At his final joint constituent coffee meeting of the summer, State Rep. Bryan Shupe said his first year in office was focused on health care, fiscal responsibility, and job creation. Speaking at the Milford Library Thursday morning, he discussed some of the measures he has sponsored or co-sponsored in the first half of the 150th General Assembly:
House Bill 257 – Introduced in the closing days of June, this bipartisan bill seeks to attract and retain primary care physicians to Delaware. The proposal would establish an education loan repayment program for doctors choosing to practice in The First State. The program would cost the state $1 million annually, with matching money supplied by health insurers. Hospitals applying for grants on behalf of their qualifying clinicians would also be required to match the grants on a dollar-for-dollar basis. The bill is pending action in the House Health & Human Development Committee.
House Bill 210 – This measure seeks to create a pilot grant program to provide drinking water purification systems for low-income Delawareans. Funded using existing money, the initiative would likely be paired with an effort to distribute water testing kits to school students in targeted communities to identify water quality issues. The bill has been released from committee and is pending action in the House.
House Bill 58 – This legislation would increase the number of nursing students eligible for the Nursing Incentive Program by expanding its scope to include Delawareans pursuing careers at non-profit hospitals within the state. The proposal utilizes existing funds and is currently waiting to be signed into law.
House Bill 59 – State legislators receive Community Transportation Fund (CTF) money annually to finance road, sidewalk, and drainage projects in their districts that are typically too small for inclusion in the state’s master plan. Under this bipartisan reform co-sponsored by Rep. Shupe, all CTF disbursements will be posted online for public inspection. The bill was signed into law earlier this week.
House Bill 17 – Co-sponsored by Rep. Shupe, this bill seeks to give local school districts priority to collect back taxes over other claimants, including those outside the state. Delaware schools are collectively owed tens-of-millions of dollars in unpaid taxes. The collections would be made via “tax intercept,” seizing refund money otherwise due to the person in arrears. The bill has been released from committee and is awaiting consideration in the House
Senate Bill 65 – Rep. Shupe is partnering with State Sen. Brian Pettyjohn on this proposal to increase the availability of vocational training through the creation of the Focus on Alternative Skills Training (FAST) program. Similar to SEED, which provides tuition-free college opportunities, FAST would provide tuition assistance of up to $9,000 to recent Delaware high school graduates who enroll in approved non-degree certificate programs. The measure is pending action in the Senate Labor Committee.
The monthly joint constituent coffee meetings Rep. Shupe holds in conjunction with State Rep. Charles Postles are on summer hiatus and will resume in the fall at a new location.