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DANA's Public Policy Blog
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DANA will be updating you on important public policy matters as they happen. We will also post about the activities of the Governor, Delaware's General Assembly, local issues, hearings & meetings, and legislation that relates to DANA's Public Policy Agenda.


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Top tags: nonprofits  budget  Joint Finance Committee  General Assembly  Delaware  Grant-in-Aid  Governor  DEFAC  Workers Compensation  Insurance  Delaware Nonprofit Day  government  charitable solicitation  National Council of Nonprofits  Public Policy  revenue  Attorney General  Legislative Hall  Lt. Governor  Task force  Board Member  Calendar  charities  Healthcare  Nonprofit  Office of Management and Budget  taxes  Wilmington  Advocacy  Affordable Care Act 

Grant-In-Aid and Charitable Solicitation Registration

Posted By John Baker, Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hello all-

I'm just getting back to the office from Dover and the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) review of the Grant-In Aid (GIA) Bill draft. The committee, under Representative Smith George’s leadership, was charged with being very deliberate with their recommendations. There will be no aggregate or across-the-board recommendations for GIA this year.

Overall, there was a net aggregate of $513,156.00 increase to the "Community Agencies," going from $16,215,516.00 to $16,728,672.00 in the GIA draft that will now go to the General Assembly for a vote. Some others saw slight increases, some saw decreases, but most remained level. There were also several one-time grants proposed. This was a very tight budget year. The JFC is concerned about the 2015 budget being even tighter, so they were very conservative this year.

Click here to see the GIA draft

Here’s the latest on HB 187:

With a busy legislative session, HB 187 will not come out of committee until January 2014. This is the bill that will bring Delaware in line with 44 other states that already have Charitable Solicitation Registration requirements for nonprofits and for-profit fundraisers. Our surrounding states of NJ, MD, and PA all require similar registration. DANA has worked on this bill with the Attorney General’s office, the Delaware Community Foundation, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (Brandywine Chapter and International), the United Way of Delaware, and many more of our nonprofit colleagues.

Since discussion began in 2008, the bill has been much improved. It now accepts IRS 990 nonprofit tax returns for many nonprofits, raises the budget level at which an audit is required, reduces the annual registration fee from $250 for the smallest "Charitable Nonprofit” to $25, and tops out at $100, instead of the $1,000 in past versions. Also, the provision that would have required the submission of donor lists has been eliminated. The system will be online, and will use the Uniform Registration System (URS) that most other states use for this purpose. Additional fees or further regulations are difficult for our nonprofit sector to bear, but we have fought to make this the least-onerous and least-expensive Charitable Solicitation Registration possible. The bill’s primary sponsor is Rep. Osienski, Co-Sponsors are Rep. Kowalko and Sen. Sokola, with additional sponsorship of Rep. Keeley, and Sens. Townsend and Simpson. View the bill by clicking here

As always if you’d like to discuss this piece of legislation, feel free to contact me.


Tags:  Attorney General  budget  charitable solicitation  General Assembly  Grant-in-Aid  Joint Finance Committee  Legislative Hall  registration  Uniform Registration System 

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Keeping Costs Down for Delaware Employers, Including Nonprofits that Employ 60,000 in Delaware

Posted By John Baker, Monday, June 24, 2013

House Bill 175, sponsored by Rep. Byron Short and Senator Patricia Blevins, both on the Governor’s Task Force on Workers Compensation Insurance, was passed through both houses of the Delaware General Assembly without a single dissent and is ready for the Governor to sign.

HB 175 was crafted from the work of the Task force that the Governor established in January, chaired by former Insurance Commissioner, Lt. Governor Matt Denn. The task force concluded its work in May and presented their proposed recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly.

Lt. Governor Matt Denn provided solid leadership for this task force and the members were diligent in their work, with committee meetings beginning February 8th and taking place every Friday until May 10th. DANA represented the nonprofit sector at each meeting.

