Daily Report for 6/25/2020

Governor's Actions

No legislation is Signed by Governor Today

New Legislation Introduced

No Introduced Legislation

Legislation Passed By Senate

BillCurrent StatusSponsorSynopsisTitle
HB 346 w/ HA 5SignedLonghurstThis Act provides for voting by mail for the 2020 primary and general elections and special elections held under the provisions of Chapter 73 of Title 15 due to the emergency caused by COVID-19, a highly contagious virus. Voting by mail is an alternative to, and not a replacement for, in-person voting, which remains an available option to those electors not voting by absentee or mail ballot. This Act establishes procedures for voting by mail which mirror the procedures for absentee voting. The Act makes clear that, like in absentee voting, no ballots can be tabulated until Election Day. The authority to implement voting by mail stems from the Delaware Constitution. Article XVII of the Delaware Constitution mandates that in order to insure continuity of State and local governmental operations in periods of an emergency resulting from disease, the General Assembly shall have the power and immediate duty to adopt measures that may be necessary and proper for insuring the continuity of governmental operations including nonconformity with the requirements of the Constitution when in the judgment of the General Assembly to do so would be impracticable. With this Act, the General Assembly finds that due to the highly contagious nature of COVID-19, and the need to protect Delaware voters and polling workers from the virus, voting by mail is necessary and proper for insuring the continuity of governmental operations, and conformity with the constraints of Article V, § 4A would be impracticable.AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 15 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO VOTING BY MAIL FOR THE 2020 NON-PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY, GENERAL, AND SPECIAL ELECTIONS.
HB 351PassedOsienskiPrior to the pandemic occasioned by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), approximately 500 initial unemployment claims were filed in Delaware each week. Between March 15 and May 30, 2020, the Department of Labor received over 100,000 initial claims, bringing the average number of pandemic related unemployment, extended and new federal benefit claims to an average of 10,000 per week. Although it is too early to know the total amount of pandemic-related claims that will be appealed to the Board, the massive increase in overall claims is expected to generate a commensurate increase in the number of appeals. Section 1 of this Act authorizes the expansion of the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and authorizes it to hold more hearings if and when necessary to hear unemployment insurance appeals and will sunset on June 30, 2021. Section 2 of this Act defers extended benefits under state law until after the payment of pandemic emergency unemployment compensation, as is required by the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) (Public Law 116-136), Section 2107(a)(5). AN ACT TO AMEND TITLES 29 AND 19 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION IN RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC.
HB 352PassedOsienskiThis Act extends provisions in the First and Twentieth Modifications to the Declaration of a State of Emergency due to a Public Health Threat which authorize the Delaware Secretary of Labor to issue emergency rules amending the Delaware Unemployment Insurance Code to enhance flexibility in the program to meet the burden of temporary layoffs, isolation and quarantine suffered by Delaware employees as a result of the pandemic.AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 29 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE POWERS OF THE DELAWARE SECRETARY OF LABOR RELATED TO UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION IN RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC.
HB 353PassedOsienskiThis Act would ensure that employers are not charged for the benefit wages of employees who they had to terminate, furlough, or lay off due to the economic shutdown needed to respond to the COVID-19 public health crisis. The intention of the Department of Labor is to use other sources of federal funds to repay the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund for the COVID-19 related benefits paid to these claimants, instead of charging the employers. It is not the intention to increase taxes on employers, and for most employers, this Act will avoid a significant increase in their unemployment tax assessment rates from COVID-19 related charges.AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 19 RELATING TO NON-CHARGING OF COVID-19 RELATED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS TO EMPLOYERS.
HB 354PassedBennettThis Act requires statutorily designated health providers to provide medical certifications of death, for death certificates, electronically and for the death certificates to be electronically filed with the Delaware Vital Events Registration System (DelVers). This Act sunsets on March 30, 2021.AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 16 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO DEATH CERTIFICATES.
