Responsible Business Practice Bills Ready for Signature

DOVER – A package of House bills designed to “level the playing field” and promote responsible practices across the business and construction communities is ready for the governor’s signature following favorable votes in the Senate today.

The measures, which range from cracking down on contractors who do not have Delaware business licenses to allowing for anonymous reporting of license violations, are designed to root out “bad actors” in business and construction industries and ensure that all entities are playing by the rules.

The bills were drafted with support and cooperation from the Associated Builders and Contractors Delaware chapter and the Delaware Building and Construction Trades Council.

“We’re happy to have been able to help reward the firms who follow the business practice rules we have in Delaware by holding accountable those businesses that try skirt those rules, and have gotten away with it in the past,” said House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, D-Bear, who sponsored one of the bills in the package.

  • Rep. Longhurst’s bill, House Bill 270, would require that contractors, subcontractors and independent contractors performing work under a public works contract obtain an occupational and/or business license within 30 days of being awarded the contract. The measure would also require all contractors to verify that their subcontractors and independent contractors have an occupational and/or business license. A violation of this new section could result in a civil penalty.
  • House Bill 269, sponsored by Rep. Charles Potter Jr., D-Wilmington North, would require the Department of Finance to provide an anonymous system to allow the reporting of individuals who fail to obtain an occupational or business license. Currently, citizens who want to tip off the state about possible violations must give their names, which Rep. Potter said discourages people from being whistleblowers.
  • House Bill 271, sponsored by Rep. Dennis E. Williams, D-Talleyville, would require the Division of Professional Regulation (DPR) to notify the Department of Finance of any person who practices a profession without a license and who DPR believes should have a business or occupational license.
  • House Bill 268, sponsored by Rep. Trey Paradee, D-West Dover, would ensure that the Division of Motor Vehicles must have proof of a valid business license before registering a company vehicle. A business currently can register a business vehicle, which can carry tax write-offs, with DMV without actually having a valid business license in Delaware.