The Task Force and resulting bill were in response to workers’ compensation insurance increases of 31 percent over the past two years. This after four years of decreases when Senate Bill 1 was passed in 2007 to fix the system.

HB 175 will make the following changes to the Delaware’s workers’ compensation system:

  • A two-year freeze on all inflation increases for medical providers, with limits on increases after the two-year freeze
  • Increase number of medical procedures in the current fee schedule
  • Inclusion of all radiology and pathology/laboratory reimbursements in the current fee schedule
  • Inclusion of ambulatory center reimbursements in the fee schedule
  • New pharmaceuticals price controls
  • Cap drug testing costs and frequency
  • Reduce the number of physical therapy sessions allowed, and a review of the treatment protocols
  • Cap anesthesia reimbursements
  • An independent "Advocate Attorney” will be hired by the Department of Insurance, in place of the typical second Actuary, to advocate on behalf of ratepayers in the rate setting process
  • The Delaware Compensation Rating Bureau (DCRB) will be required to provide data to the Workers Compensation Data Collection Committee regularly for analysis
  • Streamline the process for employers to inform treating doctors of available light duty for inured workers
  • The workplace safety credit will be available to employers that demonstrate that their insurance providers safety exam is at least as rigorous as that of the Department of Labor

The committee will continue to work on controlling costs and reforming the process to make it one of the best in the country. DANA will continue to work with the group and with the nonprofit sector to introduce programs for improved workplace safety, and to introduce new Workers Compensation Insurance options.

You can view the report by clicking HERE, and the bill by clicking HERE.


Tags:  General Assembly  Governor  Insurance  Workers Compensation 

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Budget Markups Start Today

Posted By John Baker, Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The pencils are being sharpened as the budget markup process begins today!

Updated budget projections were released yesterday at the May Delaware Economic & Financial Advisory Council (DEFAC) meeting at Buena Vista in New Castle. The Council revised their revenue projections upward for 2013 and 2014 by $15.4 million and $4.8 million, respectively. There will be one more DEFAC meeting on June 17th in which the projections will be updated again. I’ll be sure to update you when that happens.

The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) will begin meeting today at noon for the budget markup process. These meeting are open to the public. With the exception of today, the meetings on May 22, 28, 29, 30 and 31 will take place at 10:00 a.m. All meetings will be held in the JFC meeting room in Legislative Hall in Dover. The meeting room is located on the ground floor, which is one level down from security, on the right hand side near the cafeteria.

If you plan to attend, make sure to check the JFC calendar for updates and changes.  

As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments.


Tags:  budget  DEFAC  Joint Finance Committee  Legislative Hall 

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Workers Compensation Insurance Task Force

Posted By John Baker, Monday, May 13, 2013

Hi All,

The Governor’s Task Force on Workers Compensation Insurance concluded it’s work last Friday and presented their proposals at the Delaware State Chamber offices this Monday morning, May 13, at 10:00 am. The recommendations were presented to the Governor and General Assembly, as well.

Lt. Governor Matt Denn provided solid leadership for this task force and the members were diligent in their work, with committee meetings beginning February 8th, and taking place every Friday. Their work concluded this past Friday with the report recommending and finding:

  • That the committee should meet quarterly; an increase in frequency from annually 
  • That data was not being provided to the Healthcare Advisory Panel and Date Collection Committee in a timely manner as required by the 2007 legislation, and it will now be provided to the panel as required and more frequently
  • That Healthcare Costs were driving the increases in Workers Compensation Insurance, and not just claims, and recommendations were made to control cost and the committee will continue to watch these costs closely
  • That an "Advocate Attorney” should be hired by the Department of Insurance, in place of the typical second Actuary, to advocate on behalf of Employers when rate changes are proposed

The Task Force will continue to work on controlling costs and reforming the process to make it one of the best in the country. DANA will continue to work with the task force and with the nonprofit sector to introduce programs for improved workplace safety, and to introduce new Workers Compensation Insurance options. You can view the report by clicking HERE.

