Lieutenant Governor, Behavioral Health Consortium Present Governor with “Three-Year Action Plan”
Advisory body developed roadmap to address prevention, treatment and recovery
WILMINGTON, Del. – On Tuesday, Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long, along with members of the Behavioral Health Consortium, presented Governor Carney with their initial report, a “Three-Year Action Plan,” to confront addiction and mental illness across Delaware.
“I am proud to release this initial report to Governor Carney,” said Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “The members of the Behavioral Health Consortium have been meeting for over six months listening to members of the community tell their personal stories and experiences of how the addiction epidemic has affected them and gathering their feedback on how we can improve our behavioral health care system and better serve Delawareans. This report is an initial roadmap for the Governor and members of the General Assembly to address the challenges we face and start saving lives.”
Creation of the Behavioral Health Consortium was a recommendation of Governor Carney’s Action Plan for Delaware. Last August, the Governor signed Senate Bill 111, creating the advisory body of advocates, health officials, law enforcement, state leaders, and members of the community to develop an integrated plan addressing prevention, treatment and recovery for mental health, substance use, and co-occurring disorders. It has been meeting since October to develop both short and long term solutions to address behavioral health and the addiction epidemic in Delaware.
“Too many Delaware families are dealing with the effects of addiction and mental illness,” said Governor Carney. “This action plan gives us a path to follow, to directly confront many of the challenges facing Delaware families, to expand access to prevention and treatment services, and to reduce the stigma around mental illness and substance abuse. I asked Lieutenant Governor Hall-Long to lead this effort because she has the experience and leadership necessary to help us make real change. I look forward to reviewing this plan in more detail, and to talking to members of the General Assembly about a path forward. Thank you to the Lieutenant Governor, and all the advocates across our state for their leadership on this very important issue.”
Based on the data gathered by the Consortium, and from the voices of more than 600 Delawareans that participated in a community forum process, the report is divided into six main areas of action:
Access and Treatment
Changing Perceptions and Stigma
Corrections and Law Enforcement
Data and Policy
Education and Prevention
Family and Community Readiness
Each contains both immediate and longer term recommendations for action to improve the behavioral health care system in Delaware.
“Although the consortium already had a great deal of expertise among its members, the group still solicited a lot of public input that helped inform this first report,” said Representative David Bentz. “It’s also encouraging that this report includes a detailed action plan, which is something we can begin to enact almost immediately. This won’t be a report that sits on a shelf and collects dust – it’s going to get put good use right away, making a difference for residents facing mental health and substance abuse issues.”
“Thousands of families, advocates, medical professionals, and policymakers across the state have stood up and said that we need to meet the addiction crisis head-on,” said Senator Stephanie Hansen. “That’s an incredible resource, and the Behavioral Health Consortium’s focus has been keeping this train moving in the right direction. The Consortium’s final report is the product of months of work that provides a valuable North Star for Delaware as we combat this harrowing epidemic.
For more information on prevention, addiction, treatment and recovery, please visit HelpIsHereDE.com. Individuals who are suffering from addiction can also call DHSS’ 24/7 Crisis Hotline to be connected to treatment options. In New Castle County, call 800-652-2929, or Kent and Sussex Counties, call 800-345-6785.
Click here to view the Behavioral Health Consortium’s Three-Year Action Plan.
Click here to view the livestream from today’s event.
Governor Carney’s Statement on General Assembly’s Final Passage of ‘Aiden’s Law’
DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday issued the following statement on the General Assembly’s final passage of “Aiden’s Law,” which will ensure a coordinated plan of care for infants born addicted or exposed to drugs, and for their families.
“This legislation will help us care for the most vulnerable Delawareans. It will ensure that the State of Delaware has the tools necessary to develop a coordinated plan of care for all substance-exposed infants and their families. We have an obligation to ensure that these families have the treatment and prevention services they need, and to help reduce the number of Delaware children born addicted or exposed to drugs. We are focused on this work, and I want to thank members of the General Assembly for voting to approve this legislation unanimously.”
Reducing the number of children born addicted or exposed to drugs was a recommendation of Governor Carney’s Action Plan for Delaware.
Governor Carney Announces Appointment of Acting Human Resources Secretary
New agency created by House Bill 4; Sandy Johnson previously served as Director of Delaware State Housing Authority
WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Thursday announced his appointment of Sandy Johnson – a former Director of the Delaware State Housing Authority who has significant executive experience – to serve as Acting Secretary of Delaware’s newly-created Department of Human Resources.
Governor Carney intends to nominate Johnson to serve as Secretary of the agency when the Delaware Senate reconvenes and members can consider her nomination.
