CHAPTER 356

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 41

AS AMENDED BY

HOUSE AMENDMENT NOS. 2 & 3

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLES 29, 31, AND 6 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RENAMING THE OFFICE OF HUMAN RELATIONS, AND RELATING TO THE STATE HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION, EQUAL ACCOMMODATIONS, AND FAIR HOUSING.

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

Section 1. Amend § 8733, Title 29 of the Delaware Code, by striking the section heading thereof in its entirety and by substituting in lieu thereof the following:

“§ 8733. Division of Human Relations.”

Section 2. Amend § 8733, Title 29 of the Delaware Code by striking subsection (a) thereof in its entirety and by substituting in lieu thereof the following:

“(a) The Division of Human Relations is established, and shall be responsible for the performance of all the administrative, ministerial, fiscal and clerical functions of the State Human Relations Commission. The Director of the Division may appoint and remove employees of the Division as provided by law.”.

Section 3. Amend § 3001(d), Title 31 of the Delaware Code, by striking the phrase “and a replacement shall be appointed” as it appears at the end thereof and by substituting in lieu thereof the following:

“and the Chairperson shall immediately notify the Governor that a vacancy on the Commission exists and that a replacement must be appointed. The notice shall identify the member deemed to have resigned and the reason therefore.”

Section 4. Amend § 3001, Title 31 of the Delaware Code, by inserting therein a new subsection (e) as follows:

“(e) The Commission shall adopt bylaws that provide for operating procedures such as: election of officers, appointment of committees, designation of a quorum, conducting of meetings, and other matters that will promote the efficient operation of the Commission in the performance of its duties under this chapter.”.

Section 5. Amend Chapter 30, Title 31 of the Delaware Code, by deleting § 3003 thereof in its entirety and by substituting in lieu thereof the following:

Ҥ 3003. Responsibilities.

The Commission shall be responsible for carrying out public information and education programs, for preparing reports and recommendations, and for making surveys and studies necessary for the performance of its duties under this chapter. The Commission may delegate one or more of its responsibilities under this section to the Division; provided, however, that such delegation shall specifically state the responsibility the Division must undertake.”

Section 6. Amend § 3004(1), Title 31 of the Delaware Code, by substituting the word “disability” for the word “handicap” as it appears therein and by adding immediately after the semicolon at the end thereof a new sentence to read as follows:

“provided, however, that the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act in 29 Del. C. Chapter 100 shall not apply to meetings that involve conciliation or mediation;”

Section 7. Amend Chapter 30, Title 31 of the Delaware Code, by adding thereto a new section as follows:

Ҥ 3006. Subpoenas; compelling testimony.

(a) The Commission may issue subpoenas and order discovery in aid of the investigations, surveys and studies authorized under § 3004 of this Title when the Attorney General has reason to believe that such subpoenas and discovery will enable the Commission to perform the duties imposed by this Chapter.

(b) Any subpoena, process, order of the Commission, or other paper requiring service may be served by any sheriff, deputy-sheriff, or constable, or by any employee of the Division of Human Relations.

(c) If a witness refuses to obey a subpoena lawfully issued by the Commission, or to give evidence properly requested by the Commission, the Commission may petition the Superior Court to compel the witness to obey the subpoena or give the evidence. The Court shall immediately issue process to the witness and shall hold a hearing on the petition as soon as possible. If the witness refuses, without reasonable cause or legal grounds, to obey the subpoena or to give the evidence, the Court shall punish the witness for contempt.”

Section 8. Amend §4501, Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by inserting a new sentence at the end thereof to read as follows:

“Furthermore, in defining the scope or extent of any duty imposed by this chapter, higher or more comprehensive obligations established by otherwise applicable federal, state, or local enactments may be considered.”

Section 9. Amend §4502(11), Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by inserting a new second sentence to read as follows:

“This definition includes State agencies, local government agencies, and State-funded agencies performing public functions.”

Section 10. Amend §4504(a), Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by inserting the words and punctuation “, director, supervisor,” after the word “manager” and substituting the phrase “persons with disabilities” for the phrase “the handicapped”.

Section 11. Amend § 4502, Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by redesignating paragraphs (8) through (13) thereof as paragraphs (9) through (14) respectively and by inserting therein a new paragraph (8) as follows:

“(8) “Division” means the Division of Human Relations.”.

Section 12. Amend Chapter 45, Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by deleting § 4505 thereof in its entirety and by substituting in lieu thereof the following:

Ҥ 4505. Authority of the Commission; delegation.

