Delaware News


Hall-Long Highlights Historic Investments, Action for Delawareans 

Featured Posts | Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long | News | Office of the Lieutenant Governor | Date Posted: Sunday, June 30, 2024


Governor Carney signs the FY 2025 budget bills.
DOVER, Del. — As the 152nd General Assembly comes to a close, Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long on Sunday highlighted historic investments in early education, protections for reproductive justice, and actions that support a safe, healthy, and thriving Delaware. 
 
“As second in command for the past seven years, I’ve had the privilege of serving with Governor Carney and working with the Delaware General Assembly to deliver solutions for Delawareans. We’ve persevered in some of the most challenging times. Delaware reversed a $400 million budget deficit and passed the largest infrastructure investments in state history, created more than 30,000 new jobs since 2017, navigated a global pandemic, and expanded protections for our residents even as progress at every level of government was attacked,” said Lt. Governor Hall-Long. 
 
“While I know there is much more to do to ensure all residents thrive, I want to take a moment to reflect on our state’s accomplishments and thank my legislative colleagues for never backing down from a fight to do what’s right for Delaware. Since 2017, as President of the Senate I’ve been pleased to support a variety of General Assembly initiatives that have supported the quality of life all residents deserve.” 
 
Key General Assembly Initiatives Include: 
  • Addressing gun violence as a public health crisis by strengthening background checks, raising the age to purchase most firearms, and mandating safe storage of guns. Just this year, permit-to-purchase legislation became law to keep our communities safe. 
  • Preserving our natural resources and preparing the First State for green technology and clean energy, including wind power. 
  • Raising the minimum wage and implementing comprehensive paid family leave statewide. 
  • Increasing economic opportunities and second chances through the adult expungement and clean slate laws so all residents can thrive. 
On June 30, Governor Carney signed four robust budget bills for Fiscal Year 2025. The $6.1 billion operating budget includes $132 million for state employee and state retiree health costs, $17 million for continued mental health support in Delaware public schools, $10 million for Purchase of Care childcare financial assistance, and $10 million for Opportunity Funding for multilingual learners and low-income students. Opportunity Funding has reached $63 million since 2017, providing dedicated funding for our m0st vulnerable students in public schools.  
 
Additionally, the $168 million supplemental budget bill consists of one-time expenditures and contingency funds like $56 million to the Other Post Employment Benefits Fund to cover the cost of future retiree healthcare needs.  
 
“It is an honor to chair the Retiree Healthcare Benefits Advisory Subcommittee, where we have heard loud and clear from our state retirees and workers about their concerns regarding their health benefits and the processes to administer those benefits,” said Lt. Governor Hall-Long.  
 
“Our group laid out a clear roadmap to protect and preserve the best healthcare not only for our retirees but for current and future generations of state workers. I’m pleased to say that Delaware has made investments that keep our promises to state retirees – including no Medicare Advantage – and ensure long-term fiscal sustainability for our state.” 
 
The $1.1 billion capital budget covers projects to enhance roadways, school construction, state parks, beach and dredging needs, and more. Governor Carney also signed a $98.4 million grants-in-aid bill. 
 
Historic Investments in Education 
“Education is the foundation for our families and children. I’m proud that this administration has invested in our students and professionals — raising starting teacher salaries to $60,000 during the next four years. Since 2017, we have we have more than doubled investments in both Purchase of Care and Early Childhood Assistance Program to ensure all Delaware families have opportunities for a high-quality education,” continued Lt. Governor Hall-Long, who chaired the Delaware Early Learning Advisory Committee and created the Basic Needs Closet program so students in high-needs schools will have the basic necessities to effectively participate in class.  
 
“The workforce of tomorrow is in our classrooms today. With continued investment in early education, our children will have high-quality learning in the classroom and throughout life. The first 1,825 days of a child’s life is when 90% of the brain is developed, so we have a window of time to make a difference.” 
 
