Governor Signs Bill Enhancing Delaware’s Definition of Cruelty to Animals

Law Limits Hours Most Dogs Can Be Tethered

 STANTON, DE – At the Delaware SPCA in Stanton, surrounded by representatives of Delaware’s animal shelter communities, Governor Markell signed into law a Senate Bill 211 which enhances Delaware’s definition of cruelty to animals by amending the definition of cruelty to animals to include tethering a dog for 18 or more hours in any 24-hour period.  The law also bans tethering very young dogs and certain nursing mother dogs, regardless of how long they are tethered.

 “It’s not okay to leave dogs, which by their nature are both social and territorial animals, alone for extended periods of time,” Governor Markell said. “Most pet owners don’t deliberately keep dogs tied up for long hours, but unfortunately, there are situations where this occurs and we want to prevent cruelty to animals.”

 The law affects dog owners who live on lots of less than 10 acres, who are now banned from keeping dogs tied up longer than 18 hours at a time.  Violators face possible prosecution on animal cruelty charges.  In extreme cases, the law would empower animal control officers to take a dog from their owners but animal shelter representatives and others hope such actions would be rare.

 This is the latest in a series of bills aimed at improving animal welfare in Delaware and was supported by groups, including the Delaware and Kent County SPCAs, the Humane Society of the United States’ Delaware Chapter and the Delaware Humane Association.

 Senate Majority Leader Patricia Blevins, D-Elsmere, who has been a leader in taking action to protect the state’s pet population, sponsored the new law. She said the damage done to dogs that spend their lives tied up can be shocking.

 “Dogs need social interaction and companionship to develop properly and depriving them of it can really do them harm,” Blevins said. “Dogs that are constantly tethered have been become aggressive in defense of their territory and bite people. It’s a situation that we should not tolerate and I’m pleased that my colleagues and the governor agree with me.”

 “We’re very happy that Delaware now prohibits 24 hour tethering of dogs,” said Anne Cavanaugh, Executive Director, Delaware SPCA.  “This is an important addition to our anti-cruelty efforts; we do not believe that dogs should spend their lives on the end of a chain. Thank you to all the Delawareans that supported this bill and to the legislators who voted for its passage.”


Governor’s Weekly Message – Veterans Opportunity Tax Credit – Hiring Veterans Makes Business Sense


WILMINGTON – The Governor delivers his weekly message from JPMorgan Chase in Wilmington, where this week he signed HB275, creating a new effort to help put recent combat veterans to work when they return from service.

The “Veterans’ Opportunity Tax Credit” gives companies a $1,500 annual tax credit for each recent veteran they hire.  The January 2012 national unemployment rate among recently returning veterans was 9.1 percent, still well above the national average of 8.3 percent.  In Delaware, the veterans’ unemployment rate for the 12 months ending June 2012 was 8.3 percent, compared with 6.7 percent for non-veterans.

“The statistics, unfortunately, are frightening. Veterans have had a hard time finding work when they come back from Iraq and Afghanistan.  That’s where this bill comes in.  With this bill, businesses will actually get a tax credit by putting veterans back to work in this country,” said Governor Markell.   “But, the bill can only go so far.  What we really need is a partnership with businesses throughout our state and throughout our country who recognize not only the service that our veterans have provided but also the unique skills they’ve developed through their training and through their work.  By working together, with our businesses and our veterans, together and collectively, we can make sure that we keep Delaware moving forward.”

At noon every Friday, the Governor’s office releases a new Weekly Message in video, audio, and transcript form.  The message is available on:

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Transcript of the Governor’s Weekly Message: Veterans Opportunity Tax Credit  – Hiring Veterans Makes Business Sense


Governor’s Weekly Message Transcript – Veterans Opportunity Tax Credit – Hiring Veterans Makes Business Sense


This week I’m at JPMorgan Chase signing a bill to help Delaware businesses put more veterans back to work.

Last year I had the opportunity to go to Afghanistan to visit members of the Delaware National Guard serving our country and over the years I’ve had the chance to meet thousands of Delawareans serving in a variety of all the armed forces serving our country and fighting for us.

When they come home we have a responsibility to do everything we can to put them back to work and that’s why I’m so grateful to the people from JPMorgan Chase and so many Delaware employers who are working hard to give our veterans a real shot.

The statistics, unfortunately, are frightening. Veterans have had a hard time finding work when they come back from Iraq and Afghanistan.

That’s where this bill comes in. With this bill, businesses will actually get a tax credit by putting veterans back to work in this country. The bill can only go so far.

What we really need is a partnership with businesses throughout our state and throughout our country who recognize not only the service that our veterans have provided but also the unique skills they’ve developed through their training and through their work. By working together, with our businesses and our veterans, together and collectively, we can make sure that we keep Delaware moving forward.


Week 5 Results for Checkpoint Strikeforce

Dover – Seventeen (17) people were arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol and/or drugs during the fifth weekend of the 2012 Checkpoint Strikeforce DUI prevention campaign.  This brings the total DUI arrests made as part of the campaign to 59.  Statewide, there have been over 2,800 DUI arrests made in Delaware this year.

In addition to the checkpoint DUI arrests last weekend, officers issued 3 citations for underage drinking, issued 1 cell phone citations, apprehended 9 wanted individuals, made 3 drug arrests, issued 7 seat belt citations, and issued 73 citations for various other traffic violations.

