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From the Desk of Executive Director Bryon Short

From the Desk of Executive Director Bryon Short - December 2, 2022

In an even year like this, lots of politicking is to be expected through the summer and fall but it’s often a slower time for legislation and regulatory work. Not this year, DCA’s government relations “plate” has been full. The subjects are all over the place.

The Office of Management and Budget and DelDOT Secretary recently informed us that the Governor intends to seek legislative language in January’s bond bill update to allow for two pilot projects, one vertical and one highway, looking at the impact of Community Workforce Agreements (CWA) and a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) component on the delivery of such projects. DCA is partnering with the Committee of 100 and others in opposition to a recently introduced New Castle County ordinance placing a moratorium on large projects in the county. This week, I’ve been communicating with the Director of Air Quality regarding the Delaware Department of Natural Resources Secretary’s consideration of adopting the California Advanced Clean Car II (ACCII) standard and how that might impact our members’ vehicle fleets. The Training and Education Committee meeting recently met with the newly hired director of the Paid Family and Medical Leave DOL program to provide some real-life perspective on the impact of its implementation. DCA has continued through the summer and fall to meet with DelDOT leadership regarding the metrics used to develop DBE goals and the Department’s desire to change Delaware code regarding the use of CM/GC.

As the opening of the 152nd Delaware General Assembly approaches, January 10, 2023, the two forces of politics and governance will meet once again in our state’s capitol. The Clerk of the House has established two out-of-session Pre-File dates for legislation. The first being December 15 and the second being January 5. As session gets underway most leadership positions remain unchanged but there are some new General Assembly members stepping into leadership roles. Speaker of the House Pete Schwartzkopf (D) Rehoboth and House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst (D) Bear will retain the leadership posts they have held since 2013. Representative Melissa Minor-Brown (D) Bear will assume the Majority Whip position and is the first African American to hold a leadership position in the House. The House Republican caucus has seen a complete change in its two leadership positions with Representative Mike Ramone (R) Pike Creek elected by the caucus to serve as Minority Leader and Representative Lyndon Yearick (R) Dover selected to serve as the Minority Whip.

In the Senate, leadership in both caucuses will remain the same. Senator David Sakola, (D) Pike Creek will continue to serve as the Senate President Pro Tem, Senator Bryan Townsend (D) Newark remains Majority Leader and Senator Elizabeth Lockman will again be the Majority Whip. For the Republican caucus, Senator Gerald Hocker (R) Ocean View will be the Minority Leader with Senator Brian Pettyjohn (R) Georgetown serving as Minority Whip. This will be Senator Hocker’s third General Assembly and Senator Pettyjohn’s second serving in these roles.

Recognizing how busy the “off-season” has been and the number of new General Assembly members, I think we are in for a very busy legislative session in the General Assembly. With a number of initiatives impacting building in New Castle County, I anticipate DCA continuing to put more energy into the New Castle County Council’s legislative process as well. I’ve shared before that I don’t recall a busier legislative session than last year in terms of legislation aimed at Delaware’s businesses. In the upcoming Pre-File, we will get a glimpse of what’s in store for the 152nd General Assembly.

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