DelawareHouse Speaker Pete Schwartzkopffiled legislation Tuesday to protect Delaware federal workers from losing insurance or being evicted from their homes due to lost wages.
The Delaware Federal Employees Civil Relief Act would permit the temporary suspension of judicial and administrative proceedings and transactions in Delaware that could adversely affect the civil rights of federal workers residing in Delaware during a shutdown. The shutdown was triggered by demands for border wall funding.
“Regardless of your position on this shutdown, one thing is universal: Federal government employees should not suffer as a result of this impasse. These are our neighbors and our friends, many of whom still get up in the morning to head to the office, knowing they won’t be receiving a paycheck for that day’s work,” said Rep. Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach.
“Delaware needs to stand up for the hundreds of workers and their families who still have bills coming in with less and less money to pay them. No Delawarean should lose their home or insurance due to this federal debacle, which is why we’re taking action to protect our residents.”
House Bill 2 would allow a federal worker or employee of a federal contractor who is furloughed or required to work without pay during a shutdown to apply to a court or administrative agency for a temporary stay, postponement or suspension of any payment of rent, mortgage, tax, fine, penalty, insurance premium, or other civil obligation or liability.
The stay could last for the duration of the shutdown and up to 30-90 days after it ends.
The bill has the support of Gov. John Carney.
Also under HB 2, landlords would not be permitted to evict federal workers for nonpayment of rent. The bill also would prohibit the lapse or termination of various insurance policies for health, life, disability or motor vehicles during the covered period.
An estimated 500 federal workers living in Delaware have been affected by the federal government shutdown. This does not include employees of federal contractors.