HB 355PassedK. JohnsonThis Act creates the 17-person Behavioral Health Planning and Advisory Council to the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health and ensures the Council will satisfy the requirements of Title XIX of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300x-4(a)). The Act designates the Council as Delaware’s State Mental Health Planning Council under Title XIX of the Public Health Services Act (42 U.S.C. 300x). The Act also makes clear that the Council is a public body for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act.AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 29 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES.
HB 350PassedChukwuochaThis Act creates the crime of Aggravated Strangulation. A person is guilty of Aggravated Strangulation if the person is a law-enforcement officer, and while acting within the person’s official capacity as a law-enforcement officer, knowingly or intentionally uses a chokehold on another person. Under this Act, a chokehold is only justifiable when the person reasonably believes deadly force is warranted in order to protect the life of a civilian or law-enforcement officer. Aggravated Strangulation is a Class D felony unless the law-enforcement officer using a chokehold causes serious physical injury or death to another person thereby elevating the crime to a Class C felony. This Act also makes clear that if a person is charged under this section, such a charge shall not preclude or limit the State or any other prosecuting agency from bringing other criminal charges against the person.AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 11 THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO CHOKEHOLDS.
HS 1 for HB 348 w/ HA 1PassedBentzHouse Substitute No. 1 for House Bill No. 348 differs from HB 348 in the following ways: 1. In Paragraph 2 of the Preamble, the exact language from Governor Carney’s Second Modification of the March 12, 2020 Declaration of a State of Emergency pertaining to suspension of the Delaware Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline Regulation 19 is incorporated to support Section 4 of the bill which specifies that physicians may prescribe opioids via telemedicine. 2. A new Paragraph 3 has been added to the Preamble to reference a Joint Order of Health and Social Services and the Delaware Emergency Management Agency dated March 24, 2020 specifying categories of out-of-state health care practitioners who will be authorized to practice in Delaware during the state of emergency occasioned by COVID-19. 3. The Substitute adds a requirement that out-of-state practitioners must complete a Medical Request Form and comply with any other regulations established by the Division of Professional Regulation. 4. The Substitute eliminates language limiting the practice of telemedicine by both physicians and APRNs without a practitioner-patient relationship to the existence of COVID-19. 5. The Substitute specifies that prescribing controlled substances including opioids prescribed via telemedicine is subject to the same standards of practice and includes a paragraph under existing law pertaining to authorization for APRNs to prescribe controlled substances and adds the authority to prescribe opioids by electronic means. 6. The Synopsis has been changed to reflect that practitioners covered include respiratory therapists and physician assistants and the other changes in the Substitute bill. This Act continues certain provisions in the Declaration of a State of Emergency for the State of Delaware dated March 12, 2020 due to a Public Health Threat as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic as modified related to telemedicine. The Second Modification of the State of Emergency suspended all Title 24 statutory requirements that patients present in-person before telemedicine services may be provided and the requirement that a patient must be in Delaware at the time the telemedicine services are provided; this Act continues the suspension of those requirements, but specifies that the requirement that a patient present in-person prior to the delivery of telemedicine services is excused under circumstances which make in-person presentation impractical. The Tenth Modification of the State of Emergency suspended any requirement in regulation that required both audio and visual technology; this Act prohibits any regulation pertaining to telemedicine requiring visual communication so as to permit telemedicine services via non-smart phones or land line connections. It continues suspension of the Delaware Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline Regulation 19 limiting the scope of telemedicine, including with respect to prescribing opioids. Professions not covered by this Act include those professionals who require direct supervision by the nature of the work such as licensed associate counselors of mental health. Such professionals may engage in telemedicine and telehealth as provided by existing law. Practitioners covered by the Medical Practices Act, 24 Del. C. Chapter 17 including Respiratory Care Practitioners and Physician Assistants, are covered by the Act. Professions covered by Title 24 which do not currently have statutory telemedicine authorization are not covered. This Act requires that telemedicine services permitted under this Act receive the same insurance coverage as under existing law. The Act expires on July 1, 2021.AN ACT TO AMEND TITLES 18 AND 24 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO TELEMEDICINE SERVICES.

