refundable credit of up to 20% of the value of the corresponding federal EITC or a refundable EITC credit of up to 4.5% of the value of the corresponding federal EITC. Section 2 of this act makes the change to Delaware’s EITC effective for the tax year in which the Secretary of Finance provides the Registrar of Regulations with notice that the personal income tax release of the Integrated Revenue Administration System is implemented. This delay in effective date is necessary to ensure that tax law changes can be properly and efficiently implemented in the Division of Revenue’s modernized Integrated Revenue Administration System, which is currently under development.

HB286 (Bentz)

Assigned to House Health & Human Development Committee on Jan. 23.

This bill requires that inadvertent out-of-network services be included in individual and group health insurance policies as well as group and blank health insurance policies. This bill defines inadvertent out-of-network services are those services that are covered under a policy or contract of health insurances, but are provided by an out-of-network provider in an in-network facility, or when in-network health care services are unavailable or not made available to the insured in the facility. Inadvertent out-of-network services also includes laboratory testing ordered by an in-network provider but performed by an out-of-network laboratory.

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