Three checkpoints are scheduled to take place the weekend of August 3rd.   They are scheduled for:

Friday August 3rd –  Wilmington – (DSP)- checkpoint

Rehoboth Beach- (multi-jurisdictional effort)- checkpoint

Saturday August 4th –  Seaford- (multi-jurisdictional effort)- checkpoint

Checkpoint Strikeforce is a regional sobriety checkpoint campaign aimed at arresting DUI offenders, by using high visibility enforcement to deter those who would otherwise choose to drink and drive.  The campaign, a six month long effort running through New Year’s Eve, involves setting up weekly DUI checkpoints statewide.

For more information on Checkpoint Strikeforce visit www.ohs.delaware.gov, www.DUIRealTime.com and follow regular campaign updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DEHighwaySafe and Facebook www.facebook.com/ArriveAliveDE.

 


Governor Signs Bill to Put Veterans to Work

Veterans’ Opportunity Tax Credit Helps Businesses Hire Recent Combat Veterans

WILMINGTON – Standing with veterans, members of the Delaware National Guard and legislative leaders, Governor Jack Markell signed legislation creating a new effort to help put recent combat veterans to work when they return from service. The “Veterans’ Opportunity Tax Credit” will give companies a $1,500 annual tax credit for each recent veteran they hire.

Veterans Tax

“Putting Delawareans, including our veterans, back to work is critical,” Governor Markell said. “Our Veterans’ Opportunity Tax Credit supports veterans in finding a job when they return home.  It’s the right thing to do for them, for our country and for business. ”

Traditionally, veterans have an unemployment rate that’s below the national average, but that has not held true for veterans who have served since 2001. In fact, their unemployment rate nationally has actually been higher– averaging more than 12 percent in 2011. As recently as January 2011, the unemployment rate for recently returning veterans was a disturbing 15.2 percent. The January 2012 national unemployment rate among recently returning veterans was 9.1 percent, still well above the national average of 8.3 percent.

Rep. Earl Jaques, the lead sponsor of the bill, chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee and himself a 36-year veteran of the Delaware National Guard, said that encouraging businesses to help returning veterans will have a positive effect on both the companies and the veterans.

“One in six homeless people are veterans, and with all of our military members returning home, we don’t want those numbers to swell,” said Rep. Jaques, D-Glasgow. “Today’s veteran is not from your father’s military. They are technologically savvy and have operated in some of the worst conditions imaginable, so companies who hire them will get an outstanding employee. I appreciate Governor Markell support through the signing of this bill into law.”

The Veterans Opportunity Tax credit will allow any business can take a tax credit of 10 percent of the gross wages paid to qualified veterans, with a cap of $1,500. The cap will continue for three tax years, so the total benefit to the employer could be $4,500 per veteran hired. The credit can be taken by any private sector business, and can be credited against personal income taxes, corporate income taxes, bank franchise taxes and insurance premium taxes. Because the tax credit is refundable, businesses without tax liabilities can use the tax credits immediately.

“We know veterans have a lot of skills that employers value – they are disciplined, willing to work and take responsibility,” said Sen. George H. Bunting Jr., D-Bethany Beach, who is a decorated Marine veteran of the Vietnam War and the lead Senate sponsor. “This incentive might give an employer the nudge they need to help our returning veterans land on their feet with a good job and I am grateful for the Governor’s support.”

Because the Veterans’ Opportunity Tax Credit is more significant than some other job creation programs launched during the Markell administration, businesses would not be able to double-count a qualifying veteran as a new hire under the New Economy Jobs Program tax credit, or tax credits for qualified investment in business facilities and targeted areas.

“This is an example of how support continues from our local legislators for our military,” said Maj. Gen. Francis D. Vavala, adjutant general of the Delaware National Guard. “The economy is still a challenge and it’s this type of action that is beneficial to our military and especially small businesses. We are appreciative and applaud the initiative.”

JPMorgan Chase, the site of Tuesday’s bill signing, is one company that has taken the lead in putting Delawareans back to work. Earlier this year, the company announced plans to expand its operations in Delaware and add up to 1,200 new jobs in the state. In addition, they are committed to helping our returning veterans find employment. Early in 2011, JPMorgan Chase established its Office of Military and Veterans Affairs charged with developing a firm-wide, comprehensive strategy focused on jobs, military and veteran homeownership, and education. The company has committed resources across the company to address the issues facing service members, veterans and their families.

Veterans Opportunity

“We applaud the governor’s leadership in providing incentives for Delaware businesses to hire veterans,” said Keith Schuck, an Army veteran and president of Chase Bank, NA. “I am proud of JPMorgan Chase’s efforts, which are not simply about hiring veterans but providing them with the skills and training they need to turn that job into a meaningful career. Since 2011, we have hired nearly 100 veterans in Delaware, thousands more around the country and are committed to hiring more veterans through the 100,000 Jobs Mission.”

The credit focused on helping combat veterans, would be available only for hiring a veteran who has served recently in a hostile theatre, as evidenced by receipt of an Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, or Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal (which covers the Middle East, portions of Africa, and many other countries).  Those medals are available to service members who served 30 continuous days (or 60 days if non-continuous) in the relevant theatre. The time requirement is waived for service members who took part in combat or were wounded in the line of duty while in theatre.