#9 DE Legislative Update DFPC

Posted on 07-30-2022

Legislative Session ended on June 30th, followed by a fantastic July for our team which you’ll hear more about soon. 

The bills that did not pass this session or get a committee hearing are now dead since the two-year session has ended. A new legislative session begins in January 2023.

The bills proposed this session, regardless of whether they passed, are a gauge of where we’re headed and worldview of those driving the legislation. The majority party has a clear agenda — a full assault on parental rights, life, and religious liberty.

Even though session is over, the war for the hearts and minds of our children continues. 

Ask the candidates in your district for clear and definitive answers on these issues. They will be sure to come up again in January.   This update covers bills that were more recently filed or advanced in the legislative process since update #8. To see the entire Session in Review of all the bills we’ve followed this session, click here  
(REMINDER: The highlighted bills on the ‘watch list’ below are specific to DFPC’s focus, expertise, and interests. To view the actual bill language or see the sponsors, the bill title is linked for your convenience. Green means we support the bill; red means we oppose it. For the bills we have no official stance on, they are simply highlighted in blue.)
 
Life  
·         HB 455: Delaware Abortion #AfterRoe   HB 455 expands abortion to allow APRN’s, nurse practitioners, midwives, and physician assistants to provide surgical abortions, despite legislators’ assurances to the contrary.

HB 455 makes it clear that “reproductive health services” equals “abortion.”

To make matters worse, as a direct response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, HB 455 protects Delaware abortion providers from liability for performing abortions on out-of-state patients, encouraging women from pro-life states to kill their babies here, at their own risk.  
EDUCATION  
  ·         SB 314: School Safety Project   SB 314 would have allocated funds towards securing our schools with video cameras, key card entrances, and bullet proof glass among other things. 

Our legislators claim that they simply want to keep schools safe when they pass gun regulations. Yet SB 314, which would have increased school safety, was never even heard in committee.  
  ·     SB 340: DE Education Right to Know   This was the third attempt this session to increase the transparency in school content for parents’ benefit. Filed again on the last day of committee hearings for the year, this bill was never heard. 
  ·         SB 341: Comparative Political Ideology for 10th Grade   Much like the previous version of this bill, SB 206, this policy failed to make it to the Floor for a full vote. The bill would have ensured that high school students received education on political ideologies like communism and their conflicting nature with the founding principles of freedom. 

Experiment time: Ask a young person to tell you what they know about capitalism, socialism, and communism. We are finding that the rising generation does not know history or current events enough to understand the destruction that socialism and communism continue to bring on entire nations.  
·         SB 342: History/Government Assessment for 10th and 12th Grade   Yes, this bill was authored by the same Senator to file SB 340 and SB 342, Senator Bryant Richardson. He was clearly on a mission to end the session fighting for our young people. We are thankful for his consistent frontline efforts!

Unfortunately, SB 342, which would have required a civics course for 10th and 12th graders, was never heard in committee.

These three bills to educate young people and strengthen parental rights were all filed multiple times this session and were either blocked or ignored. Policies to educate on the founding principles of our country and to strengthen parental rights should be non-partisan issues. That is not what we saw, however.

  Constitutional Amendment
 
While most bills require a simple majority, constitutional amendments need a 2/3 vote for two sessions in a row. A constitution holds greater legal weight than statutes, and changes to the constitution should be treated very seriously and made only when absolutely necessary. 

This year we celebrated our state constitution’s 125th anniversary. This time-tested document is definitely worth celebrating; it is also worth reminding ourselves of the seriousness of amending such a document. We saw an unprecedented amount of proposed constitutional amendments this session with dangerous consequences. Thankfully, these amendments did not pass this year.
  ·         SB 343: Adding Abortion to the DE Constitution   This amendment, filed right before the last day of session, would have enshrined abortion into the Delaware constitution. The proposed amendment would have created the “right” to “reproductive autonomy.” The amendment stated that it is “fundamental to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course.” 

Doesn’t that last line seem hypocritical when the preborn person in the womb isn’t afforded that same right to determine their own life course? Instead, their life is at the mercy of the very person most able to protect them from harm while at their most vulnerable state in life.    Thank God this amendment did not get worked … this time. But know this, filing this bill was a message to every voter in November. All the names listed as sponsors for this bill stand in radical opposition to protecting the inherent dignity of preborn humans, who have inherent value as God’s image-bearers.  