“I know Sandy well, and believe she has the right mix of experience, leadership skills, and thoughtfulness to help us get this Department off the ground, and make a real difference for state employees,” said Governor Carney. “This new Department will tackle issues important to our employees, and will help us operate more efficiently across state agencies. I’m confident that Sandy is the right person for the job. Thank you to members of the General Assembly for their leadership in helping create this agency to focus attention and resources on state government’s most important asset – our employees.”
Since 2009, Johnson has been the Executive Director of the City of Camden Redevelopment Agency, working as a member of a mayoral executive team with responsibility for housing, commercial and institutional revitalization in Camden, N.J.
From 2000-2009, Johnson served as a member of then-Governor Ruth Ann Minner’s Cabinet as Director of the Delaware State Housing Authority. As Director, Johnson was responsible for more than 100 employees and the operation of mortgage finance programs, public housing in Kent and Sussex counties, the administration of federal housing tax credits, and other housing development programs. She oversaw a more than $10 million operating budget, a $100 million housing trust fund portfolio, and a $2 billion bond portfolio.
Previously she was Executive Director for Interfaith Housing, Delaware’s largest statewide housing redeveloper, and worked as Director of New Castle County’s Department of Community Development and Housing.
“I am deeply grateful to the Governor for this nomination. His confidence in my ability to assist in moving his agenda forward with a strong human resource infrastructure is humbling,” said Johnson. “Our Governor understands the critical role state workers play in good government, and that the time to focus on this is now.”
The new Department of Human Resources was created by House Bill 4, to help confront issues important to state employees and improve the delivery of human resources services. The new agency’s priorities will include promoting diversity and inclusion across state government, and working with the Department of Correction to address the state’s shortage of correctional officers.
Governor Carney Signs Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Plan, Capping General Assembly Session
Session included measures to improve Delaware’s economy, create jobs, reform the Department of Correction, and combat addiction crisis
Highlights of the 2017 legislative session include:
Restructuring Economic Development: House Bill 226 restructures the way Delaware attracts good-paying jobs to Delaware and keeps them here, with a focus on entrepreneurship, innovation and small business development.
Modernizing the Coastal Zone Act: House Bill 190 allows the responsible redevelopment of 14 legacy industrial sites along the Delaware coastline, bolstering Delaware’s economy while paving the way for additional environmental clean-up of those sites.
Raising Correctional Officer Pay: The Fiscal Year 2018 budget includes a pay increase for Correctional Officers across experience levels – including a 22 percent increase to starting officer pay that will help Delaware recruit and retain officers and eliminate a staffing shortage.
Combatting Delaware’s Addiction Crisis: Senate Bill 41, House Bill 91, and House Bill 100 will expand access to substance abuse treatment, and strengthen oversight of opioid prescriptions. Senate Bill 111 and House Bill 220 will form a Behavioral Health Consortium and an Addiction Action Committee to create an integrated plan around the prevention and treatment of substance abuse and mental health challenges.
Creating the Department of Human Resources: House Bill 4 creates a new Department of Human Resources to help confront issues important to state employees. The new agency will promote diversity and inclusion across state government, and help solve a Correctional Officer staffing shortage.
Protecting Delawareans from Cybersecurity Threats: House Bill 180 requires additional protections for Delawareans whose personal information may be compromised in a computer breach, including requiring additional notifications and free credit monitoring services.
DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney on Sunday night signed a $4.1 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2018, a plan that balances a nearly $400 million budget shortfall through a nearly equal mix of spending reductions and new revenue, while maintaining funding for key public services.
Governor Carney signed the budget in his Legislative Hall office flanked by a bipartisan group of lawmakers. He also signed a $590 million capital spending plan and a $37.2 million grant-in-aid bill.
“Since January, I have talked to thousands of Delawareans who understand the need for a balanced, long-term budget plan for our state,” said Governor Carney. “The budget I signed tonight makes critical investments in education, healthcare, our environment, and in our correctional system. But going forward, we cannot be complacent. We must do more to put Delaware on a sustainable path forward. With this budget, we are committing to studying real spending reforms, and to improving the way we deliver state services. We also should continue discussing new, creative ways to fund those services through a long-term revenue plan. Thank you to the General Assembly for their work on this budget, and I look forward to continuing our work together.”
The budget funds a number of key priorities, including:
$24.2 million to fully fund new teachers in Delaware’s classrooms to match enrollment growth.
$16 million to fund pay increases for Correctional Officers.
