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Delaware Senate Republicans

Senator Pettyjohn, Rep. Jones Giltner Issue Statement Regarding House Bills 350 and 395

May 8, 2024

Legislators denounce expedited process and dismissal of experts’ warnings.

DOVER, DE – Following the release of House Substitute 2 for House Bill 350 and House Bill 395 from the respective committees, Senate Republican Whip Brian Pettyjohn (R – Georgetown) and Representative Valerie Jones Giltner (R – Georgetown) released the below statement.

“Despite strong opposition from Delaware’s medical community and a bipartisan contingent of legislators, House Substitute 2 for House Bill 350 with House Amendment 1 (HB 350) has been released from the Senate Executive Committee. Expert witnesses from all over Delaware crowded the Senate Chamber and gallery on Tuesday evening to attempt to educate the Senate about the harm this bill would bring to all Delawareans. According to a statement by Senate Majority Leader Bryan Townsend and Speaker of the House Valerie Longhurst, the bill will be scheduled for a floor vote in the Senate later this month.

“Perhaps just as concerning as, if not more so than, the details of HB 350 is the process by which the Democrat supermajority in the General Assembly has steamrolled the proposal through each legislative chamber. Conversations with the chairman of the Delaware Healthcare Association, Dr. David Tam, MD, were initiated on March 8, 2024, the first iteration was introduced on March 12th, and a substitute bill was introduced just nine days later. On March 27th, the House Administration Committee held HB 350’s hearing. Hundreds of doctors, nurses, and healthcare officials from Delaware’s non-profit hospital systems arrived at Legislative Hall to voice their opposition, only to be ignored.

“HB 350 received the bare minimum number of votes required, passing the House 21-16.Before the vote and after four hours of discussion, Democrats forced a vote to shut down the debate, denying some House members the right to express their opinions.

“Prior to the Senate Executive Committee meeting, healthcare officials offered an amendment that would have made the bill workable for the hospitals. Democrats refused to accept the amendment and instead drafted a watered-down version as a separate piece of legislation. That bill, House Bill 395 (HB 395), was placed on today’s House Administration Committee agenda without public notice and through a suspension of the rules process. Due to the last-minute addition of HB 395 to the House Administration Committee agenda, the public and healthcare workers were unaware and, thus, unable to give public comment. Democrat committee members voted to release the bill.

“The lack of respect shown by the authors of these bills throughout this process has been truly disheartening.

“Experts say HB 350 will severely harm the state’s non-profit hospitals, result in employment cuts, and ultimately reduce Delawareans’ access to healthcare. States with similar laws in place are seeing hospitals shut their doors and experienced physicians leave.

“Democrats have thus far refused to listen to these experts and are instead rushing bad legislation through that will do nothing but limit healthcare options for the people of Delaware.”

Senator Pettyjohn represents the 19th Senate District.

Representative Jones Giltner serves the 37th Representative District and has 40 years of healthcare experience as a retired critical care nurse and consultant.

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