|HB 11||Signed||Baumbach||This Act represents the work and recommendations of the Local Service Functions Task Force created by House Concurrent Resolution No. 54 of the 150th General Assembly (“Task Force”). The Task Force held 17 meetings during 2019 and 2020 and after considerable research and discussion, the members of the Task Force unanimously approved recommending these changes to the New Castle County budgeting process. In order to implement these changes for the Fiscal Year 2023 budget (“FY 23 Budget”), the first deadline in this Act that New Castle County must meet is January 31, 2021.
This Act revises the process by which the New Castle County tax rate for owners of real property in municipalities is calculated so that the tax rate more fairly attributes the cost of services to property owners in municipalities and the unincorporated area. This Act is modeled on the process that has been used successfully in Prince George’s County Maryland for several decades. This Act does not affect mutual aid agreements because mutual aid agreements do not impact property tax rates.
This Act creates 2 processes to determine the degree that a local service function (“LSF”) is fully or partially performed or financially supported by a municipality instead of New Castle County and to calculate the property tax rate for real property in each municipality based on that determination. There is 1 process for fire company contributions and 1 process for all other local service functions. The process for fire company contributions was enacted by House Bill No. 264 of the 150th General Assembly (“HB 264”) and is already in effect. This Act creates the process for all other local service functions, which will be implemented beginning for New Castle County’s FY 23 Budget and allows time for the necessary calculations and the development of forms and procedures.
There are 3 different effective dates in this Act. The sections that are effective immediately and on January 1, 2022, keep current law in effect for the Fiscal Year 2022 budget (“FY 22 Budget”) process while allowing the new process to be developed and implemented for the FY 23 Budget. The sections that are effective July 1, 2022 reorganize and revise provisions for clarity and to apply to future budgets.
Specifically, this Act does all of the following:
Section 1 takes effect immediately and revises current law to update definitions and make technical corrections to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual beginning for the FY 23 Budget.
Sections 2 and 4 take effect immediately and create new subparts of Subchapter III of Chapter 11 of Title 9 to create a clear subpart for local service function calculations and a clear subpart for general budget sections.
Section 3 takes effect immediately and creates a new process to calculate the property tax rate for real property in municipalities for local service functions other than fire protection beginning for the FY 23 Budget. The range of services that can be local service functions is substantively unchanged, but where current law anticipates that a municipality provides all or none of a service, this Act recognizes that there are different degrees of performance of a service, some of which may be provided by a municipality, and some which are provided by New Castle County. The new process to calculate the property tax rate for local service functions is similar to the process for fire protection but does not consider the municipality’s cost and is based on New Castle County’s cost to provide the local service function, reduced by fees, grants, and other revenue that supports the specific service and increased by applicable indirect costs. This Act creates specific calculations that New Castle County will use to determine the county property tax for real property in a municipality based upon the municipality’s degree of performance of a service that New Castle County would provide if the municipality did not. This Act also creates a specific process, with deadlines, that New Castle County and municipalities will use during each budget cycle to determine the individual LSF tax rate for real property in each municipality. This Act also creates a binding, non-appealable dispute resolution process for disputes regarding New Castle County’s level of service determinations.
Sections 5 through 9 take effect on January 1, 2022. Sections 5 through 8 revise current sections of Title 9 to be consistent with the new process and terminology enacted in Sections 1 and 3 of this Act. Under this Act, New Castle County must adopt the individual LSF tax rates for real property in municipalities as part of the annual budget process. These Sections also make technical corrections to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual.
Section 9 creates the Local Service Function Review Committee. The Local Service Function Review Committee will meet annually to review the LSF calculation procedure and prepare a report that includes any recommendations for improvements.