$7.8 million to fully fund growth in the Medicaid program for low-income Delawareans, Delawareans with disabilities, and seniors in long-term care.
$4.7 million to maintain funding for early childhood education.
$2.3 million to authorize new Correctional Officer positions.
$1 million to add funding for substance abuse treatment programs.
Savings and other reductions include:
$11 million reduction to the Educational Sustainment Fund.
$5 million savings by eliminating 200 vacant positions across state agencies.
$2 million target savings in employee health costs.
$1.6 million reduction by modifying double state share for employee health insurance rates.
Revenue increases include:
$116 million: Corporate franchise tax increases
$11.6 million: Raise taxes on cigarettes 50 cents per pack, and increase taxes on other tobacco products.
$5.2 million: Raise taxes on beer, wine and spirits, including by one penny per beer.
$44.7 million: 1% increase in the realty transfer tax.
$4.5 million: Across-the-board increases to the filing fees associated with Department of Insurance filings.
When Governor Carney signed the budget, he capped a legislative session that included significant action to improve Delaware’s economy, create jobs, reform the Department of Correction, and combat Delaware’s addiction crisis.
“Together with lawmakers of both parties, we have acted to create good-paying jobs, and to make sure our economy works for all Delawareans. We have taken steps to reform our prison system and confront our addiction crisis head on,” said Governor Carney. “We’ve also passed common sense reforms to protect Delawareans from cybersecurity threats, and to close a persistent gender pay gap. Votes taken this session will make a real difference for citizens up and down our great state. Thank you to members of the General Assembly for their hard work and partnership on these important issues.”
BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE FINANCIAL PLAN
Budget Reset Community Conversations: Governor Carney met with thousands of Delawareans from Claymont to Delmar about Delaware’s budget challenges. Hosted by members of the General Assembly, the Governor held ten budget town halls before his budget presentation on March 23, and another ten town halls after presenting his budget plan.
Managing Healthcare Costs: House Joint Resolution 7 authorizes DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker to establish a health care budget benchmark with a growth rate tied to the overall economy of the state. It is the first step in evaluating the total cost of care of health care in the state and a major step in transforming Delaware’s health care system to a more outcome-driven system and away from a system that pays for care based solely on the number of room days, visits, procedures and tests.
DEFAC Panel on Budgeting Practices: House Joint Resolution 8 creates a panel of the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council to study and develop a report on Delaware’s historic budgeting practices, the need for reasonable restrictions on the use of budget surpluses, and the benefits of a budget stabilization fund.
Making Government More Efficient: Governor Carney signed Executive Order #4, creating the Government Efficiency and Accountability Review Board (GEAR) and committing to a long-term effort to study cost savings, efficiencies and ways to improve the delivery of services across state government. Governor Carney maintained a commitment to responsible spending in his budget and throughout the year, calling for an equal mix of spending reductions and new revenue to confront Delaware’s budget challenges.
Escheat Reform: Senate Bill 13 comprehensively rewrites Delaware’s unclaimed property laws. In an effort to align Delaware’s laws with other states, the legislation retooled all aspects of unclaimed property examinations, voluntary disclosure agreements (VDAs), and compliance.
Restructuring Economic Development: House Bill 226 approved Governor Carney’s plan to fundamentally restructure Delaware’s economic development efforts, with a new focus on supporting Delaware’s entrepreneurs and small businesses, and promoting innovation. Governor Carney’s plan includes creation of a public-private partnership, the Delaware Prosperity Partnership, to leverage additional resources to help attract employers to Delaware, keep them here, support innovation and develop Delaware’s workforce. On his first full day in office, Governor Carney signed Executive Order #1 to explore a new economic development strategy. Restructuring the state’s economic development efforts, and partnering strategically with the private sector, was a recommendation of Governor Carney’s Action Plan For Delaware.
Modernizing the Coastal Zone Act: House Bill 190 will allow responsible redevelopment of 14 heavy industrial sites in the Coastal Zone Act. The reform will pave the way for new job creation and additional cleanup of legacy industrial sites along Delaware’s coastline. Governor Carney called for a plan to responsibly modify the Coastal Zone Act during his March address to the General Assembly. Revitalizing abandoned industrial sites was a recommendation of Governor Carney’s Action Plan For Delaware.
Expanding Broadband Access: House Bill 189 will accelerate investments in mobile broadband infrastructure, expanding access to high-speed internet for Delawareans and businesses across the state and encouraging innovation. Expanding broadband access was a recommendation of Governor Carney’s Action Plan For Delaware.
