We're going into the 151st General Assembly's 2022 legislative session full steam ahead. With support from Delawareans like you, we're well on our way to protecting and expanding Delawareans' civil liberties.
Here are ACLU-DE's legislative priorities for the 2022 session. Click the links below each bill to learn more, show your support, and get involved.
The issues and bills we’re working on this year.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: We Oppose the Substitute Bill for SB 149
Advocates and police reform experts have been clear: meaningful police reform must come by significantly amending Delaware’s Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBOR). A substitute for SB 149 (SS1 for SB 149) was introduced on Monday, March 21, 2022, and we have come out in public opposition to this bill — because it removes any chance for effective change. Please read our full statement to learn more about our position on the SB 149 substitute bill.
SB 101: Right to Representation for Eviction Defense
86% of Delaware landlords have representation from an attorney or agent in evictions court, but only 2% of tenants do. This puts tenants facing eviction at a significant disadvantage, leaving them to navigate a legal process that’s designed to protect landlords.
SB 101 is an opportunity to level the playing field. This bill would create a right to legal representation for eviction defense for low-income tenants, and it would also create programs and guidance to help resolve payment or other issues between tenants and landlords.
HB 25: Same-Day Registration
Delaware currently makes voters register 25 days before an election, one of the longest deadlines allowed by federal law. It’s time to modernize Delaware’s voter registration system and remove unnecessary barriers to voting.
Same-Day Registration (SDR) eliminates the need for advance registration by allowing eligible voters to register and cast a ballot at the same time on Election Day or during an early voting period. By combining registration and voting, SDR streamlines the voting process, eases the burden on voters, and increases voter participation.
SB 320: Voting by Mail
Largely due to emergency vote-by-mail legislation, the 2020 elections saw a substantial increase in voter turnout. But the 2020 legislation was temporary.
SB 320 would permanently allow Delawareans to vote by mail, offering a more accessible avenue to participate in our Democracy.
HCR 87: Establishing Structures to Enhance Equity in Education in Delaware
The Delaware Ombudspersons’ program is an independent advocacy agency that assists families and other community members with educational needs and concerns — focusing on dispute resolution, equitable access to programs, services, and rigorous coursework, addressing issues of racism, ableism, and other sources of marginalization and inequality impacting students. This is the only statewide program solely focused on supporting students.
Bills We Support
Our community partners are working on some important bills for Delawareans’ civil liberties. Here are a few that we strongly support:
HB 371: Legalization of Recreational Cannabis
Delaware Cannabis Policy Coalition
For far too long, the failed War on Drugs has devastated communities through arrests and mass incarceration. The legalization of cannabis is a logical next step to stem the tide of drug arrests and to begin to heal the wounds created by punitive cannabis laws.
Note: HB 371 was vetoed by Governor Carney on May 24, 2022.
HB 372: Delaware Marijuana Control Act
Delaware Cannabis Policy Coalition
HB 372 regulates and taxes cannabis in the same manner as alcohol. The bill also creates an oversight committee, licensing requirements, and ensures that people with prior drug convictions and their loved ones have equitable access to participate in a newly-created legal cannabis marketplace.
SB 1: Healthy Delaware Families Act (Paid Family & Medical Leave Insurance Program)
Delaware Cares Coalition
In Delaware, nearly 60% of workers are without access to unpaid leave. This lack of access creates burdens across demographic groups, but it disproportionately burdens women, and especially women of color.
SB 1, formally SS 2 for SB 1, the Healthy Delaware Families Act, would ensure that all Delaware workers can access up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave to care for themselves or a family member with a serious illness, to bond with a new child, or for a family member’s military deployment.
Note: SS 2 for SB 1 was signed by Governor Carney on May 10, 2022.
Smart Justice & Economic Justice
HB 244: Fines & Fees
When Delawareans face court-ordered fines and fees, many are unable to pay the amount they’ve been assigned. This can begin a “debt spiral,” leading from fines and fees to incarceration to more court-ordered debts.
HB 244 would eliminate a number of fines and fees, and would also prohibit the Division of Motor Vehicles from suspending driver’s licenses as a penalty for nonpayment of a fine, fee, costs, assessment, or restitution.
HB 320: APC Medication Abortion Expansion
HB 320 allows advanced practice clinicians (APCs) to provide medication abortion care. We support this bill, along with legislation that also allows APCs to provide procedural abortions.
Note: HB 320 was signed by Governor Carney on April 28, 2022.
HB 455: APC Procedural Abortion Expansion
HB 455 allows advanced practice clinicians (APCs) to provide procedural abortion care. This bill follows the successful passage and signing of HB 320, which allows APCs to provide medication abortion care. With the fall of the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision, HB 455 will allow Delaware to take additional steps to ensure that abortion rights are expanded in this critical time.
Want to stay up-to-date on our legislative progress? Eager to support and take action on these bills?