Delaware General Assembly Announces Plans to Reconvene Legislative Session
On Thursday, May 14th the Delaware General Assembly announced plans to virtually reconvene. Leveraging a Delaware Constitutional amendment made in 2018 allowing for sessions to take place in alternative locations during an emergency, the sessions will be broadcast via YouTube, which will be posted on the General Assembly’s website.
The first virtual session will be broadcast on Tuesday, May 26th in which the House will pass the concurrent resolution to remove any impediments to conducting a virtual meeting. The Senate will convene virtually on Wednesday, May 27th to pass the same House concurrent resolution and consider several gubernatorial nominations. The Joint Finance Committee hearing dates will be announced at a future date. *
Additional virtual sessions will be announced in the coming weeks, allowing the General Assembly to meet its Constitutional obligation to pass a balanced budget by June 30th. Leadership has also signaled there may be special sessions in the fall.
What does this mean for Delaware’s healthcare industry?
- Healthcare related legislation will likely remain stalled through the end of summer unless the measure relates directly to the budget or a COVID-19 emergency.
- Those interested in legislative initiatives need to work over the summer as though it were fall to prepare for a possible fall cyber-session.
- Strategies for engaging legislators on healthcare issues must shift to allow for lawmakers’ continued commitment to meeting the demand of constituent services, spurred by the impact of COVID-19 on Delawareans and the state’s economy.
- The COVID-19 response will continue to be led primarily by Governor Carney’s office, with executive agencies turning to enforcement as the regulators settle into their role in implementing the COVID-related executive orders.
Physicians, hospitals, nursing homes, and others directly involved in the COVID-19 response and impacted by it will continue to be governed by the executive orders as they are continuously modified. A link to the State of Emergency and related modifications can be found here: https://bit.ly/DeStateEmergency. The modifications to the State of Emergency are layered on top of, or in some cases altering, regular laws and agency guidance. Everything from to whom a COVID-19 test may be administered to social distancing in doctors’ offices will be covered by this scheme while we await any statutory changes the General Assembly may enact on a more distant horizon. Contact the Morris James LLP Healthcare Law or Government Relations team for guidance through the Delaware new normal.
*Proceedings for each hearing will also be broadcast on each caucus’ Facebook page: