Governor Carney Signs Body Camera Legislation

House Bill 195 requires law enforcement to wear and use body cameras

NEWARK, Del. –  Alongside members of law enforcement, advocates and members of the General Assembly on Wednesday, Governor John Carney signed legislation requiring police officers and certain employees of the Department of Correction and the Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families to wear and use a body camera. Body cameras will be used to record interactions with members of the public in accordance with the regulations that will be established by the Council on Police Training. Governor Carney supported this proposal in his 2021 State of the State Address.

 

“Here in Delaware, we look out for each other because we care for our neighbors,” said Governor Carney. “We can do great things if we work together, and this legislation shows that we are moving forward productively. Thank you to the members of the General Assembly and the Delaware Black Caucus, Attorney General Jennings, advocates and law enforcement for your leadership on this important piece of legislation.”

This Act requires state agencies to implement the statewide body camera program through the procurement of cameras, development of a central data storage program, and provision of necessary personnel. Governor Carney’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget includes $3.6 million for the development and deployment of body cameras.  

“Body-worn cameras have the ability to be a game-changer in police-community relations. They greatly improve transparency and accountability, while providing increased protection for both the police and the community,” said Representative Sherry Dorsey Walker. “There is a reason that law enforcement, community members, and lawmakers all have advocated for universal body camera usage throughout our state, and we are seeing the result of that collaborative effort here today. This is a part of the Delaware Legislative Black Caucus’ Justice for All Agenda, and I’m very grateful to see it come to fruition.”

“The Delaware Legislative Black Caucus made a commitment last summer to advance legislation that improves transparency and accountability in policing,” said Senator Darius Brown. “This legislation helps to do both, and I thank Governor Carney for signing this bill into law today.”

“This is a good day for accountability,” said Attorney General Jennings. “Everyone in this state — advocates, police, prosecutors, and the public — agrees that body cameras are good for transparency, good for trust, and good for justice. We worked hard for more than a year to design this program and I am eternally grateful to the advocates who called for change, to the legislators who took up the cause, to the Governor who ensured the initiative was funded, and to the police leaders who worked to get this legislation across the finish line.”

“While there is still work to be done, the signage of this legislation is the next step in our States continuing efforts to promote accountability, transparency, and legitimacy,” said Secretary McQueen of the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security. “It will also enable Delaware Law Enforcement to continue to build trust and foster positive relationships within our communities.  

“The FOP is appreciative for the opportunity to be a part the discussions surrounding this legislation,” said Lt. Jamie Leonard, President of the Delaware State F.O.P. Lodge. “We wholeheartedly agree that body cameras will help increase transparency and accountability for our police officers and the public we serve. We would like to thank the Sponsors of this legislation, and all the members of the General Assembly, for ensuring this bill’s passage. The FOP recognizes the financial burden this legislation could have placed upon many towns and municipalities therefore, we are thankful to Governor Carney for making the funding of this initiative a priority. We look forward to working with all the stakeholders as we join efforts to create a model policy which benefits all Delawareans, citizens and police officers alike.”   

“The Delaware Racial Justice Collaborative is proud to work alongside so many individuals and organizations in the fight for racial justice,” said the Delaware Racial Justice Collaborative. “Today, we celebrate a great win and make Delaware a trailblazer in the nation by holding both police and citizens accountable through body worn cameras.” 

Photos from today’s bill signing can be found here.  

Re-watch the bill signing ceremony here

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Governor Carney Signs Black History Education Legislation

House Bill 198 ensures Black history education will be taught in K-12 schools

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Thursday signed House Bill 198, legislation that requires each school district and charter school serving K-12 students to provide instruction on Black history as part of all educational programming beginning in the 2022-23 academic year. 

Watch video and view photos from signing ceremony.

The legislation was sponsored by Representative Sherry Dorsey Walker and Senator Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman.

“The only way we can secure our future is to understand and reconcile our past. We have a deep and proud history, but many of us don’t know the full story,” said Governor Carney. “This bill is about helping all of us understand that full story – the good and the bad – so that we can secure a better future. Thank you to Representative Dorsey Walker and Senator Lockman for their leadership in passing this legislation.” 

Under House Bill 198, schools will rely heavily on primary sourcing in teaching Black history, including the significance of enslavement in the development of American economy and the contributions of Black people to American life, history, literature, the economy, politics and culture.

The bill requires instruction to recognize the impact of racial and historical trauma, while engaging students about the roles and responsibilities of all citizens to combat racism.  

“Isolating Black history to 28 days does a great disservice to the countless Black Americans who have contributed to our nation throughout the past 400 years. Black history is American history,” said Rep. Sherry Dorsey Walker, D-Wilmington. “When teaching the history of our nation, the achievements, challenges, contributions, struggles and triumphs of Black people should not be limited to one month, but be a part of every aspect of education, just as they unfolded in history. This inclusive curriculum will help all students of all races to see Black people as integral to this nation and will greatly enhance the educational experience of our young people. I’m honored to see this monumental piece of legislation signed into law.”

“An accurate history of our nation and its people must make more than passing references to Black Americans. It should include a full account of our contributions to our country and our culture, well beyond the context of our subjugation,” said Senator Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman, D-Wilmington. “Our American history classes have always been full of stories of oppression and rebellion, struggle and triumph, yet not every student sees themselves reflected in that history despite the fact that their community persisted through similar experiences. Embracing our full history and sharing it with our young people will give them an opportunity to understand these interwoven narratives. I want to thank Governor Carney and my colleagues in the Assembly for refusing to shield Delaware’s children from a full and complete history of our state and nation.”

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Governor Carney Signs House Bill 11

New law is the result of Local Services Function Task Force

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday signed into law House Bill 11, sponsored by Representative Paul Baumbach and Senate President Pro Tem David Sokola. The legislation, based on recommendations of the Local Service Functions Task Force, more fairly allocates the costs of service delivery across local governments in New Castle County.

