Legislative Update the Week of April 11, 2022

Legislative Update the Week of April 11, 2022

The Delaware General Assembly is in session this week. The public may access the building.

  • The Delaware State Senate will holds session (floor votes) on Tuesday, April 12 at 2:00 PM. On Wednesday, April 13, the Senate will hold committee hearings and then commence session at 4:00 PM. On Thursday, April 15, the Senate will commence session at 2:00 PM.
    • To view the Senate Agenda, visit https://legis.delaware.gov/Agenda/Senate
    • To view the session virtually, visit https://legis.delaware.gov/WatchandListen?view=1&category=1
  • The Delaware State House of Representatives will hold session (floor votes) on Tuesday, April 12 at 2:00 PM. There will be committee hearings, but no floor votes. On Wednesday, April 13, the House will hold committee hearings, but no floor votes. On Thursday, April 15, the House will commence session at 2:00 PM
    • To view the House Agenda, visit https://legis.delaware.gov/Agenda/House
    • To view the session virtually, visit https://legis.delaware.gov/WatchandListen?view=1&category=1
  • For a list of committee hearings, with links to watch or participate, visit: https://legis.delaware.gov/CommitteeMeetings

Paid Family and Medical Leave Bill in released from committee last week
Senate Substitute 2 to Senate Bill 1, the second rewrite of the paid family medical leave legislation sponsored by Senator Sarah McBide (D-Wilmington), was heard in the House Health and Human Development Committee on Wednesday, April 6.

The Chamber submitted testimony in opposition to the legislation. The bill was released and then assigned to the House Appropriations Committee where it awaits consideration.

The bill's synopsis reads as follows:
This Act, the Healthy Delaware Families Act, creates a statewide paid family and medical leave insurance program. Delaware employees can access up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave through the State's paid leave trust fund for a qualifying event, including for the following: (1) To address a worker's own serious health condition. (2) To care for a family member with a serious health condition. (3) To bond and care for a new child. (4) To address the impact of a family member's military deployment. This Substitute to Senate Bill No. 1 differs from Senate Bill No. 1 with regard to the eligibility determination process, covered relationships, length of leave, forms of leave covered, cumulative leave, eligibility criteria, implementation timeline, appeal process, departmental powers, and not requiring participation from certain smaller businesses. This Substitute differs from Senate Substitute No. 1 to Senate Bill No.1 by making technical corrections, clarifying intent and providing greater statutory detail with regard to appeals, coordination of benefits, definitions, private plans, and departmental power, and providing temporary flexibility regarding implementation. 

​Based on feedback from our membership, particularly among small and mid-sized businesses, the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce continues to oppose the legislation.

While there have been substantial improvements made to the legislation since the introduction of Senate Bill 1, in June of 2021; and the Chamber appreciates the Senator's willingness to engage in dialogue with the business community. However, based on nearly a year of consultation with the membership, the Chamber finds that it must remain in opposition to the bill. 

The bill passed the Senate on March 8 by a vote of 14-7. It requirers a two-thirds vote, which in the House is 25. To download a copy of this legislation, visit: https://legis.delaware.gov/BillDetail?legislationID=79186

Chamber Position: opposed. Status: In House Appropriations Committee. For a summary of the bill, contact Joe Fitzgerald at fitzgeraldj@ncccc.com.

Chamber negotiating amendments on bill requiring retailers to accept cash
House Bill 299, sponsored by Representative Franklin Cooke (D- New Castle) would prohibit retailers from refusing to accept cash during in-person retails transactions. The Chamber of Commerce supports the goal of access to the retail exchange of goods and services for all consumers. However, the bill needs amending language to avoid unintended consequences and to prevent undue civil liability for retails businesses. We are engaged in dialogue with the sponsors to arrive at amendments. 

​The Chamber is seeking the following amendments:
  • Exempt transaction for the rental of consumer goods, services, or accommodations for which posting of collateral or security is typically required. When the City of Philadelphia passed similar legislation, this exemption was included. It is of particular importance to the lodging industry, rental car agencies and other businesses which require collateral or security. 
  • Strike lines 32-33 of the bill, which prohibit "having fewer checkout locations for consumers paying with cash than for consumers paying with non cash methods. There are a number of instances in which a retailer may, for business reasons, need to have more non cash checkout points than cash-accepting payout points. A good example would be service stations. The fact that the pump takes card payment and would probably in most cases outnumber the cashiers able to take cash inside would place a substantial number of service stations in violation of this bill, including WAWA, Royal Farms, et al. 
  • Strike lines 45-54, which provide fora private right of actions. The Chamber respectfully submits that the enforcement authority provided to the Division of Consumer Protection in lines 34-44 of the bill is sufficient. The Chamber strongly encourages the elimination of the private right of action in HB 299.
  • Provide an exemption during states of emergency. In the event of a natural disaster, blizzard, or other event leading to a state of emergency, it might not be a possible for retails to access cash from banks to keep a sufficient amount on hand to accommodate cash exchanges. 
​The Chamber testified on the legislation before the House Economic Development, Banking, Insurance & Commerce Committee on March 9. Status: Out of committee.

​To download a copy of the bill, visit https://legis.delaware.gov/BillDetail?LegislationId=79143. 

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