Legislation Passed By House of Representatives

BillCurrent StatusSponsorSynopsisTitle
SB 170PassedTownsendThis Act creates a CBD-Rich card medical marijuana card to treat anxiety in adults. This Act also requires that a registry identification card state the type of card that is issued to clearly identify qualifying adult patients, qualifying pediatric patients, designated caregivers, and CBD-Rich patients. This Act also makes technical corrections to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual.AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 16 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO MEDICAL MARIJUANA.
SB 201 w/ SA 1PassedTownsendThis Act makes additional technical changes to Senate Bill No. 122 and Senate Substitute No. 1 for Senate Bill No. 122. The Senate Substitute unanimously passed both chambers during the 1st Session of the 150th General Assembly. Section 1 of this Act creates the Delaware Perinatal Quality Collaborative to improve pregnancy outcomes for women and newborns and such issues as obstetrical blood loss management, pregnant women with substance use disorder, infants impacted by neonatal abstinence syndrome, and advancing evidence-based clinical practices and processes through quality care review, audit, and continuous quality improvement. Section 2 of this Act establishes the Chair of the Delaware Healthy Mother and Infant Consortium as the temporary chair of the Collaborative to guide the Collaborative’s initial organization. AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 16 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO PERINATAL QUALITY COLLABORATIVE.
SB 210PassedLopezThis Act amends the Charter of Lewes to give the City Council the authority to impose and collect a lodging tax. This Act requires a two-thirds majority because it revises a municipal charter.AN ACT TO AMEND THE CHARTER OF LEWES RELATING TO THE POWER TO IMPOSE AND COLLECT A LODGING TAX.
SB 191PassedBrownSince the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868, with Delaware ratifying it in 1901, at least 15 states have added a provision to their state constitution that prohibits the denial or abridgement of equal rights under the law based on race, color, or national origin. In 2019, Delaware amended the state constitution to prohibit the denial or abridgement of equal rights under the law based on sex, but no such prohibition exists as to race, color, or national origin. This Act is the first leg of a constitutional amendment to add race, color, and national origin to the Article I, § 21 of the Delaware Constitution to explicitly declare that protection against discrimination based on race, color, and national origin is one of Delaware's fundamental rights. This Act requires a greater than majority vote for passage because Article XVI, § 1 of the Delaware Constitution requires the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members elected to each house of the General Assembly when the General Assembly amends the Delaware Constitution.AN ACT PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO ARTICLE I OF THE DELAWARE CONSTITUTION RELATING TO EQUAL RIGHTS.
SB 236PassedLopezThis Act amends the Charter of Dewey Beach to give the Town Commissioners the authority to impose and collect a lodging tax. The new lodging tax is distinct from the existing accommodations tax. A rental property may be subject to either the accommodations tax or the lodging tax, but not both. In addition, the lodging tax may not be imposed before April 1, 2021, the initial rate may not exceed 1.5%, and the rate may not be increased by no more than .5% annually until the maximum rate, 3%, is reached. This Act also makes technical corrections to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual. This Act requires a greater than majority vote for passage because § 1 of Article IX of the Delaware Constitution requires the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members elected to each house of the General Assembly to amend a charter issued to a municipal corporation. AN ACT TO AMEND THE CHARTER OF DEWEY BEACH RELATING TO THE POWER TO IMPOSE AND COLLECT A LODGING TAX.
SS 1 for SB 229PassedPettyjohnSenate Substitute No. 1 for Senate Bill No. 229 differs from Senate Bill No. 229 by changing the word “competent” to “incompetent” as grounds for disqualification for the office of Commissioner. This Act amends the Town of Bridgeville Charter to establish a clear standard to determine whether a Commissioner is unable to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of the office of Commissioner under the Charter. The current language of the Town of Bridgeville Charter is unclear regarding under what circumstances, if any, a Commissioner may be found to be unable to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of the office. This Act also makes corresponding changes to an existing section of the Town of Bridgeville Charter. This Act requires a greater than majority vote for passage because § 1 of Article IX of the Delaware Constitution requires the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members elected to each house of the General Assembly to amend a charter issued to a municipal corporation.AN ACT TO AMEND THE TOWN OF BRIDGEVILLE CHARTER RELATING TO DISQUALIFICATION OF ELECTIVE OFFICERS.
SB 244PassedParadeeThis bill continues the practice of amending periodically the Delaware Statutory Trust Act (the “Act”) to keep it current and to maintain its national preeminence. The following is a section-by-section review of the proposed amendments of the Act. Section 1. This section amends Section 3801 of the Act to add new definitions for "document" and "electronic transmission," which terms appear in new Section 3826 among other places in the Act. Section 2. This section amends Section 3804(a) of the Act to confirm that a trust may enter into contracts on behalf of a series of the statutory trust with and on behalf of another series of the statutory trust or with itself. This Section also confirms certain circumstances under which a statutory trust shall be the “debtor” in connection with liens or security interests granted in any assets of a series or any assets associated with a series of the statutory trust. Section 3. This Section amends Section 3805(f) of the Act to clarify that a trustee is not a necessary party to a contract or other instrument to which a statutory trust is a party solely because a trustee holds legal title to statutory trust property. Section 4. This section amends Section 3806 of the Act to conform with the addition of the defined term "electronic transmission" in