CHAPTER 120 - "TRADE BOARD" FOR THE CLEANING, DYEING AND PRESSING TRADE

AN ACT TO REGULATE, CONTROL AND LICENSE THE CLEANING, PRESSING AND DYEING TRADE IN THE STATE OF DELAWARE AND TO CREATE A TRADE BOARD WITH RESPECT TO THE REGULATION, CONTROL AND LICENSING THEREOF.

WHEREAS, an emergency, caused by an abnormal disruption of economic conditions in all lines of trade and industry, and particularly productive of wide-spread disorganization of the cleaning, pressing and dyeing trade, which emergency affects the public welfare of the people throughout the State, is hereby declared to exist; and

WHEREAS, the protection of the public welfare demands an effective regulation of the cleaning, pressing and dyeing industry, the standardization of work, the establishment of a proper responsibility on the part of members of said trade to the public at large, and the establishment of proper sanitary conditions in said trade; and

WHEREAS, the general purpose of this law is to promote and protect the public welfare and to eliminate unfair, unsanitary and demoralizing trade practices;

Therefore, he it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware, in General Assembly met:

Section 1. That a Board for the cleaning, dyeing and pressing trade be and the same is hereby created, to be known as the "Trade Board." Said Board shall consist of five members, to be appointed by the Governor of the State, each of whom shall have been a resident of this State at the time of the passage of this Act for five consecutive years. One of said members shall be a "retail dealer'', one of said members shall be a "wholesale dealer", one of said members shall be a "retail plant owner", as said terms are defined herein, and two of said members shall be appointed from the public at large. The members of said Trade Board shall receive as compensation for their services the sum of Ten Dollars for each day engaged in the performance of the duties thereof, not to exceed, however, the sum of Thirty Dollars in any one month. The Board shall have authority to appoint one of its members as secretary thereof, who shall hold office during the pleasure of the Board, said secretary to receive an additional allowance of Five Dollars for each day he is engaged in the performance of the duties of the Board, not to exceed, however, an additional sum of fifteen dollars in any one month. Out of the funds made available by the provisions of this Act, the Board may expend, in addition to the salaries herein provided, an additional sum not to exceed the sum of Five Hundred Dollars per annum for the expenses incident to the administration of this Act.

Section 2. When used in this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, the following definitions shall apply:

"Trade Board" means the State agency created by this Act, for the cleaning, pressing and dyeing industry.

"Retail Dealer" means a person, firm or corporation engaged in operating a cleaning, pressing or dyeing establishment where the services of dry cleaning, pressing or dyeing are offered for sale directly to the consumer, but where any part of said services is not performed by such retail dealer. This term excludes "wholesale dealer" and "plant owner" as hereinafter defined.

"Wholesale dealer" means any person, firm or corporation engaged in operating a cleaning or dyeing establishment where such work is performed solely for retail dealers as above defined and where such services are not offered by such wholesale dealer directly to the consumer.

"Retail plant owner" means a person, firm or corporation engaged in business as a retail dealer as above defined, but which such plant owner performs such services without letting any part thereof to a wholesale dealer as above defined.

"Cleaning, pressing or dyeing establishment" and "cleaning or dyeing establishment" means any place where the service of dry cleaning, wet cleaning as a process incidental to dry cleaning, dyeing, spotting and/or finishing any fabric is rendered for hire, or is sold, resold or offered for sale or resale. The term does not, however, include establishments where any such services are performed solely in the course of the original manufacture of fabrics.

"Fabric" means any article of wearing apparel (including hats), household furnishings, rugs, textile, fur and leather.

"Dry cleaning" means the process of cleaning, fabrics by immersion and agitation, or by immersion only, in volatile solvents, and processes incidental thereto.

"Spotting" means the process designed to remove spots or stains which remain in a fabric after it has been subjected to the other processes of dry cleaning.

"Finishing" means the process of pressing and/or reshaping any fabric, which is designed to restore as nearly as possible the shape, dimensions and contour of said fabric.

"Sanitation" with respect to the cleaning, pressing and dyeing industry means the methods and processes of cleaning, dyeing and finishing fabrics as herein defined, in accordance with the approved rules and regulations prescribed by the Board.

Section 3. The functions, duties and powers of the "Trade Board" shall be as follows:

(1) To adopt and promulgate rules and regulations not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act or of the laws of the United States, or of the State of Delaware. All such rules and regulations shall have the force and effect of law.

(2) To establish by such rules and regulations an effective control of the businesses of cleaning, dyeing and finishing of fabrics as herein defined within the State of Delaware, including the time, place and manner in which such work and services shall be performed and sold to the public, not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act.

(0) To grant licenses to conduct the businesses of "retail dealer", "wholesale dealer" and "retail plant owner" in accordance with the provisions of this Act. The Trade Board may decline to grant a license, or may suspend or revoke a license already granted upon due notice and after hearing, on the grounds of any violation of the provisions of this Act, or of the rules and regulations of the Trade Board, provided however that any party aggrieved shall have the right to appeal from the decision of the Trade Board, in the event of a refusal to grant or the suspension or revocation of any license, to the Superior Court of the State of Delaware, for the County in which the place of business of the aggrieved party is located. Such appeal shall not, however, operate as a supersedeas with respect to the decision or ruling of the Trade Board in the refusal to grant, or the revocation or suspension of such license.