Protecting Reproductive Justice 
Since 2017, Delaware lawmakers have taken necessary actions to codify protections that ensure a woman’s right to choose and have continually worked to ensure access to abortion care and healthcare rights. Recent pieces of legislation expand access and transparency to reproductive care, including a measure to require most private health insurance plans, the state employee health insurance plan, and Delaware’s Medicaid program to cover abortion-related services, starting on January 1, 2025. 
 
“Delaware has led on reproductive justice measures well before the Dobbs decision. When attacks on reproductive care came down across the country, Delaware was one of the few states that could stand strong. Here in the First State, reproductive health services and freedoms continue to be prioritized and protected so that regardless of income, race, or experience no one faces barriers to care. Healthcare is a right – and abortion is healthcare,” said Lt. Governor Hall-Long, a career nurse who has held jobs as a childbirth educator and perinatal grief counselor.  
 
Strengthening Behavioral Health and Wellness 
Leaning on her experience as a public health nurse, Lt. Governor Hall-Long championed several efforts to address the behavioral health crisis that has gripped the state. Working together, the General Assembly and the lieutenant governor have: 
  • Established the Behavioral Health Consortium, an advisory body of advocates, healthcare professionals and other stakeholders that addresses prevention, treatment and recovery for mental health, substance use, and co-occurring disorders, which she chairs. 
  • Led the Pandemic Resurgence Advisory Committee and convened public and private leaders. 
  • Created the first overdose system of care in the country. 
  • Stood up an opioid impact fee structure and ensured insurance parity for mental health services. 
  • Crafted a policy establishing advance mental health directives, a priority of the BHC. 
“Too many Delawareans have an empty seat at their kitchen table. Whether it’s due to COVID, suicide, illness or overdose, we must continue to attack the root causes of these issues and fight for strong policies that will make meaningful improvements in the health and wellness of our residents,” said Lt. Governor Hall-Long. “We’ve faced the first decline in overdose deaths in 10 years, but it is far from a celebration. With statistics showing a 147% increase in opioid use disorder for Black residents, we must continue to throw the kitchen sink at this issue and fight for equitable access to treatment, care, and healing free from stigma.” 
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Hall-Long Highlights Historic Investments, Action for Delawareans 

Featured Posts | Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long | News | Office of the Lieutenant Governor | Date Posted: Sunday, June 30, 2024


Governor Carney signs the FY 2025 budget bills.
DOVER, Del. — As the 152nd General Assembly comes to a close, Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long on Sunday highlighted historic investments in early education, protections for reproductive justice, and actions that support a safe, healthy, and thriving Delaware. 
 
“As second in command for the past seven years, I’ve had the privilege of serving with Governor Carney and working with the Delaware General Assembly to deliver solutions for Delawareans. We’ve persevered in some of the most challenging times. Delaware reversed a $400 million budget deficit and passed the largest infrastructure investments in state history, created more than 30,000 new jobs since 2017, navigated a global pandemic, and expanded protections for our residents even as progress at every level of government was attacked,” said Lt. Governor Hall-Long. 
 
“While I know there is much more to do to ensure all residents thrive, I want to take a moment to reflect on our state’s accomplishments and thank my legislative colleagues for never backing down from a fight to do what’s right for Delaware. Since 2017, as President of the Senate I’ve been pleased to support a variety of General Assembly initiatives that have supported the quality of life all residents deserve.” 
 
Key General Assembly Initiatives Include: 
  • Addressing gun violence as a public health crisis by strengthening background checks, raising the age to purchase most firearms, and mandating safe storage of guns. Just this year, permit-to-purchase legislation became law to keep our communities safe. 
  • Preserving our natural resources and preparing the First State for green technology and clean energy, including wind power. 
  • Raising the minimum wage and implementing comprehensive paid family leave statewide. 
  • Increasing economic opportunities and second chances through the adult expungement and clean slate laws so all residents can thrive. 
On June 30, Governor Carney signed four robust budget bills for Fiscal Year 2025. The $6.1 billion operating budget includes $132 million for state employee and state retiree health costs, $17 million for continued mental health support in Delaware public schools, $10 million for Purchase of Care childcare financial assistance, and $10 million for Opportunity Funding for multilingual learners and low-income students. Opportunity Funding has reached $63 million since 2017, providing dedicated funding for our m0st vulnerable students in public schools.  
 