Section 3801. Sections 5 and 18. These sections amend Sections 3807(e) and 3854(c) of the Act to eliminate the requirement that the Secretary of State issue a certified copy of any certificate filed by the registered agent changing the address of the registered office or the name of the registered agent. These sections also amend Sections 3807(e) and 3854(c) of the Act to confirm that the conversion of the registered agent or a division of the registered agent in which a resulting person succeeds to all of the registered agent business of such registered agent shall be deemed to be a change of name for purposes of these sections of the Act. These sections also amend Sections 3807(f) and 3854(d) of the Act to eliminate the requirement that the Secretary of State issue a certificate in connection with the resignation of the registered agent of a statutory trust or foreign statutory trust and the appointment of the successor registered agent. Sections 5 and 18. These sections also amend Section 3807(g) and Section 3854(e) of the Act to provide that the resignation of a registered agent of a statutory trust or foreign statutory trust without appointing a successor must be done on a single trust basis by paying a fee and filing a certificate of resignation with the Secretary of State. These sections also amend Sections 3807(g) and 3854(e) of the Act to add requirements regarding the content and form of the certificate of resignation filed with the Delaware Secretary of State when the registered agent resigns without appointing a successor, and provide that such information regarding the communications contact that must be included in such a certificate shall not be deemed public. Section 5. This section also amends Section 3807 of the Act by adding new subsections (i)-(m) to prescribe the duties of a registered agent; require that persons or entities serving as registered agent for more than fifty entities (a “Commercial Registered Agent”) be generally open during normal business hours and have a natural person present to operate such office and communicate with the Secretary of State on request; require Delaware statutory trusts to provide registered agents with a designated natural person to receive communications from the registered agent and require the registered agent to maintain in its records the identity of such persons; authorize the Secretary of State to issue regulations to enforce these provisions; authorize the Secretary of State to bring a lawsuit in the Court of Chancery to enjoin any person or entity from acting as a registered agent, or as an officer, or director or managing agent of a registered agent, any person or entity who fails to comply with the statutory requirements, who has been convicted of a felony or any crime involving dishonesty, fraud or moral turpitude, or who has used the office of registered agent in a manner intended to defraud the public; and provide that the certificate of trust or registration of a statutory trust or foreign statutory trust will be cancelled if it fails, within a prescribed period, to obtain and designate a new registered agent if the Court of Chancery enjoins any person or entity from acting as a registered agent for such statutory trust. Section 6. This section amends Section 3810(d) of the Act to include a reference to a certificate of division. Section 7. This section amends Section 3811(a)(4) of the Act to provide for the manner in which a certificate of division must be executed. Section 8. This section amends Sections 3812(b) and 3812(c) of the Act to include a reference to a certificate of division. Section 9. This section amends Section 3813(a)(2) of the Act to provide for the fee payable to the Delaware Secretary of State for the filing of a certificate of division pursuant to the Act, Section 3813(a)(6) to provide for the fee for the issuance of any certificate issued via the Secretary of State's online services and Section 3813(a)(7) to provide for the fee payable for a written report of a record search. Sections 10 and 18. These sections amend Section 3814(a) and Section 3854(a) of the Act to clarify requirements regarding the name under which a statutory trust or a foreign statutory trust may register with the Secretary of State. Section 11. This section amends Section 3815(a) of the Act to provide a majority vote default rule for a merger or consolidation entered into by a statutory trust registered as an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940 unless otherwise provided in the governing instrument of such statutory trust. This amendment provides that the amendment does not apply to statutory trusts formed prior to the effectiveness of the amendment unless otherwise provided in the governing instrument of such statutory trust. Section 11. This section also amends Section 3815(h) of the Act to confirm that no appraisal rights are available with respect to a beneficial interest or another interest in a statutory trust, including in connection with the enumerated transactions unless otherwise provided for in the enumerated documents and adds reference to a plan of division as a document that may include appraisal rights. Section 12. This section amends Section 3819(d) of the Act to confirm that a statutory trust may maintain its books, records and other information in other than paper form (including electronic form) if such form is capable of conversion into paper form within a reasonable time. Section 13. This section amends Section 3821(b) of the Act to provide a majority vote default rule for approving a conversion of a statutory trust registered as an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940 unless otherwise provided in the governing instrument of such statutory trust. This amendment provides that the amendment does not apply to statutory trusts formed prior to the effectiveness of the amendment unless otherwise provided in the governing instrument of such statutory trust. Sections 13 and 14. These sections amend Sections 3821(f) and 3823(c) of the Act with regard to certifications provided by the Secretary of State in connection with the filing of a certificate of transfer, a certificate of transfer and domestic continuance and a certificate of conversion to non-Delaware entity. Section 14. This section also amends Section 3823(b) of the Act to provide a majority vote default rule for approving a transfer or domestication or continuance of a statutory trust registered as an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940 unless otherwise provided in the governing instrument of such statutory trust. This amendment provides that the