REFORMING THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION
Correctional Officer Pay Increases: The Fiscal Year 2018 budget funds the agreement with the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware (COAD) to raise salaries for Delaware’s Correctional Officers – including a 22 percent increase in starting officer pay – to help recruit and retain officers across Delaware’s correctional system.
Adding Correctional Officer Positions: The Fiscal Year 2018 Budget authorizes and funds 50 additional Correctional Officers at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center and 25 additional officers at Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution.
Investing in Equipment and Training: The Fiscal Year 2018 Budget invests $2 million in new cameras at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, and $1.3 million in new equipment and training that will help Correctional Officers better prevent and respond to violent incidents.
Special Assistant: Governor Carney appointed Claire DeMatteis – a former senior counsel to then-U.S. Senator Joe Biden – as a temporary Special Assistant to the Governor at the Delaware Department of Correction. DeMatteis will focus her efforts on reform of management practices and training, cultural turnaround, and implementation of Governor Carney’s plan following the Independent Review into the causes of the February 1 incident at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.
Improving Re-Entry Programs, Reducing Recidivism: Department of Correction Commissioner Perry Phelps hired Jim Elder – the Director of Clinical Services for Re-entry Programming at the Wilmington HOPE Commission – to lead DOC’s efforts to help offenders successfully re-enter their communities, and reduce Delaware’s rate of recidivism. The selection of Elder will place a new emphasis inside the agency on re-entry programming and efforts to reduce recidivism.
COMBATTING DELAWARE’S ADDICTION CRISIS
Expanding Treatment, Strengthening Regulation: Senate Bill 41, House Bill 91, and House Bill 100, a bipartisan package of legislation, will expand access to substance abuse treatment, strengthen oversight of opioid prescriptions, and combat Delaware’s addiction crisis. Governor Carney signed the legislation during a ceremony that included remarks from Attorney General Matt Denn, members of the General Assembly, and Delaware advocates for improved access to substance abuse treatment – including families who have lost loved ones to Delaware’s opioid epidemic.
Behavioral Health Consortium: Senate Bill 111 and House Bill 220 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 was a recommendation of Governor Carney’s Action Plan For Delaware.
STANDING UP FOR DELAWAREANS
Creating the Department of Human Resources: House Bill 4 creates a new Department of Human Resources to help confront issues important to state employees. The new agency will promote diversity and inclusion across state government, and help solve a Correctional Officer staffing shortage. Creating a new Human Resources agency was a recommendation of Governor Carney’s Action Plan For Delaware.
Confronting the Gender Pay Gap: House Bill 1 will prevent employers from requesting the salary history of job applicants and will help close the pay gap between men and women. The bipartisan legislation – which takes effect in December – also explicitly prohibits employers from screening applicants based on previous compensation history.
Artificial Island: Senate Joint Resolution 2 urges the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to accept either of PJM’s alternative cost allocation methodologies for funding the Artificial Island transmission line project. As currently funded, Delmarva Peninsula ratepayers would fund more than 90 percent of the cost of the project through higher electric bills, while receiving few direct benefits. Under PJM’s alternative methods for cost allocation, Delmarva ratepayers would fund approximately 7-10 percent of the project costs. Governor Carney has consistently worked with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to urge a more fair resolution for Delmarva ratepayers.
Offering Delawareans a Second Chance: Senate Bill 54 allows Delawareans with juvenile records to petition Delaware’s judicial system for expungement, removing barriers to additional education and employment.
Redeveloping Blighted Properties: House Bill 187 and House Bill 188 hold property owners of blighted properties accountable, requiring them to clean up their properties and pay back taxes before bidding on additional properties, and ensuring that taxpayers do not bear costs created by abandonment.
For details on all of the legislation that Governor Carney has signed into law to date, visit the Legislative Advisories page on the Governor’s website.
Governor Carney’s Statement on Economic Development and Coastal Zone Legislation
DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney on Thursday released the following statement on the passage of House Bill 226, which would restructure Delaware’s economic development efforts, and House Bill 190, which would allow for the responsible redevelopment of 14 industrial sites within the Coastal Zone. These two pieces of legislation were key economic priorities for Governor Carney. Restructuring economic development and revitalizing industrial sites also were recommendations of the Action Plan for Delaware.
“The reforms in these two pieces of legislation will help improve economic opportunity for all Delawareans and create good-paying jobs across our state. We will responsibly pave the way for new industries and rethink our economic development strategy to provide more support for entrepreneurs, small businesses and Delaware’s most talented innovators. Bottom line, we are making jobs a priority. Thank you to members of the General Assembly for their leadership on this issue, and for helping make our economy work for all Delawareans.”