CHAPTER 304

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 319

AS AMENDED BY

SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 2

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 24 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE DELAWARE PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS ACT.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE :

Section 1. Amend Title 24, Delaware Code, Section 2817(7) a. by deleting the second of the repeated phrase “to the practice” from the sentence.

Section 2. Amend Section 2817(7)d by inserting the following language between the words “engineer’ and the phrase ‘;or’, the following:

“Notwithstanding such a finding, the Council may allow licensure of such applicant if the applicant presents to the Council suitable evidence of reform;”

Section 3. Amend Title 24, Delaware Code, Section 2818 (c) by deleting the words “a doctor’s degree in science or philosophy,” and replacing with the words “a doctorate,”.

Section 4. Amend Title 24, Delaware Code, Section 2821 by adding a new subsection (e) as follows and redesignating the existing subsections (e) through (g) as subsections (f) through (h):

“(e) The Council may refuse or reject an applicant if, the Council finds that the applicant has practiced engineering without being authorized under this section. Notwithstanding such a finding, the Council may allow licensure of such applicant if the applicant presents to the Council suitable evidence of reform.”

Section 5. Amend Title 24, Delaware Code, Section 2823 (a) by deleting from the second sentence beginning with the words “to require the successful completion” through the words “in Delaware,” and replacing that language with:

“to levy fines, require the successful completion of additional training or education courses, refuse licensure, warn, reprimand, censure, place on probation with appropriate terms and conditions, suspend for a period of time not exceeding 2 years, revoke, refuse to renew any authorization issued to use the term engineer or practice engineering in Delaware, or any combination thereof,”.

Section 6. Amend Section 2823 (a), Title 24, Delaware Code, by adding the following new paragraph (8) to read as follows:

“(8) The Council may refuse or reject an applicant if, the Council finds that the applicant has practiced engineering without being licensed in violation of the licensure laws of Delaware. Notwithstanding such a finding, the Council may allow licensure of such applicant if the applicant presents to the Council suitable evidence of reform.”

Section 7. Amend Title 24, Delaware Code, Section 2824 by adding a new subsection (b) as follows and redesignating the existing subsections (b) through (f) as subsections (c) through (g):

“(b) Any person who files a complaint, provides information or testifies as a witness pursuant to this section shall be afforded the protections of the Delaware Whistleblowers’ Protection Act as codified in Chapter 17, Title 19, Delaware Code.”

Section 8. Amend Section 2824, Title 24, Delaware Code by adding the following paragraphs to the newly redesignated subsection (c):

“(1) The investigating committee may recommend to the Council one of the following administrative means of resolving a complaint without a formal Council hearing:

a. An Administrative Order

1. Based on the results of a complaint investigation the Council appointed Committee may recommend to the Council that the complaint be resolved through the issuance of an Administrative Order.

2. The Committee Chair outlines the rationale without disclosing the evidence but identifying the charges, the portions of the law violated and the possible disciplinary action, which the Council has to approve, modify or reject.

3. The Council issues a letter advising the Licensee of the compliant allegations, the intent to issue an Administrative Order and the opportunity for a hearing before Council. Proof of notification and response is required within 14 days.

4. If the Licensee waives the hearing, the Council may ratify and issue the Administrative Order without further process. The corporate name or individuals name will be exempt from disclosure under the provisions of §2828 (b)(2) of this Title.

5. If the Licensee opposes the allegations, a formal hearing before Council will be scheduled.

6. If the Licensee does not respond to the first letter and there is evidence he received it, a second letter will be sent and if there is evidence that it was received and not responded to, a formal hearing before Council will be scheduled.

7. If Council does not approve of the issuance of an Administrative Order, the case is referred back to the investigating committee.

b. A Consent Agreement

1. Based on the results of a complaint investigation, the Committee may recommend that the complaint be resolved through a Consent Agreement.

2. The Committee Chair will outline the rationale without disclosing the evidence but identifying the charges, the portions of the law violated and the possible disciplinary actions, which the Council has to approve, modify or reject.