amendment does not apply to statutory trusts formed prior to the effectiveness of the amendment unless otherwise provided in the governing instrument of such statutory trust. Section 15. This section adds new Section 3824 of the Act to provide that, upon motion by the Attorney General, the Court of Chancery may cancel the certificate of trust of any statutory trust for abuse or misuse of its statutory trust powers, privileges or existence Section 16. This section adds new Section 3825 of the Act to enable a statutory trust to divide into one or more newly formed statutory trusts with the dividing trust continuing its existence or terminating its existence, as the case may be. Section 17. This section adds new Section 3826 of the Act, which establishes non-exclusive, safe harbor methods to reduce certain acts or transactions to a written or electronic document and to sign and deliver a document manually or electronically. The terminology in Section 3826(a) is based on analogous provisions in existing Sections 3806 of the Act, the Delaware Uniform Electronic Transactions Act ("UETA"), and the Model Business Corporation Act, with modifications. Section 3826(a) permits statutory trust transactions (such as entering into agreements of merger not filed with the Secretary of State) to be documented, signed and delivered through "Docusign" and similar electronic means. The Section 3826(a) safe harbor provisions apply solely for purposes of determining whether an act or transaction has been documented, and whether a document has been signed and delivered, in accordance with the Act and the governing instrument. Section 3826(a) does not preempt any statute of frauds or other law that might require actions be documented, or that documents be signed and delivered, in a specified manner. Section 3826(a) clarifies how its provisions operate in connection with a transaction conducted pursuant to UETA. To the extent UETA does not apply to a transaction (under Section 12A-103 of UETA) because the transaction is governed by the Act, the parties to the transaction can satisfy the Act by complying with Section 3826(a). Section 3826(b) addresses certain actions and documents that are not governed by Section 3826(a). There is no presumption that these excluded items are prohibited from being effected by electronic or other means, but Section 3826 may not be relied on as a basis for documenting an act or transaction, or signing or delivering a document, if the exclusions set forth in Section 3826(b) apply. Certain of these excluded items are governed by separate provisions that facilitate the use of electronic media, including documents filed with the Secretary of State (governed by Section 3812(a)). Section 3826(b) permits governing instrument provisions that restrict the use of Section 3826(a), but those restrictions must be expressly stated. A provision merely specifying that an act or transaction will be documented in writing, or that a document will be signed or delivered manually, will not prohibit the application of Section 3826(a). Section 3826(c) addresses the interaction between the provisions of the Act and the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (the "E-Sign Act"). Section 3826(c) evidences an intent to allow the Act to govern the documentation of actions, and the signature and delivery of documents, to the fullest extent the Act is not preempted by the E-Sign Act. Section 18. This section also amends Section 3854(b)(2)c. of the Act to clarify the types of foreign entities that may be a registered agent of a foreign statutory trust. Section 19. This section provides that the proposed amendments to the Act shall become effective August 1, 2020.AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 12 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE CREATION, REGULATION, OPERATION, AND DISSOLUTION OF STATUTORY TRUSTS.
SB 245PassedParadeeThis Act amends the Real Estate Code to modernize the definition of purchase money mortgage under Delaware law to include lenders other than the seller of the mortgaged property who provide financing to purchase the property. Additionally, this Act extends the time period to record a purchase money mortgage from 5 days to 10 days and explicitly subordinates a mechanic’s lien under Chapter 27 of Title 25 to a purchase money mortgage. Finally, this Act makes technical corrections to conform existing language to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual. Specifically, the existing language of § 2108 of Title 25 is redrafted in § 2018(c) and (d) in this Act. AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 25 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO MORTGAGES.
SS 1 for SB 243PassedHansenSince 2009, when video-conferencing was first permitted under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) by Senate Bill No. 104 (145th General Assembly), technology has continued to evolve and the need to provide more mechanisms for participation by members of public bodies and the public has grown. In addition, under the Governor's March 12, 2020, Declaration of a State of Emergency for the State of Delaware Due to a Public Health Threat “State of Emergency” and House Concurrent Resolution No. 85 (“HCR 85”), public bodies in Delaware have been successfully holding virtual meetings. This Act amends FOIA to allow a public body to hold a meeting electronically if specific notice and public access requirements are met. The notice and access requirements follow the guidelines established under HCR 85. This Act gives “advisory bodies” the broadest ability to hold virtual meetings because the vast majority of citizen boards, commissions, task forces, and councils currently in place in Delaware are comprised of volunteer citizens, who serve without pay, and who are charged with providing advice to administrative agencies, the legislature, and others in government. Advisory bodies meet to review data and discuss the programs or operations of particular governmental bodies, to provide advice and recommendations to governmental bodies and members of the public on particular issues, to confer and issue opinions regarding legislation on particular public policy issues, and to provide support and direction for particular public policy goals. There are other boards, commissions, and councils that meet to decide whether to grant or deny certain rights, remedies, or privileges to specific individuals or legal entities, such as a permit, a license, an appeal, or other decision by the board that has legal significance in a subsequent hearing. Boards that have the authority to decide