See you at Nonprofit Day on Wednesday, May 15th in Dover. Click here for details.


Tags:  Delaware Nonprofit Day  General Assembly  Governor  Healthcare  Insurance  State Chamber  task force  Workers Compensation 

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City of Wilmington Resolution for Moratorium on Nonprofit Group Homes

Posted By John Baker, Friday, April 19, 2013

As a matter of being a source of information to you, I'd like to give you an update on a matter that took place during last night's Wilmington City Council meeting.

A Wilmington City Resolution sponsored by Council-member Loretta Walsh, asking Governor Markell to initiate a moratorium on funding, by the State, of new nonprofit group homes passed the Wilmington City Council last night with a 8 to 2 vote. The resolution passed with one amendment changing a call for a "one year moratorium” to "six months.” The resolution asks that during this period of time, a committee be formed to work through challenges that residents and the city identified at a public meeting in early March. The March meeting focused on community services and nonprofits in West Center City.

Concerns were raised by councilmembers about running afoul of fair housing laws and possible law suits, like the recent one in Sussex County. In that instance, the county did not approve a builder for a low income housing project. The result was a law suit that awarded the plaintiff monetary compensation. Wilmington City Council doesn’t believe that this call to the Governor for a "time-out,” as they called it, would place the city at legal risk of running afoul of federal, or any other laws.

The resolution will now be communicated to Governor Markell for him to take action on it. In talking with a Delaware Department of Health and Social Services representative, I found out they are actively working on this matter and do not expect the Governor to approve a moratorium on funding for new nonprofit group homes.

A Wilmington City meeting to examine concerns of residents and nonprofits will be convened in the next couple of weeks. Contact Council-member Loretta Walsh’s office for more details, or if you are interested in serving on or attending the meetings: 302.576.2140

As always, please reach out to me with any questions or comments.


Tags:  Group Homes  Nonprofits  resolution  Wilmington 

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Grant-In-Aid Committee Assignments

Posted By John Baker, Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hi folks, 

For those of you who have Grant-In-Aid applications submitted, and would like to talk with the Joint Finance Committee members assigned to review it, I've attached a document with this list for you. 

Thanks for reading this blog! As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments.


Download File (PDF)

Tags:  General Assembly  Grant-in-Aid  Joint Finance Committee 

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Fees, taxes, and PILOTs in the City of Wilmington

Posted By John Baker, Monday, April 8, 2013

This morning, DANA CEO Chris Grundner and I met with Wilmington Mayor Williams’ Chief Strategy Advisor Velda Jones-Potter, and Chief of Staff John Matlusky. We requested the meeting as part of DANA’s Public Policy Agenda. We went there to voice our concerns about the city possibly imposing fees, taxes, or PILOTs (Payments In Lieu of Taxes) on nonprofits. Such fees have been mentioned by the Mayor as a source of revenue in Wilmington. Our position on the matter remains that we are against the imposition of fees, taxes, or PILOTs being imposed on nonprofits.

We have seen the topic of fees on nonprofits come up in years past, and they have been successfully defeated. DANA is closely watching as PILOTs are being considered in other cities around the nation, as all municipalities struggle through the current challenging economic conditions. The City of Wilmington and Delaware nonprofits alike are struggling with the same challenging economic conditions, as nonprofits aim to meet the demands of the increasing numbers of clients in need.

By maintaining an ongoing engagement with the mayor’s office, we anticipate a successful outcome from this current round of discussions regarding fees, taxes, and PILOTs. Wilmington’s Mayor Williams and his staff understand the value of the nonprofit sector and recognize us as key partners in city services. They understand that any imposition of fees will only limit our ability to address the needs of Wilmingtonians.