(a) The State Human Relations Commission shall implement the provisions of this chapter not expressly vested in another entity.

(b) The Commission may delegate, to a panel of its members, any power, duty, or function vested in it by this chapter. No panel to which any power, duty, or function of the Commission is delegated shall consist of fewer than 3 members of the Commission.

(c) The Commission may delegate, to the Division of Human Relations, any power, duty, or function vested in it by this chapter unless the delegation is expressly prohibited. If the Commission delegates to the Division a power, duty, or function vested in it by this chapter, the delegation shall specifically state the power, duty, or function being delegated.

(d) The Commission shall not delegate its power or duty to conduct public hearings or order relief to the Division.”

Section 13. Amend Chapter 45, Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by striking § 4507 thereof in its entirety and by substituting in lieu thereof the following:

Ҥ 4507. Education and conciliation.

(a) The Commission may commence such educational activities as, in its judgment, will further the purposes of this chapter. It may hold conferences for persons in the business industry and other interested parties to acquaint them with the provisions of this chapter and its suggested means of implementing it. The Commission may issue reports on such conferences as it deems appropriate.

(b) The Division may commence such conciliatory activities in order to further the purposes of this chapter. It may call conferences of persons in the business industry and other interested parties to acquaint them with the provisions of this chapter governing conciliation and the means it employs to implement those provisions. It shall endeavor, with their advice, to develop programs of voluntary compliance and enforcement. The Division may issue reports on such conferences as it deems appropriate.

(c) When undertaking their respective duties under this section, the Commission and the Division may consult with state and local officials and other interested parties to learn the extent, if any, to which discriminatory public accommodations practices exist in the State or locality, and whether and how State or local enforcement programs might be utilized to combat such discrimination. The Commission may issue reports on such consultations as it deems appropriate.”

Section 14. Amend § 4508(c), Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by adding thereto a new sentence as follows:

“If the Division determines that the allegations in the complaint do not state a claim for which relief is available under this chapter or that the claim is not within the scope of the Commission’s jurisdiction, it may petition the Commission, with notice to the complainant, to dismiss the complaint.”

Section 15. Amend §4508, Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by adding thereto a new subsection as follows:

“(k) The Commission, by regulation, shall adopt procedures for dismissal of complaints based on lack of jurisdiction or failure to state a claim upon which relief is available under this chapter. Notwithstanding the limitation of delegation in §4505 of this chapter, the Commission may authorize such dismissal by a single commissioner prior to appointment of a panel.

Section 16. Amend §4511, Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by inserting a new subsection (d) to read as follows:

“(d) If the Attorney General has not commenced a civil action within 60 days of notice of breach of a Commission order or conciliation agreement as authorized by §4512 of this title, an aggrieved party may commence an action in the Superior Court, or Court of Chancery, or both, seeking enforcement and appropriate relief, including conversion of a Commission order conferring monetary relief to a judgment subject to execution. The Court may also award the aggrieved party reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees in connection with the enforcement action.”

Section 17. Amend § 4508, Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by striking the word “Commission” wherever it appears in subsections (a), (b), (c), and (j) thereof and by substituting in lieu thereof the word “Division”.

Section 18. Amend § 4508, Title 6 of the Delaware Code by deleting the term “§ 4509” as it appears in subsection (f) thereof and by substituting in lieu thereof the term “§ 4510.”

Section 19. Amend § 4509, Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by striking the word “Commission’s” as it appears in the section heading thereof and by substituting in lieu thereof the word “Division’s”.

Section 20. Amend § 4509, Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by striking the word “Commission” wherever it appears therein and by substituting in lieu thereof the word “Division”.

Section 21. Amend § 4602(15), of Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by deleting subparagraph c.1. thereof in its entirety by redesignating subparagraphs c.2. and c.3. thereof as c.1. and c.2. respectively.

Section 22. Amend § 4602, Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by striking paragraph (17) thereof in its entirety and by substituting in lieu thereof the following:

“(17) “Panel” means three or more Commissioners appointed by the Chair to perform any act authorized under this chapter.”.

Section 23. Amend § 4602, Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by redesignating paragraphs (11) through (24) thereof as paragraphs (12) through (25) respectively and by inserting therein a new paragraph (11) as follows:

“(11) “Division” means the Division of Human Relations.”

Section 24. Amend § 4603(b), Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by striking paragraph (6) thereof in its entirety and by redesignating paragraph (7) thereof as new § 4603(c).