Additionally, the $168 million supplemental budget bill consists of one-time expenditures and contingency funds like $56 million to the Other Post Employment Benefits Fund to cover the cost of future retiree healthcare needs.  
 
“It is an honor to chair the Retiree Healthcare Benefits Advisory Subcommittee, where we have heard loud and clear from our state retirees and workers about their concerns regarding their health benefits and the processes to administer those benefits,” said Lt. Governor Hall-Long.  
 
“Our group laid out a clear roadmap to protect and preserve the best healthcare not only for our retirees but for current and future generations of state workers. I’m pleased to say that Delaware has made investments that keep our promises to state retirees – including no Medicare Advantage – and ensure long-term fiscal sustainability for our state.” 
 
The $1.1 billion capital budget covers projects to enhance roadways, school construction, state parks, beach and dredging needs, and more. Governor Carney also signed a $98.4 million grants-in-aid bill. 
 
Historic Investments in Education 
“Education is the foundation for our families and children. I’m proud that this administration has invested in our students and professionals — raising starting teacher salaries to $60,000 during the next four years. Since 2017, we have we have more than doubled investments in both Purchase of Care and Early Childhood Assistance Program to ensure all Delaware families have opportunities for a high-quality education,” continued Lt. Governor Hall-Long, who chaired the Delaware Early Learning Advisory Committee and created the Basic Needs Closet program so students in high-needs schools will have the basic necessities to effectively participate in class.  
 
“The workforce of tomorrow is in our classrooms today. With continued investment in early education, our children will have high-quality learning in the classroom and throughout life. The first 1,825 days of a child’s life is when 90% of the brain is developed, so we have a window of time to make a difference.” 
 
Protecting Reproductive Justice 
Since 2017, Delaware lawmakers have taken necessary actions to codify protections that ensure a woman’s right to choose and have continually worked to ensure access to abortion care and healthcare rights. Recent pieces of legislation expand access and transparency to reproductive care, including a measure to require most private health insurance plans, the state employee health insurance plan, and Delaware’s Medicaid program to cover abortion-related services, starting on January 1, 2025. 
 
“Delaware has led on reproductive justice measures well before the Dobbs decision. When attacks on reproductive care came down across the country, Delaware was one of the few states that could stand strong. Here in the First State, reproductive health services and freedoms continue to be prioritized and protected so that regardless of income, race, or experience no one faces barriers to care. Healthcare is a right – and abortion is healthcare,” said Lt. Governor Hall-Long, a career nurse who has held jobs as a childbirth educator and perinatal grief counselor.  
 
Strengthening Behavioral Health and Wellness 
Leaning on her experience as a public health nurse, Lt. Governor Hall-Long championed several efforts to address the behavioral health crisis that has gripped the state. Working together, the General Assembly and the lieutenant governor have: 
  • Established the Behavioral Health Consortium, an advisory body of advocates, healthcare professionals and other stakeholders that addresses prevention, treatment and recovery for mental health, substance use, and co-occurring disorders, which she chairs. 
  • Led the Pandemic Resurgence Advisory Committee and convened public and private leaders. 
  • Created the first overdose system of care in the country. 
  • Stood up an opioid impact fee structure and ensured insurance parity for mental health services. 
  • Crafted a policy establishing advance mental health directives, a priority of the BHC. 
“Too many Delawareans have an empty seat at their kitchen table. Whether it’s due to COVID, suicide, illness or overdose, we must continue to attack the root causes of these issues and fight for strong policies that will make meaningful improvements in the health and wellness of our residents,” said Lt. Governor Hall-Long. “We’ve faced the first decline in overdose deaths in 10 years, but it is far from a celebration. With statistics showing a 147% increase in opioid use disorder for Black residents, we must continue to throw the kitchen sink at this issue and fight for equitable access to treatment, care, and healing free from stigma.” 
image_printPrint


Graphic that represents delaware news on a mobile phone

Keep up to date by receiving a daily digest email, around noon, of current news release posts from state agencies on news.delaware.gov.

Here you can subscribe to future news updates.