Parental Rights and Families  
·         HB 482: Guilty Party of Vehicular Homicide to Pay Restitution to Surving Child(ren)   If passed, this law would have required the guilty party in a vehicular homicide to pay restitution to the survivors’ child(ren). 
  ·         HS 1 for HB 206: Background Check for DHSS Workers/Volunteers   The background checks currently required to work in the Division of Health and Social Services would extend also to their prospective employees, contractors, and volunteers as well. This is specifically as it relates to those who have direct access to children under 18 in any way. 
  ·         SB 307: Predator Grooming Prevention   At first glance, this policy seems reasonable and certainly the intent behind it. However, it seems to lack a bit of clarity in implementation. 

It makes conduct done to gain a child’s trust, for the intent of having inappropriate sexual contact illegal. Yes, that absolutely should be the case. Some of the acts mentioned are normal acts that may be done by a family member or sitter in some way, such as tickling or even bathing a child. 

It would seem that in order to meet the threshold of “grooming,” the person would have to have the act coupled with the negative intent. In practice, this will need to be handled delicately because a young child may mention to a teacher that their parent tickled them or helped them in the bath. All such acts are normal parental behavior, but if the teacher now understands all such behavior to be included as potential grooming, they may red flag a parent unnecessarily and put children in the system that never should have been.   As far-fetched of a possibility as this may seem, we have seen many far-fetched situations become realities when it came to having parental rights taken away.  
·         HB 414: Child Abuse Definition to Include “Misuse of Personal Identity”   HB 414 is a direct attack on parents who refuse to take their children down the dangerous road of trying to transition their gender, making them guilty of child abuse when it is just the opposite. 

Just yesterday the FDA finally slapped a warning on puberty blockers  Thank God this bill did not pass, or a number of parents could be facing having their children removed from their custody for standing on the truth about human sexuality.
  ·         HB 417: Law Enforcement Removal of Abused Children   The Division of Family Services often partners with law enforcement to enforce orders. This is used in the rare occurrence that the parent does not comply with their child being removed from custody. 

There are extreme and unfortunate cases where children do need to be removed from the custody of their parents because of abuse. This bill in the context of HB 414 just mentioned, however, has drastic implications for Christian parents.

HB 414 may not have passed, but this one did. It gives law enforcement the right to enforce an order of custody removal by coming onto private property to take the child(ren). Though it may be necessary for those extreme cases, remain watchful for any other policies that etch away at parental rights that will only make this policy that much more dangerous.  

2nd Amendment  
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling on June 23rd that re-affirmed the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. The gun legislation passed in Delaware this session that restricted this right will be challenged in court based on this ruling.    The bills below were proposals that would have softened the effect of the gun restrictions passed this session.
  ·         SB 266: Gun Owners’ Bill of Rights   SB 266 would have protected some of the rights of gun owners by preventing discrimination based on gun ownership.
  ·         SB 323: Large Magazine Manufacturer Exemption   SB 6, the bill prohibiting large-capacity magazines, was signed into law with several other gun-restriction bills. SB 323, however, is a direct way to at least protect the manufacturers of large-capacity magazines that supply out of state clients. The current manufacturer in Georgetown that employs nearly 90 workers is mentioned and would be exempt from SB 6 because of SB 323. 
  ·         HR 26: DOJ to Report on Red Flag Laws   The enactment of certain “red flag laws” has been a common attempt for legislators at gun control. This resolution is a request for the Attorney General, Dir. of the Delaware Justice Information System, and the Sect. of Health and Social Services to produce a report for the Legislature showing them the effectiveness of red flag laws. The stated intent is to be able to refine said red flag laws in the future. 

Most red flag laws lack due process and the criteria for who may be targeted as a “red flag” can be somewhat subjective. Despite these issues, the resolution has already passed. It will be curious to see the results gathered and from what sources are used. If this is an effort that considers the liberties afforded by founding documents and ignores any sense of partisanship, it will yield trustworthy results to move forward with. But we will see … I’ll be watching for sure. 🧐  
  Reminders …   To see all of the bills that we covered throughout this legislative session, see our Session in Review page HERE

Be sure to pay attention to the sponsors and votes for each of the bills. 

  For Faith, Families, and Freedom,   


Nandi Randolph
Policy Analyst
Delaware Family Policy Council
  P.S.  Read previous legislative updates HERE  


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