Section 25. Amend Chapter 46, Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by inserting therein a new § 4603A as follows:

Ҥ 4603A. Same; additional provisions relating to discrimination against persons with disabilities.

(a) For purposes of this chapter, discrimination on the basis of a individual’s disability includes, but is not limited to:

(1) A refusal to permit, at the expense of the person with a disability, reasonable modifications of existing premises occupied or to be occupied by such person if such modifications may be necessary to afford such person full enjoyment of the premises; except that, in the case of a rental, the landlord may where it is reasonable to do so condition permission for a modification on the renter agreeing to restore the interior of the premises to the condition that existed before the modification, reasonable wear and tear excepted;

(2) A refusal to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford such person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling;

(3) a. A failure to design and construct or alter those 2 categories of multifamily dwellings specified in subparagraph b. of this paragraph in such a manner that:

1. The dwellings have at least 1 building entrance on an accessible route, unless it is impractical to do so because of the terrain or unusual characteristics of the site;

2. With respect to dwellings with a building entrance on an accessible route:

(i) The public use and common use portions of such dwellings are readily accessible to and usable by a person with a disability;

(ii) All the doors designed to allow passage into and within all premises within such dwellings are sufficiently wide to allow passage by a person in a wheelchair; and

(iii) All premises within such dwellings contain the following features of adaptive design:

(A) An accessible route into and through the dwelling;

(B) Light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls in accessible locations;

(C) Reinforcements in bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars; and

(D) Usable kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual in a wheelchair can maneuver about the space and make use of the facilities.

b. This paragraph applies to:

1. Covered multifamily dwellings for first occupancy after September 1, 1992; and

2. Covered multifamily dwellings after 1 year from September 1, 1992, undergoing alterations costing 50 percent or more of the replacement cost of the building unless to do so is structurally impracticable;

(4) To make an inquiry to determine whether an applicant for a dwelling, a person intending to reside in that dwelling after it is so sold, rented or made available, or any person associated with that person, has a disability or to make inquiry as to the nature or severity of a disability of such a person. However, this paragraph does not prohibit the following inquiries, provided these inquiries are made of all applicants, whether or not they have a disability:

a. Inquiry into an applicant’s ability to meet the requirements of ownership or tenancy;

b. Inquiry to determine whether an applicant is qualified for a dwelling available only to persons with a particular type of disability;

c. Inquiry to determine whether an applicant for a dwelling is qualified for a priority available to a person with a disability or to persons with a particular type of disability; or

d. Inquiry to determine whether an applicant for a dwelling is a current illegal user of a controlled substance.

(b) Compliance with the appropriate requirements of the American National Standard for Buildings and Facilities Providing Accessibility and Usability for Physically Handicapped People (commonly cited as “ANSI A117.1”) suffices to satisfy the requirements of subparagraph (a)(3)a.2.(iii) of this paragraph.

(c) (1) If an agency or a political subdivision of the State has incorporated into its laws the requirements set forth in subsection (a)(3) of this section, compliance with such laws shall be deemed to satisfy the requirements of that subsection.

(2) The State or a political subdivision thereof with a building code may review and approve newly constructed covered multifamily dwellings for the purpose of making determinations as to whether the design and construction requirements of subsection (a)(3) of this section are met.

(3) The Division shall encourage, but may not require, any agency or political subdivision of the State to include in their existing procedures for the review and approval of newly constructed covered multifamily dwellings, determinations as to whether the design and construction of such dwellings are consistent with subsection (a)(3) of this section, and may provide technical assistance to the State, political subdivisions thereof and other persons to implement the requirements of subsection (a)(3) of this section.

(4) Nothing in this section shall be construed to require the Division to review or approve the plans, designs or construction of any covered multifamily dwellings, to determine whether the design and construction of such dwellings are consistent with the requirements of subsection (a)(3) of this section.

(d) (1) Nothing in subsection (c) of this section shall be construed to affect the authority and responsibility of the Division to receive and process complaints or otherwise engage in enforcement activities under this chapter.

(2) Determinations by an agency or a political subdivision of the State under subsections (c)(1) and (c)(2) of this section shall not be conclusive in enforcement proceedings under this chapter.

(e) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to invalidate or limit any law of the State or political subdivision thereof, that requires dwellings to be designed and constructed in a manner that affords a person with a disability greater access than is required by this chapter.

(f) Nothing in this section requires that a dwelling be made available to a person with a disability whose tenancy would constitute a direct threat to the health or safety of other individuals or whose tenancy would result in substantial physical damage to the property of others.”

