16 New Bills Introduced in State House


Even though the State House of Representatives is in the midst of a six-week recess while the Joint Finance Committee conducts budget hearings, legislators are still busy behind the scenes.

During today’s prefile – a device that allows legislators to introduce bills even though the House is in recess – 16 new bills made their appearance.

The term “new” may be something of a misnomer since some of the bills are the latest incarnations of measures that had been previously introduced in other General Assembly sessions, but failed to win approval.

Among the more interesting bills filed with the Chief Clerk of the House today are the following:

House Bill 60 – (Rep. Kowalko, et. al.) – This bill would prohibit public schools, including charter schools, from making available or serving food with more than 0.5 gram of artificial trans fatty acids to students.

Status: Pending action in the House Education Committee.

House Bill 63 – (Rep. Booth & Sen. Bunting, et. al.) – This measure would prohibit the employment of private attorneys by state agencies and entities, without the unanimous consent of the attorney general, governor, and chair and vice chair of the Joint Finance Committee.

Status: Pending action in the House Administration Committee.

House Bill 64 – (Rep. Booth, et. al.) – HB 64 is a reintroduction of a 2007 bill that would allow Delaware small businesses to participate in the State Group Health Insurance Program. By being part of a large pool, the businesses should be able to obtain lower premiums then would otherwise be possible. Supporters note there would be no cost to the state since the businesses would be responsible for paying their own premiums.

Status: Pending action in the House Economic Development/Banking/Insurance/Commerce Committee.

House Bill 65 – (Rep. Booth, et. al.) – The size of Sussex County Council would increase from five members to seven members under this bill. This measure passed the House last year, but died in a Senate Committee without being considered.

Status: Pending action in the House Housing & Community Affairs Committee.

House Bill 66 – (Rep. Booth & Sen. Bunting and Rep. Hocker) – Under this bill, convicted felons seeking a state job would have a waiting imposed on them. Such applicants would not be eligible until a year after they had completed all the requirements of their sentencings, including probation, restitution, and rehabilitation programs.

Status: Pending action in the House Administration Committee.

House Bill 67 – (Rep. Walls, et. al.) – This act increases the penalties for illegally hunting wild turkeys. Currently, illegally taking a wild turkey is a class D environmental misdemeanor, punishable for a first offense by a fine of up to $100 and/or imprisonment for up to five days. Under this act, first offenders would be guilty of a class B environmental misdemeanor, facing a maximum $1,000 fine and/or up to 30 days in jail.

Status: Pending action in the House Natural Resources Committee.

House Bill 69 – (Rep. Booth, et. al.) – Modeled after a Pennsylvania law, this bill seeks to establish a career training program for direct care staff providing long-term care services. Supporters of the legislation believe such a program would enhance consumer care and satisfaction with improved employee training and retention.

Status: Pending action in the House Education Committee.

House Bill 70 – (Rep. Oberle and Sen. McBride) – Similar to a bill introduced last year (HS 1 for HB 344), this measure would prohibit local governments and homeowners associations from placing restrictions on homeowners who wish to install wind turbines on their properties. The bill contains minimum requirements for such systems. Rep. Oberle, one of the bill’s prime sponsors, says removing hurdles to the installation of green energy systems will help the economy and environment.

Status: Pending action in the House Energy Committee.

House Bill 71 – (Rep. Carson, et. al.) – Currently, motorists are required to move into the outside lane when police cars, emergency vehicles, or Department of Transportation equipment is parked on the road shoulder. This bill would expand the scope of the existing “Move on Over” law to tow trucks displaying flashing amber or red warning lights.

Status: Pending action in the House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee.

House Bill 72 – (Rep. Cathcart & Sen. Sokola, et. al.) – This bill would give the Division of Motor Vehicles the ability to suspend the driver’s license of a registered sex offender, if the offender did not report to the division for an updated driver’s license within 30 days, as required by law. In Delaware, felony sex offenders must have a special designation of “Y” placed on their driver’s licenses to alert authorities of their status.

Status: Pending action in the House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee.

House Bill 74 – (Rep. Hudson & Sen. Simpson, et. al.) – HB 74 would prohibit political candidates from seeking more than one office in any election. Supporters of the measure say this common-sense change would avoid potentially creating elected-office vacancies that would have to be filled by appointments or special elections.

Status: Pending action in the House Administration Committee.

House Bill 75 – (Reps. Keeley & Kowalko, et. al.) – This bill would allow competent adult hospital, nursing home and nursing facility patients to receive visits from anyone they wish to see. Subject to certain limitations, the measure would also require that these facilities honor advance health-care directives and any similar documents. HB 75 would continue to allow health care facilities to enforce visitation restrictions related to the patient’s medical condition, number of visitors, hours, etc.

Status: Pending action in the House Health & Human Development Committee.