Delaware lawmakers urge Congress to back EPA bill

More than three dozen General Assembly legislators have signed on to a letter sent to Delaware’s Congressional Delegation, urging the federal lawmakers to support the “Safe Chemicals Act of 2011.”

They’re asking U.S. Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons and U.S. Rep. John Carney to support legislation from New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg that would require safety testing of all industrial chemicals, and put the burden on industry to prove that chemicals are safe in order to get on or stay on the market.

Under current policy, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can only call for safety testing after evidence surfaces demonstrating a chemical is dangerous. As a result, EPA has been able to require testing for just 200 of the more than 80,000 chemicals currently registered in the United States, and has been able to ban only five dangerous substances.

Senate approves employment authorization bill 

The state Senate has passed a bill requiring state and local governments to verify the employment authorization status for all new hires.

The bill approved on a 16-3 vote Tuesday also requires public employers to contract for services only with contractors and subcontractors who pledge to use the government’s E-Verify system or another federal database to check on the employment authorization status of new workers.

The measure also requires state and local governments to verify the lawful presence in the U.S. of any person 14 years old or older who has applied for public benefits.

The bill now goes to the state House.

Prosthetic parity bill passes House

Legislation that would ensure that amputees in Delaware are able to obtain necessary orthotic and prosthetic devices overwhelmingly passed the House on Tuesday.

House Bill 76, which passed the House 38-0, would ensure prosthetic parity for those who have lost limbs by requiring that individual and group health insurance policies provide orthotic and prosthetic devices at a reimbursement rate equal to the federal reimbursement rate for older and disabled Delawareans.

As of 2008, 11 other states have adopted prosthetic parity laws.

The bill moves to the Senate.

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