Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long Presents Delaware’s Plan as a National Model to Fight Addiction at National Conference in Nashville

– Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long joined other Lieutenant Governor’s from around the country at the National Lieutenant Governor’s Association Conference in Nashville to present Delaware’s plan to fight the addiction epidemic, which has become one of the largest public health crises’ in our Delaware’s history.

“State’s across the country are dealing with many of the same issues as Delaware, and I think it is important that we illustrate what has worked in Delaware and what hasn’t” said Lt. Governor Hall-Long. It is also important that we highlight what Governor Carney and I plan to do in the short-term and the long-term to save lives, and expand access to treatment.”

Hall-Long’s presentation comes on the heels of the newly passed Behavioral Health Consortium and Addiction Action Committee legislation led by Lt. Governor Hall-Long, Senator Bryan Townsend, and Representative David Bentz. The legislation will be signed into law by Governor Carney on August 16th.

The consortium, chaired by Lt. Governor Hall-Long, will be comprised of community advocates, law enforcement, state leaders, and healthcare professionals from across Delaware to develop an integrated plan and blueprint for action for the prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental health, substance use and co-occurring disorders in Delaware. The creation of the consortium and coordinated plan is a recommendation of Governor Carney’s Action Plan For Delaware.

“16 years ago, we formed the Delaware Cancer Consortium, which has significantly reduced the cancer rates and deaths since that time and become a model for other states.” Said Lt. Governor Hall-Long. “With the formation of the Behavioral Health Consortium, I believe we can do the same to reduce overdose deaths, and expand access to treatment for those with mental illness.” I believe Delaware can once again be a national model for other states to follow.”

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Governor Carney Hosts Ramadan Iftar Dinner at Woodburn

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney hosted 30 guests Wednesday evening at a Ramadan Iftar dinner at Woodburn, including members of Delaware’s Muslim community and statewide elected officials.

The Iftar is the evening meal after sunset that concludes the daily fasting during the month of Ramadan, which ends the evening of June 24 this year. For observers, the Iftar dinner and Ramadan are a time to reflect on humanity and to reaffirm commitments to helping the less fortunate.

Governor Carney speaks to attendees at the Iftar dinner.
Governor Carney speaks to attendees at the Iftar dinner.

“In addition to the spiritual grounding of fasting, I have been impressed by Ramadan’s additional purpose of enhancing our compassion toward one another and heightening our awareness of those among us who are most in need – a powerful recommitment to caring for the poor and vulnerable,” said Governor Carney. “I am proud and pleased to stand as a friend to the Muslim community of Delaware, which has strengthened our state in innumerable ways and given so much to others.”

Wednesday’s event was the third Iftar dinner hosted by a governor of Delaware, renewing the tradition begun by Governor Jack Markell in 2015. In attendance were representatives from five Delaware mosques, as well as U.S. Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester, Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long, Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock and Delaware State Housing Authority Director Anas Ben Addi.

Governor Carney recently named Irfan Patel, chair of interfaith relations of the Islamic Society of Delaware, to the Governor’s Council of Faith-Based Partnerships. The Council works to create partnerships between faith-based organizations and state government.

“We appreciate Governor Carney’s commitment to friendship by hosting this Iftar dinner and joining us during Ramadan,” said Patel. “This support for Delaware Muslims is a welcome symbol of our elected officials’ dedication to diversity and equality in our state.”

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Photos from the Iftar dinner are available here.


Governor Carney Signs Legislation to Address Gender Pay Gap

Delaware will become first state to prohibit employers from requesting salary history

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney on Wednesday signed a new law that will prevent employers from requesting the salary history of job applicants and will help close the pay gap between men and women.

Sponsored by House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, the bipartisan legislation – which takes effect in December – also explicitly prohibits employers from screening applicants based on previous compensation history.

Delaware will become the first state to enact such changes into law. Massachusetts passed a similar measure last year that will take effect in January.

“All Delawareans should expect to be compensated equally for performing the same work,” said Governor Carney. “This new law will help guarantee that across our state, and address a persistent wage gap between men and women. Thank you to Representative Longhurst and members of the General Assembly of both parties for your leadership on this issue.”

Governor Carney signs HS 1 to HB 1.
Governor Carney signs HS 1 to HB 1.

“Pay inequity should not exist in the first place,” said Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “Unfortunately, women often have to work harder for our success and to be paid the same as our male counterparts. We still only make 78 cents for every dollar a man makes. This legislation will provide a crucial step toward equalizing wages and eliminating this gap. We owe it to the hardworking women and mothers out there today, and our young girls who will make up our future workforce, to create a level playing field for all of them.”

 

“Closing the wage gap is a major economic issue for our state and we should do everything in our power as legislators to work to even the playing field and empower the next generation of young women,” said Representative Longhurst. “Delaware is making history today, as we will be the first state to have a wage history law in effect. This new law will protect all prospective employees from having their previous jobs’ salary potentially used against them when seeking work. People should be judged and paid based on their qualifications and not have their previous salaries count against them.”

“It’s one thing to say that we need to do better for women; it’s another thing to take action,” said Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry. “HS 1 for HB 1 takes real steps to protect women in the workforce where it often matters most: the hiring table. Without wage secrecy protections, employers are free—and, in fact, have an incentive—to perpetuate substantial, long-term wage discrimination against women. We still have a long way to go, but this will make a real difference not only for women in the workforce, but for the 40 percent of households that rely on a woman as their primary wage-earner.”

“I am proud to be a sponsor of this legislation. All issues as they relate to wages and salary schedules should be gender-neutral,” said House Minority Whip Deborah Hudson. “A person’s gender should not be a factor in what we pay an individual for a particular job. This bill ensures we make that happen.”

