The House of Representatives hit the ground running tomorrow with three committee meetings and multiple high-profile bills under consideration. Here are some of the highlights. (To access or take part in the virtual hearings, see yesterday’s post on this page.)
HOUSE ADMINISTRATION – 11 A.M.
HOUSE BILL 1 — Food and drink establishments have struggled over the last nine months due to the economic disruption caused by COVID-19. This bipartisan measure seeks to extend to March 31, 2022 changes enacted earlier this year that are currently set to lapse in about three months. Those provisions include allowing those licensed to sell alcoholic beverages on-premises to also sell them as part of their take-out, curbside, or drive-through food service. Another provision would allow licensees to continue to use outdoor seating for the serving of food and drinks.
HOUSE BILL 15 — This bill is the second leg of a constitutional amendment to eliminate from the Delaware Constitution current limitations on voting by absentee ballot. Amending the constitution requires a two-thirds majority in both chambers of the legislature in two consecutive General Assemblies. It does not require the signature of the governor. Should the amendment be enacted, it would give the legislature the ability to make future changes to absentee voting requirements by way of ordinary bills that could be passed with simple majorities in a single session — a much lower threshold than is presently required. Currently, any registered voter can vote by absentee ballot in Delaware if they cannot come to the polls because they are in public service; are in the military; are the spouse of military serviceman or woman; have a child who requires constant care; is a student; is otherwise eligible, but incarcerated; is sick or physically disabled; is on vacation; or religious restrictions prevent the voter from coming to the polls.
HOUSE BILL 29 – This bill would eliminate the ability of a candidate to change their candidacy to become a candidate for a different office after the deadline for notification of candidacy has passed. This Act would take effect on January 1 following its enactment into law.
HOUSE BILL 65 – Among other things, this measure would exempt 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.
HOUSE TRANSPORTATION/LAND USE AND INFRASTRUCTURE – 1 P.M.
HOUSE BILL 24 — This legislation seeks to close several loopholes that vehicle dealers have been using circumvent suspended or revoked dealership licenses. Specifically, the legislation is intended to deal with instances where the Division of Motor Vehicles suspends or revokes a dealer license, and the suspended dealer will get a family member or friend to apply for a dealership license and employ the suspended dealer at the business in a managerial, financial, or sales capacity.
HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES – 3 P.M.
HOUSE BILL 200 – Seeking to create a Delaware Clean Water Trust by redirecting revenues from Delaware Safe Drinking Water Revolving Fund, the Delaware Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund, and the county conservation districts. The bill would also establish an oversight committee consisting of five cabinet secretaries and the co-chairs of the Bond Bill Committee. The committee would create funding priorities for the funds annually.