|SCR 35||Passed||Gay||This resolution recognizes May 5, 2021, as Maternal Mental Health Awareness Day in Delaware.||RECOGNIZING MAY 5, 2021 AS MATERNAL MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS DAY.|
|SCR 41||Passed Senate||Lawson||This resolution recognizes law enforcement officers killed and injured in the line of duty.||RECOGNIZING LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS KILLED AND INJURED IN THE LINE OF DUTY.|
|SB 123||Committee||Poore||This bill will allow all surviving spouses of persons killed in the course and scope of employment to receive the same level of death benefits as the surviving spouses of those persons defined as “covered persons” in Section 6601(2), Title 18 of the Delaware Code, in the event that the surviving spouse remarries. This expansion of the death benefit beyond the surviving spouses of those persons specified in Section 6601(2) will result in all surviving spouses, who decide to remarry, being treated equally under Delaware’s Workers’ Compensation laws.||AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 19 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO WORKERS' COMPENSATION BENEFITS.|
|SB 122||Committee||Poore||This Act provides that the County Attorney of New Castle County, consistent with other department directors of New Castle County government, is appointed by the County Executive with the advice and consent of the New Castle County Council. Pursuant to § 1391 of Title 9, the Office of Law provides legal advice to the County Executive, County Council, and County departments, boards, offices, and agencies. This amendment would require the advice and consent of the County Council in the appointment of the County Attorney. Consequently, this proposed amendment would safeguard against unequal preference to either branch of government when advice is provided.||AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 9 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE APPOINTMENT OF THE COUNTY ATTORNEY OF NEW CASTLE COUNTY.|
|HB 162||Committee||Minor-Brown||The 18-month recidivism rate among juveniles released from Delaware’s Level 4 and Level 5 juvenile detention facilities is over 80%. This Act creates a fund to allow the Department of Services for Children, Youth, and their Families to award competitive grants for the targeted provision of services that have been proven effective in helping juveniles avoid contact with the criminal justice system. This Act also allocates $500,000 for FY 2022 to the Fund for provision of cognitive behavioral therapy services and vocational training services. Finally, the bill updates outdated language. ||AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 31 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO SERVICES FOR YOUTH.|
|HB 163||Committee||Wilson-Anton||The Delaware Code does not currently contain any explicit direction for public schools relating to school absences for observance of religious holidays. This Act requires schools to excuse a pupil's absence for observance of a religious holiday, and further requires districts and charters to have a policy discouraging teachers from scheduling tests, presentations and the like on days where some students may be absent for a religious holiday. A pupil who does miss a grading event must be allowed to make-up the test or otherwise recover credit. The Department of Education is directed to promulgate rules and regulations relating to implementation of this Act, including a list of holidays on which an absence for religious observance must be excused.||AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO SCHOOL ATTENDANCE AND RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS.|
|SB 124||Committee||Ennis||This Act amends the Charter of the Town of Smyrna ("Charter") to clarify the authority of the Town in certain areas and to improve the operations of the Town. Specifically, in this Act:
Section 1 clarifies that when property is annexed into Town, included in the annexation are all adjacent streets, roads, and alleys, up to the center line.
Section 2 authorized the Town to impose a lodging tax of up to 3% on hotels, motels, and tourist homes.
Section 3 authorizes the Mayor to appoint town officers to terms that mirror the remainder of the Mayor's term.
Section 4 clarifies the procedures for abandoning and vacating streets and alleys, including the disposition of abandoned or vacated streets or alleys to adjoining property owners.
This bill also makes technical corrections to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual.
||AN ACT TO AMEND THE TOWN CHARTER OF THE TOWN OF SMYRNA.|
|SB 11||Committee||Townsend||This Act is the first leg of a constitutional amendment that modernizes the Delaware Constitution’s bail provision and clarifies the power of the General Assembly and the Courts to define certain felony offenses for which, or circumstances under which, pretrial release on bail may not be available.
Upon enactment of the second leg of this constitutional amendment, Article I, § 12 of the Delaware Constitution proposed will do all of the following:
(1) Retain the express declaration of a general right to have bail set in a criminal case.
(2) Provide that the only crimes for which bail must be withheld are capital murder, where the evidentiary proof is positive and presumption of the accusation great, and other felony offenses determined by and under procedures prescribed by law where the evidentiary proof is clear and convincing.
(3) Ensure that one condition precedent to bail being withheld in non-capital cases is a finding that no bail condition or combination of bail conditions other than detention will assure the safety of another person or the community, that the person will appear for future proceedings, or that the detention is necessary to prevent the person from obstructing justice.
The proposed change to permit a person charged with a non-capital crime to be held without bail will not take effect until the General Assembly revises Chapter 21 of Title 11 of the Delaware Code to prescribe by law the circumstances and procedures under which detention without bail may occur. With this change, though, Delaware can move forward toward the type of modern bail system that has been increasingly adopted by our sister states, through amendment of their state constitutions, when needed, and the development of statutory procedures that provide, in extreme cases, pretrial detention without bail.
Under current Delaware law, the only circumstance in which a person might be detained without bail is when the person is charged with capital murder. This Act would have no effect on bail procedures and standards in capital cases. The fact that bail can be withheld only in capital cases, however, is inconsistent with the evidence-based and informed decision-making that the General Assembly looked to adopt through the Justice Reinvestment Act and the findings and ongoing work of our Supreme Court's Access to Justice Commission.
At present, a Delaware state court judge cannot order pre-conviction detention in any non-capital case. Instead the judge can only attempt to set the bail so high that a defendant cannot make it, which can result in dangerous defendants with wealth being able to obtain release even if they pose a risk of harm to the public or a specific person, such as a witness or victim. This Act is one step toward completing a pretrial release-detention continuum that requires specific evidence-based release-detention decisions.
Any legislation subsequently enacted or court procedures adopted under this Act requires a court’s individualized, fact-governed decision-making regarding detention in order to pass muster under the United States and Delaware State Constitutions. And, under this Act, any statute defining offenses for which, or circumstances under which, a person can be subjected to pretrial detention without bail must be enacted by an act of the General Assembly that is separate from an act that creates or amends the offense or circumstances and receives the concurrence of a two-thirds majority of each House of the General Assembly.
||AN ACT PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO ARTICLE I, § 12 OF THE DELAWARE CONSTITUTION RELATING TO CRIMINAL PROCEDURES.|
|SB 7||Committee||Mantzavinos||This bill updates the bail statute to be explicit that when defendants commit certain serious offenses enumerated in the bill the bail presumption is secured cash bail. Such offenses include: class A felonies, gun offenses, domestic violence offenses, rape, sexual abuse of children, and reoffending while out on bond. In order to protect public safety, sufficient bail must be set for defendants committing these types of offenses. While the intention of the bail reform movement is to move toward a system of preventative detention that is not cash based, until a constitutional amendment is enacted to allow for that, this bill seeks to ensure dangerous offenders are given the appropriate bail level. The current system is working to keep low level offenders from being held unnecessarily with pretrial detention. A presumption means that the court would still have the discretion to set low or no cash bail in cases based on the facts, but it would require justification. The bill establishes an automatic bail review hearing by Superior Court for the enumerated offenses to allow an additional review of the bail conditions. The bill requires the court to document the reasons they set bail in all cases to help all involved understand their decision and serve as a record in future proceedings like bail modification hearings. ||AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 11 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO BAIL.|