Legislative update

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The Chamber takes action, seeking regulatory relief during the state of emergency.
The Registrar of Regulations continues to issue draft regulations from state agencies for public review and comment.  Representatives of the business community are concerned that stakeholders may not be in a position to review and comment on regulations at this time.  In a letter to the Governor from Chamber President Bob Chadwick, the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce formally requested of the Governor that there be a moratorium on the issuance of new regulations, unless they relate to the public health or economic impacts of the Coronavirus.  The Chamber recommended that the moratorium be in place for one-to-two months after the state of emergency is lifted. 

Drafting a budget package will be a profound challenge for the General Assembly
Given the economic uncertainty brought about by the sudden closure of businesses throughout the state, and the fact that the tax filing deadline for the State of Delaware has been moved to July 15, forecasting with sufficient accuracy to craft a sound budget may not be possible before June 30.  The alternative would be to pass a continuing resolution, allowing the state to continue to spend money to fund operations, etc. past the end of FY 2020, and allowing the General Assembly time to receive more accurate forecasts for the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council. 
 
Looking for information on business resources and regulations during the state of emergency? 
The Division of Small Business and the Governor’s Office have posted a website containing information about regulations for small business under the State of Emergency order, as well as information on resources for small businesses:  https://business.delaware.gov/coronavirus/.  The site is worth a visit.   
For information on federal loans and relief for small businesses visit the Small Business Administration’s page with information about the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) among other resource.  The site can be found at  https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options

 
Federally-enhanced Unemployment Insurance Claims began last week in Delaware.
Increased unemployment insurance payments began last week.  Delaware’s maximum weekly unemployment benefit is $400.  The CARES Act appropriated federal funds to bring the maximum to $1000 per week for the next four months.  
 
Unemployment claims are at a record high in Delaware.  In a call with the House Small Business Caucus this week, Secretary of Labor Cerron Cade stated that during the whole calendar year of 2019, Delaware DOL processed 37,000 claims.  Over the last three weeks the DOL has processed 50,000 claims. 
 
Delaware’s hospitality sector absorbs another hit due to COVID-19
The coronavirus dealt another blow to the already challenged hospitality sector when, on April 7, in the tenth modification to the State of Emergency order, the Governor announced strict measures on the short-term lodging industry.  

Commercial lodging in Delaware will remain closed through May 15, or until the public health threat is eliminated. The order exempts certain Delawareans and essential workers who may need access to short-term rental units. That list of exemptions includes caretakers with family members nearby, health care providers, journalists, and Delawareans with public housing vouchers.  Victims of domestic violence who need alternative shelter also are exempted.

 
The recent modification also banned door-to-door solicitation and closed electronics stores, video game stores and pawn shops. 
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