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HBADE Recap of the 148th Delaware General Assembly Session

The Delaware General Assembly wrapped up their legislative session at 5am on Friday, July 1, 2016, after the House of Representatives and the Senate began session around 7pm on June 30th.   A group of HBADE builder and associate members descended on Legislative Hall that night, after an informal sandwiches and beverages briefing by our political consultants Ruggerio Willson and Associates.  Our goal was to be vigilant and present in case any surprises arose. Fortunately there were none.

Below are the bills we were watching of interest to our industry, and how they fared this season.  Bills that do not pass this session are essentially extinguished unless they start over next year.

The below are brief summaries.  If you want a copy of any bill please email hfortunato@hbade.org.

HB 200  This bill would have established new regulations for parking lots (signage, striping) and would be required for existing lots when  restriping or resurfacing. Further the property owner may not restripe until they obtain a new permit and they could be arrested if they did not comply.  The bill was not acted on.  HBADE opposed the bill along with other business groups and chambers of commerce.

HB 262 – Open Space Council / State Resource Area Maps. This bill removed the requirement that open space lands be considered in County comprehensive plans, and it removed the mapping of private and public lands suitable to remain open space.  HBADE participated in numerous stakeholder groups to craft a bill agreeable to all. The bill passed and awaits signature by the Governor.

HB 283 – This bill, which mandated project labor agreements on state funded construction projects was not put up for vote in the General Assembly.  The proposed bill would have required state funded projects to have agreements with unions that require only union members to be hired for the work.  Additionally, the bill required that contractors and subcontractors to draw 30% of their workforce from the Representative District where the project is located, and 5% of their workforce from eligible Delaware veterans.  HBADE opposed this bill along with many other construction and business groups.

HB 396 – HBADE was a strong supporter of this bill which was designed to provide an expedited review process for projects likely to have significant economic impact by creating 75,000 square feet of new space, or creation or addition of at least 60 new, full-time permanent jobs.  The Bill passed  unanimously in the House, but it stalled in Senate Committee at the end of the Session.  HBADE plans to work on this bill in the next few months for re-introduction in January.

HB 353 – This bill allows all mortgages to go through the Superior Court process.  Right now, some mortgages, not in the proper form, have to go through a longer, more difficult and expensive foreclosure process in Chancery Court.  So, this helps lenders and helps the Court of Chancery by clearing its docket and allowing all mortgage foreclosures to go through the specialized process in Superior Court.  This bill was supported by the lawyers and bankers, passed and was signed by the Governor on June 28, 2016.

HB 419 – This bill allows the Delaware Real Estate Commission to develop a new form of Seller’s Disclosure for the sale of vacant land being sold without a house, but being marketed as appropriate for the construction of a dwelling for 1-4 families. The bill was supported by the Realtors. The passed both the House and Senate and awaits signature by the Governor.

HB 436 – This bill was introduced late in the Session and the bill was not acted on.  Given all the controversy and legislation this season regarding stormwater regulations, this bill would allow property owners the option to use either the current regulations (which are contested) or the previous regulations.  It also allowed property owners to satisfy runoff requirement by paying farmers to plant cover crops.

HB 437 – This bill that would require all contractors and subcontractors to provide craft training for journeyman and apprentice as a condition to bid on State funded projects.   HBADE opposed this bill along with other construction groups. The bill was defeated.

HB 438 – This is a school assessment bill, which was introduced late in the Session. It established formulas for reasonable voluntary school assessments, but it was not acted on prior to end of session.

HB 445 – This bill was introduced very late, the day before Session ended.  As part of the Delaware Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act, would allow unit owners to attorney fees, punitive damages and costs if the Declarant does not turn over control of the unit owners association. The bill did not move, and the issue will likely be addressed by the Common Interest Community Advisory Board in the coming months.

SCR 30 – The clean water task force had been drafting a bill which did not however get introduced this season.  Likely to come up next season, the concept is to enact a personal income tax surcharge of $40 to each tax payer with an additional tax on businesses.  The funds raised are intended to establish a clean water trust fund to deal with flooding, safe drinking water, wastewater toxins, etc.

SB 39 – Minimum Wage bill, calling for increases each year in the minimum hourly wage.  The bill did not move.

SB 130 – The bill creates Complete Community Enterprise Districts, which are intended to create transit oriented development districts in Cities.  The bill which included emphasis on mass transit and biking, was signed by Governor Markell on May 5, 2016.

SB 253 – This bill that provides additional options and flexibility to developers, contractors and landowners for meeting standards that protect Delaware’s water quality and reduce flooding impacts under the state’s sediment and stormwater management program. The legislation was the result of a collaborative effort between the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, state legislators, representatives of the development community, and members of DNREC’s Regulatory Advisory Committee (RAC), which has been working to improve upon Delaware’s sediment and stormwater regulations that were adopted in 2014. HBADE supported this bill along with many others, and the bill was approved and signed by Governor Markell on June 24, 2016

About HBA of Delaware

HBA/DE has been an integral part of the growth and economic development of the State of Delaware since 1947. HBA/DE was founded as a non-profit state affiliate of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) representing home builders and other businesses directly related to Delaware's Home Building Industry. Consisting of Builders, Remodelers and a group of diversified associate members, the Home Builders Association of Delaware strives to protect and preserve housing as a symbol of America. www.hbade.org

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