“This legislation is the result of a lot of hard work by Representative Baumbach, Senator Sokola, the City of Newark, New Castle County and many others,” said Governor Carney. “I’m pleased to help get it across the finish line and sign this bill into law.”

“Two years ago, we discovered a serious problem in the Delaware laws. This problem was so severe that it led to a lawsuit between New Castle County and a municipality. We saw that we had a lot of work to do, so Senator Sokola and I helped create a broad task force of stakeholders. And 17 meetings later, we had created the necessary rewrite, based on fairness, transparency, and due process,” said Representative Paul Baumbach.  “This required dedication and hard work by many individuals, most notably New Castle County Solicitor Karen Sullivan and Legislative Counsel Deborah Gottschalk. Together, we built the relationships and trust needed to tackle such a big challenge.”

“This new law is the result of a commitment between city and county governments working together for the benefit of all of their citizens,” said Senator David Sokola. “All parties have worked together to ensure that residents have more fairness and equity in their tax structure so that costs are spread evenly. I am proud of the work the task force produced and I am glad we were able to reach consensus.”

“Representative Baumbach and Senator Sokola brought together state, county, and municipal leaders to improve the local service function calculations,” said New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer. “HB 11 is yet another example of the progress we can make when we all work together.”

“I’m grateful for Representative Baumbach, Senator Sokola, representatives from New Castle County, and members of the task force for working collectively over the past year to modernize the outdated process and improve transparency among all stakeholders,” said Newark City Manager Tom Coleman. “In a time when so many are negatively impacted financially by COVID-19, this bill is an example of legislation that will positively impact Newark residents.”

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Governor Carney Signs Legislation Raising Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)

Legislation sets target of 40 percent renewable energy by 2035

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Wednesday signed Senate Bill 33, raising Delaware’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 40 percent by 2035. 

Click here to watch the virtual bill signing.

The legislation – sponsored by Senator Stephanie Hansen and Representative Ed Osienski – will raise the percentage of Delaware’s energy that must come from renewable sources through 2035 and help confront the impacts of climate change. Increasing the Renewable Portfolio Standard also was a longtime priority of former Senator Harris McDowell

“Delaware is the country’s lowest-lying state, and climate change is already having a very real impact,” said Governor Carney. “This legislation will help accelerate Delaware’s transition to renewable sources of energy, which is good for our economy and our environment, and I’m pleased to sign it into law.”

“Extending and updating the Renewable Portfolio Standard involves a few complicated mechanisms but one simple idea: the energy future in front of us looks very different from the energy past that got us here,” said Senator Hansen, D-Middletown. “By encouraging greater use of renewable energy sources, we can simultaneously stimulate innovation, encourage job growth, push for cleaner air, and find new ways to lower energy bills for Delawareans. That’s reason to celebrate and to keep pushing for progress. I’m proud to have sponsored this bill, building off the work of Sen. Harris McDowell, and I thank the governor for signing it today.”

“Companies’ practices have taken a heavy toll on our environment for far too long. Especially here in low-lying Delaware, where sea level rise is a top concern, it’s critical we take action to protect our natural resources and prevent further ecological damage,” said Representative Osienski, D-Brookside. “Renewable energy portfolio standards have proven to be an effective solution to transitioning away from harmful fossil fuels toward clean, green energy like solar, wind and geothermal. Because we’re on-target to hit 25% by 2025, it makes good sense to establish new goals for our RPS program.” 

“Promoting the use of renewable energy is essential for continuing progress on meeting our targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which are driving the climate change impacts we are already experiencing in Delaware, including sea level rise, increased temperatures and more frequent and intense storms, droughts and flooding,” said Shawn Garvin, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC).  

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Governor Carney Signs Vote By Mail Legislation

House Bill 346 creates safe, more direct alternative to in-person voting due to COVID-19

WILMINGTON, Del.  – Governor John Carney on Wednesday signed into law House Bill 346, legislation sponsored by House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst that allows Delawareans to vote by mail in the 2020 primary, general and special elections. House Bill 346 makes voting by mail an alternative to in-person voting due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and establishes procedures for voting by mail which mirror the procedures for absentee voting. Voting by mail does not replace in-person voting, which will be available for those not voting by absentee or mail ballot.

Watch video of bill signing on Facebook or YouTube.

“My position on this issue has been simple and consistent. We should make it easier – not harder – for all Delawareans to exercise their fundamental right to vote and participate in our democratic process,” said Governor Carney. “That’s especially important this year as our state and country continue to grapple with the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic. This legislation will make sure that Delawareans can fairly and securely cast their ballots and have their voices heard.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed our lives as we have taken steps to protect residents’ health and reduce the spread of the virus. No resident should have to choose between their health and exercising their right to vote, and House Bill 346 will make sure no one has to make that difficult choice,” said House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, the lead sponsor of the bill. “This new law gives every voter the option to cast their ballot by mail. Given the uncertainties of the virus and the steps we have to take to limit its spread, this is a critical option. We’ve done this the right way, using an existing, successful absentee voting system Delaware has used for decades. What we have done today will ensure that the 2020 elections in Delaware are a model for other states, not a ‘what went wrong?’ highlight on TV.”

“No one should ever have to choose between their health and voting in a free and open election,” said Senate President Pro Tempore David McBride. “With another spike of coronavirus cases expected in the fall just as many Delawareans prepare to exercise their fundamental right to vote, we have an obligation to provide our constituents – particularly those with a heightened risk of contracting COVID-19 – with safe, secure options for casting their ballots. House Bill 346 does not prevent a single person from voting in person, but it will give voters a choice that will preserve our democracy and could very well save lives.”

 

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