rights, remedies, or privileges in specific situations are not considered advisory bodies under this Act. Frequently, advisory bodies have a difficult time conducting business because business can only be conducted when a quorum of the advisory body is present at the physical meeting location. As a result, some advisory bodies go months without being able to make quorum, members become discouraged, the advisory body stops holding regular meetings, and eventually becomes ineffectual. Delaware agencies and citizens have made great strides in utilizing the technology to conduct virtual meetings since the State of Emergency was ordered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, shortfalls with this technology have been experienced, including the knowledge that significant portions of our State are not yet served with the quality of internet service necessary to support virtual participation in which the participant can be both heard and seen. For this reason, this Act encourages virtual participation encompassing both the ability to hear and see all participants, but also allows technology that only provides the ability to hear all participants. Under this Act, if an advisory body holds a virtual meeting when there is no state of emergency or threat of a public health emergency, members of public must be able to monitor the meeting virtually or in-person at a physical location. If the advisory body is required to accept public comment or provides the opportunity for public comment, the public must be able to participate virtually or at the physical location. Specifically, this Act does all of the following: 1. Allows an advisory body to hold a virtual meeting at any time, if there is an anchor location that is open to the public and 1 or more members of the advisory body attend the meeting at the anchor location. 2. During a state of emergency, allows any public body to hold a virtual meeting. If all members of a public body are elected by the public to serve on the public body, there are requirements to ensure that members have contemporaneous access to documents and the public has the ability to monitor the proceeding and provide public comment, if public comment is otherwise allowed by statute. 3. Permits the Governor, by executive order, to allow all public bodies to hold virtual meetings if necessary to prevent a public health emergency. 4. Clarifies that if its members are not all elected by the public to serve on the public body, a public body must allow a member with a disability to attend a meeting electronically as a reasonable accommodation under § 4504 of Title. If all of the members of the public body are elected by the public, then a public body must allow a member with a disability to attend a meeting electronically unless doing so would present an undue burden. This Act does not revise § 10006 of Title 29, the existing video-conferencing section, because § 10006 permits more types of public bodies to conduct a meeting through video-conferencing than are permitted to conduct a virtual meeting under this Act in the absence of a state of emergency or executive order by the Governor. Senate Substitute No. 1 for Senate Bill No. 243 differs from Senate Bill No. 243 as follows: Section 1 sets forth the findings and intent of the General Assembly regarding the use of technology to improve access to public meetings for all Delawareans and in particular, individuals with disabilities. Section 1 also clarifies that it is the intent of the General Assembly to incorporate the well-established body of law that requires places of public accommodation to provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities if the accommodation can be provided without imposing an undue burden on the place of public accommodation. Section 2 makes technical corrections to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual. Section 4 revises the new virtual meeting section, as follows: 1. Reorganizes the new § 10006A for clarity. 2. Revises language to improve clarity and incorporate concerns from stakeholders. 3. Clarifies that a public body that is composed entirely of members elected by the public to the public body may allow a member with a disability to attend a public meeting through a means of electronic communication as a reasonable accommodation. 4. Allows any public body, at the discretion of the chair or presiding officer, to allow the public to monitor or provide public comment through the use of an electronic means of communication. 5. Requires that if a public body holds a virtual meeting, the public must be able to monitor the virtual meeting electronically, and, if applicable, provide public comment through the use of a means of electronic communication. Section 5 sunsets § 10006A, the new virtual meeting provisions, in its entirety, on June 30, 2021. This sunset provision anticipates continued work by agencies and public stakeholders to learn from experience using technology to hold virtual public meetings and to revise this section during the next legislative session to reflect lessons learned through experience. Finally, Senate Substitute No. 1 for Senate Bill No. 243 states that passage of this Act requires a greater than majority vote for passage because § 1 of Article IX of the Delaware Constitution requires the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members elected to each house of the General Assembly to amend a charter issued to a municipal corporation.AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 29 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT.
SB 246PassedPoorePresently, a legal process does not exist for a Delaware hospital to seek the appointment of a guardian for a non-acute patient who has been a patient at the hospital for an extended period, after having been abandoned by family. This bill authorizes a hospital to petition for a court-appointed guardian for such a patient after providing two notices to the patient, the patient's surrogate, or the patient's family if there is no surrogate, of the need to seek a guardian for the patient. AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 16 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY AND OBLIGATIONS OF HEALTH-CARE PROVIDERS FOR NON-ACUTE PATIENTS.
SB 247PassedHansenThis Act ensures that the protections put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic related to notarizations do not cease immediately upon the lifting of the COVID-19 State of Emergency, but instead continue until June 30, 2021. The Act authorizes remote notarization and witnessing by Delaware attorneys via audio-visual technology and sets forth conditions under which they can be performed. The Delaware Governmental Offices’ requirement for a wet signature is waived. The Recorder of Deeds is required to accept documents notarized and witnessed under specified procedures in the Eleventh Modification. This Act ensures that the General Assembly will have another opportunity to express its will on continuing this protection by including an internal sunset date. AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 20 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO PUBLIC PROTECTIONS DURING THE COVID-19 STATE OF EMERGENCY AND NOTARIZATION.
SB 248PassedSokolaThe purpose of the Bill is to allow for the modifications to the Disability Insurance Program for state employees that were included in the Governor’s Twelfth Modification to the COVID-19 State of Emergency to continue until December 30, 2020 in the event that the State of Emergency ends prior to that date.AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 29 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE DISABILITY INSURANCE PROGRAM.
SB 251PassedSturgeonThis Act ensures that the protections put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic related to marriage licenses do not cease immediately upon the lifting of the COVID-19 State of Emergency, but instead continue until June 30, 2021. This Act authorizes parties applying for a marriage license to appear together before an issuing officer via video-conference call and authorizes the issuing officer to witness the parties’ signatures on the marriage license application by video-conference call. This Act ensures that the General Assembly will have another opportunity to express its will on continuing this protection by including an internal sunset date. AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 20 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO PUBLIC PROTECTIONS DURING THE COVID-19 STATE OF EMERGENCY AND MARRIAGE LICENSES.
SS 1 for SB 239PassedWalshThis bill extends the effective date of the Delaware Contractor Registration Act to July 1, 2021, or upon promulgation of final regulations. The unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic facing Delaware and the nation necessitates moving the implementation of the law until July 1, 2021, or upon promulgation of final regulations. The bill also extends the effective date of changes to the Workplace Fraud Act to mirror the effective date of the Delaware Contractor Registration Act. This will facilitate enforcement and alleviate logistical issues with the implementation of the contractor registry.AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 168, VOLUME 82 OF THE LAWS OF DELAWARE RELATING TO CONTRACTOR REGISTRATION.
SB 253PassedEnnisThis Act ensures that the price protections for Delawareans related to price gouging put in place during the COVID-19 state of emergency do not cease immediately upon the lifting of the COVID-19 state of emergency, but instead continue for a short period of time during the COVID-19 recovery period. The COVID-19 recovery period runs until the sixty-first day following the termination of the COVID-19 state of emergency. This Act is intended to set the ceiling for what constitutes price gouging during the COVID-19 recovery period. This Act is written to give the Governor flexibility to carry out the legislative will of protecting Delawareans while not regulating price more than necessary given the market needs and conditions. If additional executive orders are issued to further ratchet down or slowly ease the transition back to normal operations, those are the protections that will be in effect during the COVID-19 recovery period. Sections 1 and 2 of this Act sunset on the sixty-first day following the termination of the COVID-19 state of emergency. Section 3 will not sunset to ensure that a violation of this Act occurring while the protections of this Act are in effect can be pursued after the expiration of this Act, the termination of the COVID-19 state of emergency, the termination of the COVID-19 recovery period, or the suspension of the protection of this Act by the Governor.AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 6 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO PRICE PROTECTIONS DURING THE COVID-19 RECOVERY PERIOD.
SB 249PassedParadeeThis Act extends the Clean Air Act Title V Operating Permit Program annual fees for facilities in Delaware, which have historically expired and been reauthorized by the General Assembly every three years. Existing statutory authorization to collect fees sunsets December 31, 2020. This legislation updates the fee assessments based on the work of the Title V Operating Permit Program Advisory Committee and makes additional clarifying updates to the fee provisions. For 2021-2023, the total fee will be comprised of a base fee, user fee, and a program fee. Base fees are based on the number of staff hours spent on the source’s permitting, compliance, and enforcement activities, while the user fee is based on the source’s air emissions. The program fee will be assessed based on the total base and user fees. A fee credit implemented to reduce a prior fund balance is allowed to sunset as scheduled. This Act authorizes the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to collect Title V annual fees for calendar years 2021 through 2023 at which point the authority sunsets and would need to be reauthorized.AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 7 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE CLEAN AIR ACT TITLE V OPERATING PERMIT PROGRAM.
HA 1 to HS 1 for HB 348PassedBentzSince Governor Carney issued the Declaration of a State of Emergency as modified since March 12, 2020, the fear that Delaware’s health care system would be overwhelmed by the pandemic has eased to the point where the need to rely on out-of-state health care practitioners has diminished. Accordingly, this Amendment eliminates authorization for out-of-state practitioners to practice telemedicine and telehealth in Delaware with the exception of mental health care providers. It retains the suspension of any Delaware Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline Regulations which limit the practice of telemedicine. The authorization to use audio-only communication devices and to dispense with a pre-existing patient provider relationship if it is impractical to have an in-person encounter prior to the delivery of telehealth services is maintained. The suspension of the Delaware Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline Regulation regarding prescribing opioids is also maintained. 