“I believe one of my jobs in the Senate is to help create a level playing field for all people,” said Senator Cathy Cloutier. “This legislation is one step closer to true job equality for everyone.”

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Lt. Governor Hall-Long Announces Legislation to Improve Behavioral Health Services in Delaware

Legislation will lead to the creation of a statewide integrated plan to address addiction and mental illness in Delaware

DOVER, Del. – On Thursday, Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long announced the creation of the Behavioral Health Consortium in an effort to streamline and foster a coordinated behavioral health system within our state. The consortium, chaired by Lt. Governor Hall-Long, will be comprised of community advocates, law enforcement, state leaders, and healthcare professionals from across Delaware to develop a short-term and long-term unified strategy to deal with one of the largest public health crises’ in Delaware history.

“An average of 20 Delawareans die from overdoses each month.”, said Lt. Governor Hall-Long. “The addiction crisis we face ignores income, race, and geography. Fighting it is a team effort that requires us to stay ahead of the curve, and develop a streamlined approach. I thank Governor Carney for asking me to lead Delaware’s efforts to combat this deadly epidemic and focus on improved delivery and coordination of mental health services for all Delawareans statewide.”

These two pieces of legislation, SB 111 and HB 220, sponsored by Senator Bryan Townsend and Representative David Bentz, will further combat Delaware’s addiction epidemic and improve services for those suffering from mental illness. The legislation will lead to the creation of a Behavioral Health Consortium and an Addiction Action Committee that will form an integrated plan and blueprint for action for the prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental health, substance use and co-occurring disorders in Delaware. The creation of the consortium and coordinated plan is a recommendation of Governor Carney’s Action Plan For Delaware.

“Far too many Delawareans, and Delaware families, have been affected by this crisis,” said Governor John Carney. “This consortium will create a short-term and long-term strategy so that we can better prevent and treat individuals suffering from addiction. Lt. Governor Hall-Long has the experience as a nurse and as an advocate for mental health and substance abuse issues, and I know she will be a committed leader in our efforts to combat Delaware’s addiction epidemic.”

This legislation is an effort to develop a streamlined strategy aimed at reducing overdose fatalities, lessening opioid dependence, expanding treatment options, and increasing prevention and awareness for those struggling with addiction and mental illness in Delaware.

“We know that emotional wellness affects physical health, learning and child development.”, said Josette Manning, Secretary of the Department for Children, Youth, and their Families.  “We also know that when children are born substance exposed or grow up in the shadows of addiction, the impacts are often severe and lifelong. If we want to improve outcomes for our families, it is crucial that we take a coordinated approach to addiction, behavioral health and prevention services.  The Children’s Department is pleased to participate in this public-private partnership to increase awareness, improve access, and enhance the quality of services for children and families.”

The creation of the Addiction Action Committee will develop and monitor a coordinated and comprehensive approach to Delaware’s addiction epidemic. The committee is the next step for the Prescription Drug Action Committee which has been partnership since 2012 between the Division of Public Health, Medical Society of Delaware, and numerous other public and private agencies.  The group has worked to increase physician and community education on opioids and permanent drug take-back locations, supported the efforts of the Division of Professional Regulation to tighten prescribing rules, and played an advisory role in the creation of the Help is Here website and campaign.

Last year, 308 people died of overdoses, up 35 percent from the 228 total deaths in 2015.

“We need an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach to fighting the addiction epidemic and, at DHSS, we see how often mental health issues and substance abuse disorders occur together,” said Department of Health and Social Services Cabinet Secretary Dr. Kara Walker.  “We must examine our response to the epidemic, use the new tools created by this legislation, and increase coordination across the system so we better connect people to the treatment they need when they are ready.  DHSS is pleased to be part of this effort and looks forward to working with the Lt. Governor.”

“There’s virtually no one in Delaware who hasn’t been affected by substance abuse or, more broadly, by mental and behavioral health issues,” said Senate Health, Children and Social Services Committee Chair Sen. Bryan Townsend, D-Newark. “Countless state agencies, nonprofits, advocates, businesses, survivors, and families have stepped up to raise awareness of behavioral health issues, reduce stigma, close gaps in care, change policy, and save lives. This package would not only add their efforts together, but multiply them by breaking down silos, coordinating their work, and pooling all of their unique backgrounds, resources, and perspectives around a common—and urgent—goal.”

“In 2001, Delaware committed to addressing its cancer rates—then some of the worst in the nation—through the formation of the Delaware Cancer Consortium, among several other efforts,” said President Pro Tempore Sen. David McBride, D-Hawk’s Nest. “The Consortium’s work has paid enormous dividends—I can attest to that firsthand. Today there’s a new health crisis, and it’s incumbent on Delaware to pull out every stop now, as we did then, to reverse the tide of the addiction epidemic. I’m proud to lend my support to that effort.”

“Delaware has taken some important strides forward regarding the addiction epidemic that has hit communities up and down our state, but we must do more,” said Representative David Bentz, who chairs the House Health Committee and is sponsoring the bill. “By bringing together government leaders, healthcare professionals and members of the drug treatment and pharmaceutical communities, we will be able to effectively identify ways to combat the addiction crisis. I look forward to advancing this legislation in the coming days.”

 

 

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Lt. Governor Hall-Long Releases Statement on Fallen Delaware State Trooper

Wilmington, Del.- Lt. Governor Hall-Long issued the following statement regarding the Fallen Delaware State Trooper:

“My deepest sympathies and condolences go out to the family of the Delaware State Police Trooper who lost his life in the line of duty. Across our state, law enforcement officers, and first responders bravely risk their lives every day to keep our families and our communities safe. Today’s shooting is a tragic reminder of the dangers they face in doing so. My thoughts and prayers are with the Trooper’s friends, family, and colleagues in this time of grief and sadness.”

 

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