Chris and I left the meeting this morning with a secure understanding that there will be no fees, taxes, or PILOTs in the proposed budget for 2013 through 2014, and that Wilmington has no plan to move forward with any such imposition without thoroughly engaging Wilmington nonprofits in the discussion. In coordination with the mayor’s office, DANA will be forming a representative working-group of nonprofit leaders to meet with the mayor, his staff, and City Council representatives in the coming summer months. The focus of this group will be to gain a thorough understanding of the sector, and an aligned course going forward.

I will keep you posted with any developments. In the meantime, I may reach out to some of you to serve as representatives of the sector within this new working-group.

Thanks for reading! As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments.


Tags:  fees  Mayor Williams  nonprofits  PILOTs  Public Policy  taxes  Wilmington 

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First of many

Posted By John Baker, Friday, April 5, 2013

Welcome to my new Public Policy Blog and thank you for checking in! I’ll be keeping you up to date on important public policy matters and activities of the Governor, Delaware’s General Assembly, City and Local issues, hearings and meetings, as well as legislation that is part of the DANA Public Policy Agenda.

Since this is a new blog, I’ll bring you up to speed with a few items from earlier this year, like the Governor’s Proposed Budget for FY 2014:

The Governor presented his proposed 2014 budget on January 24 with the following new initiatives:

  • Expand in-school behavioral health services $3,300,000
  • Statewide targeted prevention programs for youth $2,225,000
  • DSCYF – Youth aging out of foster care $515,000
  • Delaware National Guard Youth Challenge $93,000
  • Accelerate the development of school safety plans $300,000
  • Six State Police Troopers $530,000
  • Total New Initiatives $6,963,500

The Governor’s budget is paid for based on the December Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council (DEFAC) Revenue Projections. The DEFAC projection for March was up by $11.1 Million. The final DEFAC projection will be in June, prior to the Delaware Legislature finalizing the 2014 Fiscal Year Budget Bill.

The Governors proposed budget has a deficit of $56 Million, which is paid for with $28.7 million in Agency and Program cuts, and continuation of certain 2009 tax changes. This results in an additional $27.3 million. Between cuts and retaining some tax increases, the budget proposal is balanced for FY2014.

Grant-In-Aid (GIA)

The GIA included in the Governor’s budget includes a $1.2 million elimination of a "one-time” GIA line-item, which leaves the GIA proposal level at $43 million.

The March (ultimately June) DEFAC projection will impact the final GIA and overall budget bills as economy strengthens or weakens.

The March 18 DEFAC meeting revealed an increase in revenue projections of $11.1 million, and I expect June to tick up some more. This is all good news for the budget and GIA.

Joint Finance Committee Hearings (JFC)

The JFC hearings took place in January and February with the State Agencies, Divisions, and Departments presenting their budgets to the JFC. Their budgets were all in line with the Governor’s proposed budget discussed earlier.

Their first mark ups of the budget, including the GIA and the Bond Bills, will be May 21, 22, and 23. The final mark up should be the second week of June, after the June DEFAC projection. Keeping in line with their trend of recent years, the budget bills should get to the legislators in time for a thorough review before they vote on the last day of June.

You can find the Joint Finance Committee meeting schedule HERE.

It was good to see so many of you during the DANA Annual Budget Update at the Medical Society in Newark on February 14, and at the Modern Maturity Center in Dover on February 15, where we had presentations by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), DHSS, and DSCYF (Kids Department). Thanks for your solid turnout!

A few dates to note:

  • March 28 marked the end of the three-week General Assembly session. The two weeks following is their Spring Break. The Assembly will reconvene on April 16.
  • Make sure you mark down May 15 for Delaware Nonprofit Day! Join us as we demonstrate the cohesive, coordinated, and collaborative nature of our Delaware Nonprofit Community. You’ll have a chance to chat and mingle with our elected officials. More details can be found on our website calendar.

Thanks for reading! As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments.


Tags:  Bond Bills  budget  Delaware Nonprofit Day  General Assembly  Governor  Grant-in-Aid  Joint Finance Committee 

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