Senate Committee Assignments

No Senate Committee Assignments

House Committee Assignments

Committee
Appropriations
Capital Infrastructure

Senate Committee Report

No Senate Committee Report

House Committee Report

No House Committee Report

Senate Defeated Legislation

BillCurrent StatusSponsorSynopsisTitle
SA 2 to HB 346DefeatedRichardsonThis Amendment clarifies that the Department of Elections must maintain at least 1 polling place in each election district as required under current law for primary, general, and special elections. 
SA 1 to HB 346DefeatedHockerThis Amendment removes the requirement that the State Election Commissioner mail an application to receive a voting by mail ballot to all qualified, duly registered electors. In its place, this Amendment provides for a process in which an elector files an application for a voting by mail ballot. This is the process currently used to receive an absentee ballot. This Amendment also requires the Department to make applications for voting by mail ballots available through multiple means to aide electors in obtaining an application for a voting by mail ballot.  
SA 3 to HB 346DefeatedBoniniThis Amendment limits to 3, the number of ballots an individual can deliver to the Department during an election. In order to enforce this limit, this Amendment requires that when an individual delivers a ballot envelope, the individual must provide proof of identity and sign a record maintained by the Department. 
SA 1 to HB 350DefeatedPettyjohnThis Amendment removes the mens rea element of knowledge, which means that an individual must intentionally use a chokehold on another person to be guilty of aggravated strangulation. 

House Defeated Legislation

No House Defeated Legislation

Nominations Enacted upon by the Senate

No Records