The Delaware General Assembly wrapped up their 2014 session on Monday June 30. Following tradition, votes were cast well into the early morning hours on Tuesday. Below is a summary of business-related issues considered this session.
Summary: Senate Bill 6 raises Delaware’s minimum wage $1.00 by 2015. The bill cleared the House and Senate on Thursday, January 30, and Governor Markel quickly signed it in to law that same day. This new law will raise the minimum wage in to $8.25 per hour in two increments: the first increase jumped 50 cents on June 1, 2014. The final increase of another 50 cents will occur June 1, 2015, raising the minimum wage to $8.25 per hour.
Disability Employment Discrimination
Summary: Senate Bill 185 will expand the State disability-based employment discrimination law to employers with 4 or more employees. Previously, the law only applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
Summary: On Thursday, April 10, the Delaware legislature passed House Bill 265 which will increase the annual tax on limited liabilities and partnerships on file with the Secretary of State from $250 to $300 a year. The House voted in favor of the bill 26-13 and the Senate voted to pass the bill 13-7.
Summary: House Bill 373 will lower workers compensation costs. It makes substantial changes to Titles 18 and 19 of the Delaware Code designed to control the level of workers’ compensation premiums in Delaware including: 1.) A 33% reduction in medical costs to the workers’ compensation system, phased in over a period of three years 2.) Absolute caps, expressed as a percentage of Medicare per-procedure reimbursements, on all workers’ compensation medical procedures beginning on January 1, 2017. 3.) Increased independence for the Ratepayer Advocate who represents ratepayers during the workers compensation rate approval process and for the committee that oversees the cost control practices of individual workers compensation insurance.
Banning Minors from Using Tanning Devices
Summary: Senate Bill 94 bans all minors from tanning devices, removing the current parental consent form all together. It mandates that there must be warning signs and statements in tanning facilities. If business owner violate this law, fines begin at $250 for the first offense, $500 for the second and $1,000 for third and subsequent offenses.
FAILED TO PASS – These bills were stopped due to the outcry from the business community. Thank you to all who took action!
Outcome: Passed the House, died in the Senate
Summary: House Bill 287 would have, under certain conditions, used a labor organization’s collectively bargained rate as Delaware’s prevailing rate for a particular class of workers. It would have established a set five-year prevailing wage rate and would have eliminated the valuable survey currently used, which will result in higher construction costs. This would have applied to contracts relating to a public works project in excess of $100,000 for new construction, or $15,000 for alteration, repair, renovation, rehabilitation, demolition or reconstruction.
Criminal Background Bill
Outcome: Died in the House
Summary: House Bill 380 would have limited employer access to conviction data from criminal acts classified as “unclassified misdemeanors,” including but not limited to identify and credit card theft.
Outcome: Was never introduced as legislation
Summary: Governor Jack Markell proposed a 10 cent per gallon gas tax increase
during his state of the state address. He planned for the tax increase to be
used to clean up Delaware waterways and improve drinking water. He received
resistance from Democrats and Republicans and legislation supporting the
proposal was never introduced. The gas tax was last raised in 1995.