Section 10 takes effect on July 1, 2022, and revises Chapter 11 of Title 9 to remove the interim provisions and provide for all of the following:
1. Revises and clarifies how to determine if performance of a LSF should be used to calculate the property tax rate in a municipality. There are no changes to current law regarding how responsibility for starting or stopping a specific LSF is transferred between a municipality and New Castle County. This Section updates whether a municipality or New Castle County is responsible for all or part of a LSF by setting the baseline as how responsibility is set forth in New Castle County’s approved budget for FY 23 Budget, which is based on agreement between New Castle County and each municipality or the arbitration panel’s determination of any dispute. Future changes in whether a municipality or New Castle County perform all or part of a LSF, other than fire protection which is financially supported but not directly performed by a municipality, are handled as follows:
A. If New Castle County performs the LSF under the FY 23 Budget and a municipality subsequently begins performing the LSF, then the municipality and New Castle County may pass ordinances transferring responsibility for performance of the LSF to the municipality.
B. If a municipality performs the LSF under the FY 23 Budget and later desires to stop performing the service, then the municipality and New Castle County may pass ordinances transferring responsibility for performance of the LSF to New Castle County.
C. If a municipality performs the LSF under the FY 23 Budget and later desires to increase or decrease its degree of performance, then the municipality provides notice to New Castle County by August 1 to be effective for New Castle County’s next fiscal year.
D. If a municipality performs a service that is included in the New Castle County General Operating Budget, the municipality may request that the service be classified as a LSF and the municipality may demand arbitration if New Castle County and the municipality cannot reach agreement.
E. If New Castle County establishes a new LSF, the annual negotiation and dispute resolution process will apply if a municipality performs that service.
2. Transfers the fire service provisions from § 1102(e) of Title 9 to § 1126(c) of Title 9 so that all local service function calculations are in the same section.
3. Revises deadlines in § 1128 of Title 9. The deadlines enacted in Section 3 of this Act reflect the additional time needed to transition to the new process. This section revises the deadlines so they are appropriate for the budget process once this new process is established. This section also revises §§ 1101A, 1125, 1126, and 1128 of Title 9 to repeal the language providing that provisions are effective beginning for the FY 2023 budget that was necessary to keep current law in effect for the FY 22 Budget process while allowing the development and implementation of the new process.||AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 9 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO NEW CASTLE COUNTY PROPERTY TAX RATES.|
|HB 35||Signed||Longhurst||This Act establishes a Behavioral Health Professional of the year award program throughout the State. Through this legislation, the state will formally honor and recognize the work behavioral health professionals, such as, school counselors, social workers, licensed clinical social workers, school psychologists, and school nurses.||AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE BEHAVIORAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR.|
|HB 46||Signed||Bush||Currently the Delaware Code does not permit alcoholic beverage license holders to brew hard seltzers or other non-malt based products that they are otherwise allowed to brew as a result of obtaining a Federal Brewer’s Notice. This Act permits Delaware brewery-pub and microbrewery license holders to brew, bottle and sell hard seltzers and other fermented beverages made from malt substitutes and includes specific tax on fermented beverages. The language of the Act also mirrors the federal definition of a malt-substitute product.||AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 4 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO ALCOHOLIC LIQUORS.|
|HB 51||Signed||Lynn||This Act clarifies Delaware’s driving under the influence (“DUI”) law related to intensive inpatient or outpatient drug and alcohol treatment for felony DUI offenders. The current law has resulted in differing interpretations regarding treatment; specifically, whether treatment must be completed while incarcerated (Level V) or at home confinement (Level IV), rather than at community supervision (Level III or Level II). This has resulted in extending incarceration for some offenders or requiring out-of-state offenders to reside in Delaware to complete the mandated drug and alcohol abstinence program and drug and alcohol treatment program under § 4177(d)(9) of Title 21.
Specifically, this Act clarifies when the required intensive inpatient or outpatient drug and alcohol treatment, as approved by the Court or the Department of Correction, can take place. The required program may be completed while the offender is on any level of supervision, not just Level V or IV. The treatment program may also be completed by an offender after arrest and prior to adjudication. permits the Superior Court to sentence felony DUI offenders to commence intensive treatment at any level of supervision, including community supervision. This Act also requires offenders to complete treatment within 9 months of the date of sentence or the date of release from Level V or Level IV, unless the Superior Court has granted the offender an extension for good cause. If an offender does not complete the treatment as required, the Superior Court must impose the portion of the minimum sentence suspended by the Court for the offender’s participation in the program.
||AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 21 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO DRIVING A VEHICLE WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE.|
|SB 23||Signed||Hansen||This Act creates a special license plate for those citizens who wish to support pollinator habitat creation and conservation. This Act requires a greater-than-majority vote for passage because Article VIII, § 11 of the Delaware Constitution requires the affirmative vote of 3/5 of the members elected to each house of the General Assembly when a new tax or license fee is imposed.||AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 21 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO SPECIAL LICENSE PLATES.|
|HB 63||Signed||Matthews||This Act requires the Department of Health and Social Services to provide staff support for the Childhood Lead Poisoning Advisory Committee.
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 THE CHILDHOOD LEAD POISONING PREVENTION ACT.|
|HB 65||Signed||Osienski||This bill provides COVID-19 related relief to both claimants receiving unemployment benefits and employers who are assessed unemployment taxes, and extends the end date of the Secretary of Labor’s COVID-19 related rulemaking authority. Section 1 waives the 13-week waiting period for the state to "trigger on" to pay extended unemployment benefits in periods of high unemployment. Section 2 establishes the 2021 new employer assessment rate, average industry assessment rate, and average construction industry assessment rate at the same rate as 2020 in order to avoid an increase in these rates as a result of the increase in unemployment claims due to COVID-19. Section 3 extends the provisions in H.B. 352 from the 150th General Assembly authorizing the Delaware Secretary of Labor to issue emergency rules amending the Delaware Unemployment Insurance Code to deal with the effects of COVID-19 and implement federal programs providing unemployment benefits to respond to COVID-19. Section 4 exempts unemployment compensation benefits received in 2020 from the calculation of Delaware adjusted gross income so that unemployment claimants will not have to pay state taxes on the benefits they received during the pandemic. ||AN ACT TO AMEND TITLES 19, 29 AND 30 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO COVID-19 RELATED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, ASSESSMENTS AND RULEMAKING AUTHORITY.|
|SB 21||Signed||Hansen||This Act amends the Delaware Energy Act to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles in the State by creating more accessible electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
Specifically, this Act permits State agencies to charge a fee for public or employee use of electric vehicle supply equipment installed by the agency so long as the fees do not exceed the agency’s costs. “Costs” means the costs associated with electricity used by the agency’s electric vehicle supply equipment, installation of the agency’s electric vehicle supply equipment, and maintenance of the infrastructure and equipment of the agency’s electric vehicle supply equipment.
This Act limits the locations where the charging infrastructure may be placed by the State to state-owned or state-leased properties used by state employees or visitors.||AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 29 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING.|
|SB 32||Signed||Brown||A 2019 study found the following:
(1) Black women are 80% more likely to change their natural hair to meet social norms or expectations at work.
(2) Black women are 50% more likely to be sent home or know of another Black woman sent home from work because of her hair.
(3) Black women are 30% more likely to be made aware of a formal workplace appearance policy.
Delaware law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race in a variety of settings. This Act makes clear that race also includes traits historically associated with race, including hair texture and a protective hairstyle, which includes braids, locks, and twists.
This Act also makes technical corrections to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual.||AN ACT TO AMEND THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO DISCRIMINATION.|
|HCR 6||Passed||K. Williams||This Concurrent Resolution recognizes January 2021 as Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Delaware.||RECOGNIZING THE MONTH OF JANUARY 2021 AS "HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS MONTH" IN DELAWARE.|
|HCR 7||Passed||K. Johnson||This House Concurrent Resolution honors and recognizes the leadership and achievements of African Americans and urges the celebration of Black History Month.||HONORING THE LEADERSHIP AND ACHIEVEMENTS OF AFRICAN AMERICANS AND URGING THE CELEBRATION OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH.|
|HCR 8||Passed||Minor-Brown||This concurrent resolution designates January 24-30, 2021 as Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists' (CRNA) Week in the State of Delaware.||DESIGNATING JANUARY 24-30, 2021 AS CERTIFIED REGISTERED NURSE ANESTHETISTS' WEEK IN THE STATE OF DELAWARE.|