(1) In administering the provisions of this Act the Trade Board shall have the power to conduct hearings, subpoena witnesses and examine such witnesses under oath, examine books, records and accounts of persons, firms and corporations engaged in the businesses herein defined. Any member of the Trade Board or its representative shall have access to and may enter at all reasonable hours all of the places where the businesses herein defined are conducted.

(2) The Trade Board shall have power to act as mediator or arbitrator to settle any controversy or issue that may arise among or between any of the persons, firms or corporations engaged in the businesses as defined in this Act and/or consumers, any of whom may petition the Trade Board in writing concerning violations of any of the provisions of this Act, or of the rules and regulations of the Trade Board, or concerning unsanitary, unethical or unfair trade practices in the trade generally.

(6) To promote, in the interests of the public at large, sanitary conditions in the prosecution of the businesses herein defined, by the promulgation and enforcement of rules and regulations as to sanitation. For the purposes of this Act, the performance by any person, firm or corporation, subject to the provisions of this Act, of work or services at less than the reasonable cost thereof, will be prima fade evidence of the performance of such work and services in an unsanitary manner.

(7) To act for the purposes of this Act, as a competent authority in connection with other matters pertinent thereto.

Section 4. No person, firm or corporation shall engage in the businesses of "retail dealer", "wholesale dealer", or "retail plant owner", as herein defined, within the State of Delaware, without first obtaining a license therefor from the Trade Board, which said license shall be valid for a period of one year and no more, unless sooner revoked or suspended by said Trade Board under the provisions of this Act. The annual fees for such licenses shall be as follows: For each license as "retail dealer" Fifteen Dollars, for each license as "wholesale dealer" Fifty Dollars, and for each license as "retail plant owner" Thirty Dollars. Such license fees shall be collected by the Trade Board and disbursed and accounted for as hereinafter provided.

Section 5. All moneys received by the Trade Board shall be deposited to its credit in the Bank in which State funds are required to be deposited and a quarterly report thereof shall be made to the State Treasurer. Said report shall fully set forth all moneys received by said Trade Board during the period covered and all expenditures made by the Trade Board during such period. Said report shall be accompanied by a check to the order of the State Treasurer for the amount in hand, less such sum as in the judgment of the Trade Board it is necessary to be retained by said Trade Board for defraying expenses (including salaries), to be met under the provisions of this Act. Each member of the Trade Board shall give security by means of a corporate surety bond to the State of Delaware in the sum of Twenty-five Hundred Dollars, conditioned that he (or she) will faithfully perform all the duties imposed by law that he (or she) will not knowingly violate the provisions of this Act or of any Act relating to the control and regulation of the businesses subject to the provisions of this Act, and that he (or she) will faithfully and truly account under the provisions of this Act to the State Treasurer for all moneys received in connection with the administration thereof. The cost of said bonds shall be borne by the Trade Board as part of its operating expense.

Section 6. Every "retail dealer", "wholesale dealer" and "retail plant owner", as herein defined, shall be liable as an insurer for any damage to or the loss or destruction either in whole or in part of any article left with such "retail dealer", "wholesale dealer" or "plant owner" for the furnishing or performance of services for a monetary reward in connection therewith and it shall be unlawful for any such "retail dealer", "wholesale dealer" or "plant owner" to attempt by stipulation with a consumer, or otherwise, to evade, limit or nullify the responsibility imposed by this Act or by any law of the State of Delaware.

Section 7. The Attorney General and his Deputies shall act as counsel for the Trade Board and it shall be the duty of the Attorney General and his Deputies and all police officers within the State to enforce the provisions of this Act.

Section 8. Any person, firm or corporation who violates or fails to comply with any of the provisions or requirements of this Act or of any rule or regulation of said Trade Board duly promulgated and adopted shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not exceeding the sum of Seventy-five Dollars, in the discretion of the Court, or by imprisonment not exceeding twenty-five days, or both, in the discretion of the Court, and each day during which such violation shall continue shall be deemed a separate offense. The Municipal Court of the City of Wilmington shall have concurrent jurisdiction of all violations of the provisions and requirements of this Act occurring within the corporate limits of the City of Wilmington. All Justices of the Peace in the State of Delaware, outside the City of Wilmington, shall have concurrent jurisdiction of all violations of the provisions and requirements of this Act occurring without the corporate limits of the City of Wilmington.

Section 9. The period of public emergency above mentioned shall be until such date as the Legislature shall, by legislative enactment, designate to be the termination thereof, or if the Legislature be not in session the date so designated by a proclamation of the Governor.

Section 10. If any portion of this Act is held invalid or unconstitutional, such holding shall not affect the validity of the Act as a whole, or any part thereof which can be given effect without the part so held to be unconstitutional or invalid.

Section 11. This Act shall become effective immediately.

Approved April 15, 1935.