AN ACT to establish a State Board of Health for the State of Delaware, Chapter 21, Volume 16, as amended.

SECTION 1. That within thirty days after the passage of this act the Governor shall appoint seven (7) physicians of skill and experience, duly qualified to practice medicine or surgery under the provisions of Chapter 69 of the Seventeenth Volume of the Laws of the State of Delaware, Chapter 35 of Volume Eighteen of the Laws of the State of Delaware, and Chapter 47 of the Revised Code of the State of Delaware as amended in the year eighteen hundred and seventy-four, three of whom shall be residents of New Castle County and two each of Kent and Sussex Counties, who shall constitute a board of health to be called The Board of Health of the State of Delaware. The physicians thus appointed shall be so designated by the Governor that the term of office of one from each county shall expire every two years. Vacancies, however caused, shall be filled by appointment by the Governor.

SECTION 2. Be it further enacted, That within thirty days after their appointment the members of the Board of Health shall meet in Dover, Wilmington, or Georgetown for organization, and shall elect a president who must, and a secretary who may be one of said board, and the successive presidents of the board shall be annually elected by said board from the members thereof. The secretary shall continue in office as such until removed by the election of a successor or by vote of a majority of the board. He shall be executive officer of said board, and shall receive an annual salary to be fixed by the board. The members of the Board of Health shall not receive a salary, but the actual expenses of any member when engaged in the duties of the board shall be allowed and paid. The Board of Health shall meet at least once in every six months, and oftener if necessary, and four members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. The board shall have power to adopt rules and by-laws for their government, subject to the provisions of this act.

SECTION 3. That said board shall take cognizance of the interests of health and life among the people of this State; shall encourage the establishment of local boards of health; they shall make inquiries in respect to the causes of disease, especially of epidemics, and investigate the sources of mortality and the effects of localities, employments, and other conditions upon public health; they shall obtain, collect and preserve such information relating to health, diseases and deaths as may be useful in the discharge of their duties and shall contribute to the promotion of health and the security of life in the State of Delaware. And it shall be the duty of all health officers and boards of health in the State to communicate to said State Board of Health copies of their reports and publications, and also all useful sanitary information. And said State Board shall keep a record of their proceedings and acts as a board, and they shall promptly cause all proper information in their possession to be sent to the local health authorities of any village, town or city in the State which may request the same, and shall add thereto such suggestions as the experience of the board may supply. And said State Board of Health are authorized to require reports and information from all public dispensaries, asylums, prisons and schools, and from the managers, principals and officers thereof, and from all other public institutions, their officers and managers, and from the proprietors, managers, lessees, and occupants of all places of public resort in the State =; And if any proprietor, manager, principal, superintendent, officer or physician in charge shall refuse and neglect to make a report when requested to do so by the said State Board of Health, he, she or they shall, upon conviction thereof before any justice of the peace of the county in which he, she or they shall reside, be fined not less than five dollars nor more than twenty-five dollars together with costs. And any such justice of the peace shall have full cognizance thereof. But such reports and information shall only be required concerning matters and particulars in respect of which they may need information for the proper discharge of their duties. Said board shall, when requested by public authorities, or when they deem it best, advise officers of the State, county, or local governments in regard to drainage, and the location, drainage, ventilation, and sanitary provisions of any public institution, building, or public place.

SECTION 4. That said board shall be an advisory board to the authorities of the State in all matters pertaining to public hygiene; they shall have authority to make special inspection of hospitals, prisons, asylums, almshouses and other public institutions, and to investigate by the secretary or committees of the board the cause of any special disease or mortality in any part of the State. And in localities where there are no local boards of health, or where the same shall refuse or neglect to act, the president may direct any member of the board, together with the secretary, to investigate all complaints made in writing, and if the said member shall find a nuisance to exist he shall order the same to be abated in a reasonable time. In such cases the State Board shall have all power and remedies now given by law to local boards; if no person responsible for said nuisance be found, the secretary shall abate the same, and his expenses shall, upon approval by the president, be paid by the treasurer of the county wherein said nuisance existed, and shall, at each regular session of the legislature, submit to it a report of their acts, investigations and discoveries with such suggestions as may be deemed proper.

SECTION 5. That it shall be the duty of said board to have the general supervision of the State system of registration of marriages, births and deaths; said board shall recommend such forms and amendments of laws as shall be necessary for the thorough organization and efficiency of registration of vital statistics throughout the State.

SECTION 6. That the secretary of said board shall be also the superintendent of registration of vital statistics as supervised by said board, and shall execute the orders of the board, and superintend the work prescribed by this act; he shall obtain from the recorders of the several counties and properly arrange the recorded information respecting vital statistics. He shall prepare blank forms of returns, and such instructions as may be necessary, and shall supply the same to the officers of local boards of health, to physicians and such officials as may be necessary, in order to obtain the information requisite for annual reports, and he shall, under the direction of the board, publish and distribute such information as would be valuable to the citizens of the State on the subject of sanitation.

SECTION 7. That the salary of the secretary shall be paid semi-annually, which, and all other necessary expenses of the State Board of Health, incurred in accordance with the provisions of this act, shall be paid by the Treasurer of the State, out of moneys not otherwise appropriated, upon the order of the president of the board, countersigned by the secretary: Provided that all the expenses of the said State Board of Health, including the salary of the secretary, shall not exceed in any one year the sum of one thousand dollars: Provided that in the event of an epidemic or pestilential disease occurring in any county, city or village of the State, the Board of Health of the State of Delaware shall forthwith cause all needful sanitary measures and precautions to be taken which the emergency may call for, and which may be consistent with law, and shall be approved by the Governor; said approval to be expressed in writing; and the said board with the approval of the Governor is hereby authorized to draw upon the State Treasurer in favor of the board for an additional amount, not exceeding one thousand dollars in any one year, to be paid out of any unappropriated money in the treasury, to be applied and expended under the direction of the Governor and the State Board of Health in carrying out such needful sanitary measures and precautions.

SECTION 8. The Secretary of the State Board of Health shall annually, in the month of November, present to the Auditor of Accounts all the books of the financial doings of the board, together with all vouchers for settlement.

SECTION 9. Any person refusing, failing, or neglecting to perform the duties required of them under the provisions of the act as hereby amended, shall, upon conviction thereof before any justice of the peace of the county in which they shall reside, be fined not less than five nor more than twenty-five dollars, together with costs.

SECTION 10. That the Secretary of State is hereby authorized and required to publish the act hereby amended with all the amendments thereto in the next publication of the Laws of this State.