The House Democratic Caucus made history Friday by electing an all-female leadership that includes multiple firsts in Delaware’s political history.
To lead the second half of the 152nd General Assembly, members selected former House Majority Leader Rep. Valerie Longhurst as Speaker of the House. Rep. Longhurst succeeds Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, who stepped down Friday after leading the House as Speaker for more than a decade.
In addition to the House chamber electing Rep. Longhurst as speaker, Democratic caucus members also elected Rep. Melissa Minor-Brown as House Majority Leader and Rep. Kerri Evelyn Harris as House Majority Whip.
This is the first time in Delaware history that a woman has been elected speaker, the first time a person of color has been elected as majority leader, and the first time an open member of the LGBTQ+ community has been elected to leadership in either chamber.
ABC Delaware is starting a new task force through our Legislative/Legal Rights committee to begin looking at the 2024 Elections. The Elections Task force will look at identifying ABC members and others who could run for statewide or local office and work with them through the process. The task force will also focus on what 2024 races ABC should focus on that will have the biggest impact and how to become involved in these races. Finally, the task force will work with members on voter registration for their employees and voter turnout during the primary and general election season to ensure we achieve success.
2024 is a pivotal year for ABC Delaware in politics. There are many statewide races including Governor and Lt. Governor, that will impact our association for years to come. We need to elect more individuals that share our philosophy but more importantly understand construction and can share our views and concerns to the rest of the General Assembly. Right now, we do not have that. We have already developed a spreadsheet of all statewide races that are up for reelection in 2024 and the races we think would be the best for ABC to become involved in. We will share that with you at our first meeting.
Task force meetings will take place monthly, either prior to or after each Legislative Committee meeting. If you have any interest in serving on this task force, please email email@example.com back by Friday, August 4th.
Governor John Carney on Friday joined members of the General Assembly and state transportation and law enforcement officials at Legislative Hall to sign a package of bills to improve traffic safety.
Included in the bipartisan legislative package were the following measures:
House Bill 120establishes speeding violations of 90 miles per hour or more as a Reckless Driving offense, subject to fines, traffic school, or community service picking up litter on the side of the road. Speeding was a contributor to 26 fatal crashes in Delaware from 2020 – 2022.
House Bill 92, otherwise known as “move over” legislation, requires drivers to change lanes or reduce their speed while approaching any stationary vehicle on the shoulder or in the roadway displaying warning signals. In 2022, 13 people were killed in Delaware while in or near stopped vehicles.
Senate Bill 86 requires all riders to wear a helmet in their first two years of having a motorcycle endorsement. DelDOT statistics show that 25 percent of serious injuries and fatal accidents among Delaware licensed motorcycle riders occurred within their first two years of obtaining a license.
Senate Bill 89 allows state-owned and operated snow plows to use a revolving or flashing green light. Green lights have been found to be better seen in snowy conditions than white or amber lights due to the increased contrast, and have been adopted for plows in recent years by states including Michigan and Ohio.
House Substitute 1 for House Bill 94 implements a five-year trial run of a system that would permit the use of automatic speed cameras in work zones and residential areas within municipalities. Signage would need to be posted advising motorists that an electronic speed monitoring system was in use. Tickets would not be issued until a motorist violated the posted speed limit by at least 11 miles per hour.
Thus far this year, there have been 75 fatalities on Delaware's roads.
The FY 2024 state operating budget that takes effect today includes funding to create a new 11-officer Traffic Education and Enforcement Unit to patrol Delaware’s most problematic roadways.
In a press release, ABC announced its opposition to the to final rule stating, “Unfortunately, the Biden administration is moving forward with a final rule that does nothing to achieve OSHA’s stated goal of reducing injuries and illnesses,” said Ben Brubeck, ABC vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs. “Instead, the final rule will force employers to disclose sensitive information to the public that can easily be manipulated, mischaracterized and misused for reasons wholly unrelated to safety, as well as subject employers to illegitimate attacks and employees to violations of their privacy.”
What does the final rule do?
Establishments with 100 or more employees in certain high-hazard industries are required to electronically submit information from their OSHA Forms 300 and 301 to OSHA once a year. They are also required to include their legal company name when making electronic submissions to OSHA.
Establishments with 20 to 249 employees in certain high-hazard industries will continue to be required to electronically submit information from their OSHA Form 300A annual summary to OSHA once a year.
Establishments with 250 or more employees that must routinely keep records under OSHA’s injury and illness regulation will also continue to be required to electronically submit information from their Form 300A to OSHA once a year.
On July 13, 2023, the U.S Department of Labor launched its “High Road to the Middle Class” map, highlighting existing workforce development programs that meet certain criteria to be designated by the DOL as “high road training programs.” The DOL defines these programs using the following criteria:
Demand-driven, or programs that partner with employers to ensure employment of participants upon graduation
Created through partnerships, or programs that must include participation of unions or other worker organizations
Accessible to all
Built by communities on the ground
Due to the union partnership requirements, all construction workforce development programs that do not involve construction unions have been excluded from inclusion on the map.
“ABC agrees with the DOL on the importance of high-quality, demand-driven and accessible programs to upskill the construction workforce, but unfortunately the agency has taken a discriminatory and partisan approach with the ‘High Road to the Middle Class’ program that fails to acknowledge the value of employer and association workforce development programs not affiliated with unions,” said Ben Brubeck, ABC vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs. “This is especially egregious considering more than 88% of the construction workforce voluntarily chooses not to be part of a union.”