What You Need to Know:

The following summary are bills we’ve highlighted that are specific to our focus, expertise, and interests, or made it to our watch list. To view the actual bill language or see who is sponsoring it, the bill title is linked for your convenience.  Green means we support the bill, red means we oppose it, and those with no official stance are simply in blue.

The bills are listed in numerical order. 

Bill statuses will either be listed as passed, signed, defeated, or expired. A bill that was defeated was voted down during session. A bill that expired was not voted down necessarily, but is now dead because the session is over.  it.

Public Policy, Ethics, & Election Integrity

Bill Status: EXPIRED

To ensure that each ballot cast is valid and not a duplicate, there are currently limitations/restrictions in Delaware for receiving absentee ballots. These restrictions were temporarily lifted during the COVID lockdowns, but this created issues such as individuals receiving duplicate ballots, the wrong ballot, or none at all. HB 15 would permanently lift the current restrictions on absentee voting from the Delaware Constitution. 

Because HB 15 is an amendment to the Delaware Constitution, it must be passed in two successive sessions. It successfully passed the first session in 2020.  

Bill Status: SIGNED

The current deadline to vote is four Saturdays before Election Day. This bill would allow individuals to register on Election Day … directly in their polling place. 

We’ve already discussed how this could be problematic given the long lines during an election cycle.

This legislation creates potential for fraud because voters cannot be properly vetted. A Republican Representative proposed an amendment to protect against that fraud … and the House Democrats defeated it. 

Bill Status: SIGNED

Mail-in ballots are another major source of election fraud. And yet SB 320 would expand the practice of mail-in voting, and engrain it more permanently in Delaware Code.

Let’s be clear here – expansion of government is never the answer!

Bill Status: EXPIRED

HCR 42 requests an advisory opinion of the Justices of the Delaware Supreme Court regarding the proper construction of § 13 of Article III of the Delaware Constitution, which refers to the removal of elected officials from office.

It also tasks the Judiciary Committee of the House and Senate with determining the process for deciding if reasonable cause exists for the removal of an elected official.

Bill Status: EXPIRED

Because of “cancel culture”, many are losing courage because of the potential backlash for speaking from a Biblical worldview or conservative thought. 

HB 154 protects individuals from this backlash in the workplace.

Bill Status: EXPIRED

Delaware’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) currently requires public organizations to answer to document requests from the public. SB 155 would allow those organizations to deny that request if it is “unduly burdensome” or “intended to disrupt the essential functions.” 

Who decides what is “undue” or “disruptive”, and how is that defined

Concerned parents have been able to view major curricular issues in their districts by completing FOIA requests. This bill could potentially hinder that from being possible in the future. If anything, there needs to be more transparency in public organizations, not loopholes for less. 

Interestingly, some of the sponsors of who want to limit FOIA requests are also sponsoring SB149, a bill to give public access to law enforcement misconduct records through FOIA, to increase transparency and allow for more meaningful oversight.

Bill Status: EXPIRED

The destructive riots and looting didn’t hit in Delaware to the degree it did in other states. These four bills allow authorities to bring legal action in cases of riotous – destructive behavior. 

Bill Status: EXPIRED

Redistricting methods can easily favor one party, especially when the current ruling party is responsible for overseeing the redistricting process. You may remember the rather interesting results from last year’s redistricting in Delaware.  

By adding multiple safeguards, including public notification and participation, HB 236 lessens the possibility for unfair redistricting. 

Bill Status: PASSED

We’ve discussed before the importance of paying attention to every word of a bill. Good bills can be highjacked by one line;  HB 293 was a perfect example.

HB 293 requires public bodies to hold public meetings and allow for public comment, with few exceptions. 

The good news is that this would create more transparency that there currently are in state agencies like the Department of Education.

But the bad news is in one line: HB 293 would have also allow those public bodies to limit public comment that they consider to be “irrelevant, immaterial, insubstantial, cumulative, or privileged.”

Here’s the question that any supporter of this bill should be able to answer: 

Is public comment still of value if it (free speech) can be censored?

The standards in this bill for limiting public comment are very subjective, allowing any public official to prevent comments that he or she doesn’t like

 If policies like HB 293 become law, elected officials will be able to shut down public comment and silence those who disagree with them. 

Again, it’s one line that makes this bill a problem, a tool to silence opposition.

We opposed this bill when we mentioned it in a previous legislative update. As you can see, the title is now green. What changed?

The bill was amended; the line that caused us to oppose the bill originally was deleted. 

HB 293 would require all public bodies to provide time for public comment. That includes agencies the Department of Health that are currently only required to submit a monthly update of regulations they file.

HB 293’s benefits of transparency are no longer hijacked by the now-deleted line that would have sanctioned censorship.

Bill Status: EXPIRED

Driver’s licenses for sex offenders are marked with a ‘Y’; HB 306 changes that identification marker to ‘SO’ for clarity.

This act also requires that any sex offenders without this new identifying marker have their current licenses updated. 

Bill Status: SIGNED

A natural response to danger is to run from it and save yourself. First responders do the exact opposite. They knowingly risk their own safety and go towards danger to protect others.

Their service is beyond commendable.

To protect first responders, HB 324 expands the definition of assault to include the intentional physical injury of doctors and healthcare workers. 

Bill Status: EXPIRED

State elections are divided into 2 segments. During the primary election (which is September 13th in DE), voters choose the candidate who will represent their party. These chosen candidates are then on the general election ballot, which is November 18th this year.

Delaware is one of 14 states that holds closed primaries, or primaries where citizens can only vote for the candidates within their registered political party. Non-party affiliated voters cannot currently vote in the primaries.

HB 327 would allow the more than 150,000 Independents and other non-party affiliated voters to vote in the primary election. 

Bill Status: PASSED

HB 395 would ensure that legislators actually live in the districts they are elected to represent. Moving out of their district is considered a resignation from office based on this policy. Finally! 

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