3. The Council will issue a letter advising the Licensee of the complaint, alleged violations and a request to proceed either to a hearing before Council or to continue with the Consent Agreement process. Proof of notification and response is required within 14 days.

4. If the response deadline is not met of the Licensee declines the Consent Agreement process, a formal hearing will be scheduled.

5. If the Licensee agrees to proceed with a Consent Agreement, a conference with the Licensee will be scheduled to discuss the contents of the Consent Agreement. A Consent Agreement will normally include a recitation of the facts, the Licensees acknowledgment of the charges and law violations, the Licensees waiver of the hearing before Council and acceptance of the penalties to be imposed.

6. The Consent Agreement will include specific reporting and scheduling deadlines for compliance.

7. After all parties have signed the Consent Agreement, it will be presented to Council for Approval and entered as an Order.

8. Prior to Council approval, either party may terminate the process and elect to proceed to a formal hearing. Nothing in this process prevents agreement between parties to go to a hearing.

9. If Council does not approve the Consent Agreement the case will be referred aback to the investigating committee.

c. Disciplinary Hearing Committee

1. Based on the results of a complaint investigation, the investigating committee recommends to the Council that the complaint be resolved by the Disciplinary Hearing Committee to be appointed by the President of the Council and hereafter referred to as the Hearing Committee.

2. The investigating Committee Chair outlines the rationale without disclosing the evidence but identifies the charges, the portions of the law violated and the possible disciplinary actions.

3. The President of the Council will appoint a Hearing Committee, composed of five unbiased members of DAPE and the assigned Deputy Attorney General.

4. The Hearing Committee shall convene within 90 days.

5. After the hearing, the Hearing Committee, by majority vote, shall prepare a written statement of its finding of fact and conclusions of law.

6. If the Hearing Committee finds the allegations are not supported by the evidence, they shall recommend no action be taken by the Council.

7. If Council accepts the Hearing Committees recommendation, charges are dropped and no further action is required.

8. If Council rejects the Hearing Committees recommendations, a Council hearing shall be scheduled. The Council will consider the Hearing Committee’s findings of fact from the Hearing Committee’s record and will take no additional evidence regarding charges in the complaint.

9. The Council will deliberate and reach its own conclusions of law and shall determine what discipline, if any, should be imposed.”

Section 9. Amend Section 2824, Title 24, Delaware Code by deleting the remainder of the first sentence of the newly redesignated subsection (e) beginning with “the Council shall require” and replacing with the following:

“may levy fines, require the successful completion of additional training or education courses, refuse licensure, warn, reprimand, censure, place of probation with appropriate terms and conditions, suspend for a period of time not exceeding 2 years, revoke, refuse to renew any authorization issued to use the term engineer or practice engineering in Delaware, or any combination thereof, in accordance with the provisions of this Section.”

Section 10. Amend Section 2824, Title 24, Delaware Code by adding the following new paragraphs to the newly redesignated subsection (e):

“(1) The Council shall have the authority to impose civil disciplinary penalties from a minimum of a reprimand to the imposition of a maximum civil penalty of $5,000.00.

(2) The Council shall prepare and publish a chart of Disciplinary Penalty Guidelines indicating the minimum and maximum penalty recommended for any given violation taking into consideration aggravating and mitigating circumstances in each case.

(3) The Disciplinary Penalty Guidelines shall be provided to each member, associate member, affiliate member, adjunct member and permittee and shall be available free of charge to the public. Copies of the Disciplinary Penalty Guidelines shall also be made available to prospective applicants as a part of their application materials.

(4) Justice of the Peace Courts shall have jurisdiction over violations of this section.

(5) All civil penalties imposed by Council shall be paid within a period of thirty days from the date of the final action of Council.

(6) All penalties collected by Council, excepting expenses incurred in the prosecution of the violations, shall be deposited in the General Fund of the State through the Division of Revenue.”

Approved June 27, 2006