Section 26. Amend §4502(8), §4603(b)(3), and §4603(c), Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by striking the phrases “handicapped person”, “handicapped persons”, and “handicapped individual” as they appear therein and substituting in lieu thereof the phrases “person with a disability”, “persons with a disability”, and “individual with a disability” respectively.

Section 27. Amend § 4602(14), Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by striking the phrase “‘Handicap’ or ‘disability’“ as it appears therein and by substituting in lieu thereof the word “‘Disability’“.

Section 28. Amend §4502(8), §4504§ 4601, § 4603. § 4604, § 4605, § 4607, and § 4619, Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by striking the word “handicap” wherever it appears therein and by substituting in lieu thereof the word “disability”.

Section 29. Amend § 4607, Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by striking subsection (e) thereof in its entirety and by substituting in lieu thereof the following:

“(e) Nothing in § 4603 of this title, except subsection (b)(3) thereof, or in § 4603A of this title, shall apply to rentals of rooms or units in dwellings containing living quarters occupied or intended to be occupied by no more than 4 families living independently of each other, if the owner actually maintains and occupies one of such living quarters as his or her residence.”

Section 30. Amend § 4608, Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by striking subsections (a) and (b) thereof in their entirety and by substituting in lieu thereof the following:

“(a) The State Human Relations Commission shall implement the provisions of this chapter not expressly vested in another entity.

(b) (1) The Commission may delegate to a panel of its members any power, duty, or function vested in it by this chapter. No panel to which any power, duty, or function of the Commission is delegated shall consist of fewer than 3 members of the Commission.

(2) The Commission may delegate, to the Division of Human Relations, any power, duty, or function vested in it by this chapter unless the delegation is expressly prohibited. If the Commission delegates to the Division a power, duty, or function vested in it by this chapter, the delegation shall specifically state the power, duty, or function being delegated. The Commission shall not delegated its power or duty to conduct public hearings or order relief to the Division.”

Section 31. Amend Chapter 46, Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by striking § 4609 thereof in its entirety and by substituting in lieu thereof the following:

Ҥ 4609. Education and conciliation.

(a) The Commission may commence such educational activities as, in its judgment, will further the purposes of this chapter. It may hold conferences for persons in the business industry and other interested parties to acquaint them with the provisions of this chapter and its suggested means of implementing it. The Commission may issue reports on such conferences as it deems appropriate.

(b) The Division may commence such conciliatory activities in order to further the purposes of this chapter. It may call conferences of persons in the business industry and other interested parties to acquaint them with the provisions of this chapter governing conciliation and the means it employs to implement those provisions. It shall endeavor, with their advice, to develop programs of voluntary compliance and enforcement. The Division may issue reports on such conferences as it deems appropriate.

(c) When undertaking their respective duties under this section, the Commission and the Division may consult with state and local officials and other interested parties to learn the extent, if any, to which discriminatory public accommodations practices exist in the State or locality, and whether and how State or local enforcement programs might be utilized to combat such discrimination. The Commission may issue reports on such consultations as it deems appropriate.”

Section 32. Amend § 4610, Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by striking the words “Commission” and “Commission’s” wherever they appear therein and by substituting in lieu thereof the words “Division” and “Division’s”, respectively.

Section 33. Amend § 4612, Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by striking the word “Commission” wherever it appears in subsections (a) and (g) thereof and by substituting in lieu thereof the word “Division”.

Section 34. Amend § 4612(d), Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by deleting paragraph (3) thereof in its entirety.

Section 35. Amend § 4613, Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by striking the word “Commission” wherever it appears therein and by substituting in lieu thereof the word “Division”.

Section 36. Amend § 4614(b), Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by striking the word “Commission” wherever it appears therein and by substituting in lieu thereof the word “Division”.

Section 37. Amend §4603, Title 6 of the Delaware Code, by striking “b(1) – b(6)” in the first line of §4603(a) and replacing in lieu thereof “b(1) – b(5)”.

Section 38. amend §4603, Title 6 of the Delaware Code by Section b(7) by deleting the words “handicapped individual” and replacing in lieu thereof “persons with disabilities”.

Section 39. Amend § 4510 of Title 6 of the Delaware Code by adding a new sentence at the end of paragraph (a) to read as follows:

“Provided, however, that such subpoenas and discovery in aid of investigations are first to be reviewed by the Attorney General to determine whether there is reason to believe that there has been a violation of this Chapter.”

Approved July 6, 2006