CHAPTER 557

FORMERLY HOUSE BILL NO.

397 AS AMENDED BY HOUSE

AMENDMENT NO. 1

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 25, TITLE 3 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO REQUIREMENTS OF LICENSES AND BONDS FOR DEALERS IN AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:

Section 1. Section 2501, paragraph (b), Chapter 25, Title 3 of the Delaware Code, is amended by striking the words "in this State" as the same appear in the first sentence and last sentence of said paragraph.

Further amend Section 2501, Chapter 25, Title 3 of the Delaware Code, by adding the following:

"(g) 'Secretary' means the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture."

Section 2. Section 2503, Chapter 25, Title 3 of the Delaware Code, is amended by striking the word "within" in line 2 of said section and substituting in lieu thereof the words "with producers in".

Further amend Section 2503, paragraph (a), Chapter 25, Title 3 of the Delaware Code, by striking the words "within this State" from said paragraph.

Section 3. Section 2505, Chapter 25, Title 3 of the Delaware Code, is amended by:

Striking the words "as principal" in line 2 of said section.

Deleting the "." after the word "surety" in line 3 and adding the words "in favor of the Secretary in his official capacity for the benefit of all producers with whom the applicant shall transact business, for the period that the license is in force".

Deleting the entire sentence "The Department shall be designated as the trustee of this bond, and a copy of this bond shall be filed with the Department."

Deleting at the end of said section the words "in any court of competent jurisdiction" and substituting in lieu thereof the words "by the signing of a verified complaint. Such verified complaint shall be upon a form prescribed or approved by the Secretary."

Section 4. Section 2509, Chapter 25, Title 3 of the Delaware Code, is amended by striking Section 2509 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

§ 2509. Secretary's authority to investigate

Upon the verified written complaint of any producer or interested person or upon his motion, the Secretary or assistant whom he may designate shall have the authority to investigate the books and records pertaining to such complaint of any dealer in agricultural products at any time during business hours and shall have free access to the place at which the business is operated.

When a verified written complaint is filed with the Secretary, the Secretary or assistant whom he may designate shall conduct a hearing thereon and shall furnish the holder of the license a copy of the complaint and a notice of the time and place of hearing, which notice shall be served personally or by registered mail directed to his place of business or last known address with postage fully paid at least ten days prior to the time fixed for the hearing. In the hearing of any complaint, the Secretary or assistant whom he may designate may sign, and issue subpoenas, administer oaths, examine witnesses, take depositions, receive evidence, and require by subpoena the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of records, documents and memoranda as may be material for the determination of the matter alleged in the complaint.

The Secretary or assistant whom he may designate shall report his findings and make his order upon the matters complained of and furnish a copy of same to the complainant and respondent and/or surety within ten (10) days of the conclusion of the hearing.

The respondent and/or surety shall have fifteen (15) days in which to make effective and satisfy the Secretary's order. If the respondent and/or surety does not comply with the Secretary's order in fifteen (15) days, the Secretary shall bring an action at law to recover from the surety on said bond the amount necessary to satisfy such claims or such part thereof as shall equal the amount of the bond, which action may be instituted by the Secretary in his official capacity as such on behalf of said claimants, but without naming them as plaintiffs or defendants therein. The moneys obtained from the sale of said securities or by action against the surety shall be used for the satisfaction of such claims, and the Secretary shall make distribution thereof to the claimants in accordance with the amounts determined to be due thereon, and if less than the total amount of said claims shall be so obtained, distribution shall be made ratably to the creditors according to said amounts.

If a creditor had reduced his claim to judgement, the judgement shall be presumptive of the amount due him.

Section 5. Section 2510, Chapter 25, Title 3 of the Delaware Code, is amended by adding after paragraph (e) the following paragraph:

Before any license is refused or revoked, the Department or its authorized agents shall give the applicant or licensee at least ten (10) days notice of the time and place of hearing or refusal or revocation of a license. At the time and place of hearing, the Department or its authorized agents shall receive evidence, administer oaths, examine witnesses and hear testimony and shall file an order either dismissing the proceeding or refusing or revoking the license.

Approved July 21,1972.