A bill that would create a new committee to oversee nonprofit grant requests for state appropriations was unanimously voted out of the House Administration committee Wednesday.
The state spends a substantial amount of money on aiding nonprofits with projects and programs.
Last year’s $69.4 million grant-in-aid package included more than $14 million to paramedic program operations, $6.3 million for neighborhood and community services, $3.4 million for insurance rebate equalization, $8.1 million to fire companies and almost $500,000 to veteran organizations.
Nonprofits also can apply for funding for construction projects under the state’s Bond Bill.
The committee that would be set up by House Bill 40, sponsored by Rep. Ruth Briggs King, R-Georgetown, would not have the power to make policy.
It would review requests for grants-in-aid, including having authority to probe financial information about projects, and then pass the requests to the Joint Finance Committee.
If passed, HB 40l would take effect Aug. 1, 2023.
The new committee would be composed of three members from the House and three members of the Senate, with at least one member from each chamber required to be a Republican.
According to the fiscal note for the bill, the committee would cost $33,057 in the 2024 fiscal year and increase by about 2% each year.
The bill had 10 other sponsors, including eight Republicans and two Democrats.
Grant review needed?
House Minority Leader Mike Ramone, R-Pike Creek, said during the meeting that he wished there was more oversight.
“I love this bill. I think we need to do it. I think we need to have better oversight and more discerning input from a group that would be able to value just how much value the state’s getting from some of these non-profits,” Ramone said.
Melissa Hopkins, the executive vice president of sector advancement at the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofits, said they aren’t sure the committee is necessary or how it improves the current system.
“DANA is taking a neutral approach to this bill,” she said. “Whether or not we create another committee to do this work, I think where this is lacking is that we’re not really understanding how the process improves by adding more people.”
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Rep. Valerie Longhurst, D-Bear, the chair of the committee, suggested an amendment to the bill that the controller general’s office could help the grant-in-aid committee with some guidelines, and other members of the Administration Committee. Briggs King agreed with the suggestion.
The bill will now move to the House floor ready list.
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