Rep. Bryan Shupe renewing push for passage of Del. water quality bill

DELAWARE – Representative Bryan Shupe is urging his fellow lawmakers to take action on a water quality bill. “The goal of HB 69 is to help underserved communities in the state of Delaware. A lot of them are not hooked up to, or close enough to be hooked up to, the larger infrastructure systems that we see close to municipalities,” he said.

Cleaner, Safer Water

The bill would use existing bond interest payments as funding to get water filtration systems installed in underserved communities. “It actually uses a funding source that is through bond interest payments that municipalities use for large infrastructure projects. That money is actually capitalized in state code to be used for underserved communities,” said Rep. Shupe.

Eligible households could have those filtration systems installed in as little as three months, if the bill passes. Rep. Shupe says Delaware’s underserved communities need fast action on the bill. “We are in dire need right now. There’s families that are having to buy bottled water, not only to cook, but to bathe in, and it’s becoming a financial burden for a lot of families who are already on the lower economic scale,” he said.

“Desk Drawer Veto”

Last session, the bill received a favorable report from the Health and Human Development Committee. But, it never made it to the House floor for debate. “HB 69 has become a casualty of what I call ‘the desk drawer veto’. Even after a bipartisan committee votes that they want to hear it on the House floor, the House Majority Leader and Speaker of the House can keep it off the floor for debate by the General Assembly,” said Rep. Shupe.

That’s why Rep. Shupe is calling on Delaware’s top lawmakers to knock the dust off of the bill, and move it forward. “It is up to them to put it back on the agenda. I’m asking them to do that in March. I’m also asking the public to contact them, and ask them to put it back there, because if it does not have a hearing on the House floor by June, it’ll die and it will have to go through the committee process again,” he said.

Renewed Push

Rep. Shupe says he’s hoping that Delawareans will reach out to their lawmakers to echo his message. “This really isn’t a one side or another bill. It’s really for the underserved communities to get clean drinking water. I think the general public is seeing that, and is trying to push us, as lawmakers, to say it’s time to put the political divide behind us and do what’s good for the people of Delaware,” he said.

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