Bill Signing Promotes Savings in the First State

Senate Bill 143, signed today by Governor Carney, will increase savings plans education


Treasurer Colleen C. Davis, bill sponsors Sen. Trey Paradee and Rep. Krista Griffith, and children from Brilliant Little Minds Learning Academy celebrated today as Governor John Carney signed Senate Bill 143 into law. This legislation allows the Plans Management Board and the Office of the State Treasurer to increase awareness of the benefits of saving through the 529 Education Savings Plan and through ABLE Plans for those with disabilities.

Also joining the event were Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long, Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro, Secretary of Finance Rick Geisenberger, Rep. Mike Smith, Rep. Bryan Shupe, and members of the Delaware Department of Education and the Plans Management Board. The Governor and legislators talked about their own experiences with the savings plans and discussed the importance of the bill. Treasurer Davis asked the kids from Brilliant Little Minds Learning Academy what they want to be when they grow up. “Whatever you want to be when you grow up, you have to work hard in school and save your money to make it happen. I’m so glad that we could have young people here with us as we take this step towards expanding economic opportunity and educational attainment.”

Senate Bill 143 allows the Board to pursue methods of increasing savings plan enrollments outside of the high-income earning households that traditionally participate by allowing for incentive-based marketing. Possible avenues of promotion include a scholarship program or a match plan, as seen in other states. These options will be explored by the Board at future meetings. Additionally, new promotions aimed at increasing awareness of using 529s for adult educational attainment and for non-college costs, such as apprenticeship programs, will be integrated into future marketing efforts.

“The costs of education are skyrocketing, but national enrollments in 529 plans have gone down,” Treasurer Davis said. “In Delaware, we have worked hard to share the benefits of these plans with our residents and are continuing to see new enrollments. Our nearly 22,000 accounts represent growth of 4% over the last three years, and this bill will allow us to continue to expand. Like these savings plans, Senate Bill 143 is an investment in our future.”

“America is facing a crisis when it comes to saving money for the future,” said Sen. Trey Paradee, D-Dover, who works as a financial advisor. “Right now, 40 percent of U.S. adults don’t have enough savings to cover even a $400 emergency – a brutal fact, which is leaving too many families one missed paycheck from a financial nightmare. We need to be doing all we can to encourage people to take advantage of savings plans, particularly the favorable products offered by our state. This bill is aimed at raising awareness of those products and examining how we can better position them to help working families in need.”

“Given the daunting cost of college education, the state of Delaware needs to do everything it can to promote college savings. Delaware has made great strides in creating accounts for those for disabilities, which will allow them to save money without sacrificing services they depend on,” said Rep. Krista Griffith, D-Fairfax. “This bill will allow Treasurer Davis to increase outreach about Delaware’s 529 plan and make more Delawareans aware of the benefits so they can invest and plan for their futures. I’m always looking to help improve accessibility to these accounts and I look forward to continued efforts in the General Assembly.”

Both tax-advantaged savings plans are available to the public, easy to open, and offer investment options so that savings can grow over time until they are used for associated costs. Learn more about our savings plans at 529.Delaware.Gov and ABLE.Delaware.Gov.

Governor Carney Signs Legislation to Ban Plastic Bags, Reduce Litter in Delaware

New laws will ban single-use plastic bags and create a Litter Investigation and Enforcement Fund

WILMINGTON, Del. –  At the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary on Monday, Governor John Carney joined members of the General Assembly and environmental advocates to sign House Bill 130 and Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 5, two pieces of legislation aimed at confronting litter in Delaware. Both new laws will help protect Delaware communities from litter, and protect Delaware’s environment and wildlife from the harmful effects of discarded waste.  

House Bill 130 will ban the use of single-use plastic bags and encourage a shift to reusable bags in Delaware. Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 5 will address the problem of individuals dumping large quantities of trash on public and private property by increasing penalties for unlawful dumping and creating a Litter Investigation and Enforcement Fund.

“We live in a beautiful state. We should keep it that way,” said Governor Carney. “One of the best ways we can take pride in our communities is to keep them clean. That’s why I was proud to stand with mayors, county executives, and other local leaders recently to announce the Delaware Anti-Litter Alliance – a coalition of public officials committed to keeping our state litter free. And that’s why I was pleased to sign these bills into law on Monday. These new laws will help us protect Delaware communities from litter, protect our environment, and  protect Delaware wildlife. Thank you to members of the General Assembly and Delawareans up and down our state who have pledged to help Keep DE Litter Free.”

A 2018 study from Keep Delaware Beautiful and the State of Delaware identified 6,000 pieces of litter for every mile of Delaware roadway surveyed.

Join the campaign: Keep DE Litter Free

“Limiting the use of plastic bags will go a long way toward preserving our environment for future generations. Our young people and future leaders will be the beneficiaries of our actions, and today we take a step forward in making them proud,” said Representative Gerald Brady, prime sponsor of the plastic bag legislation. “We want our waterways to be clean and vibrant, our wildlife to be healthy and our stormwater systems to be effective. I have to thank my colleagues, Governor Carney and many advocates for their passion and support to move this legislation, which will help our society as a whole.”

“This legislation is not just about protecting our environment but also about protecting our health,” said Senator Trey Paradee. “These single-use bags never fully break down. Instead, they turn into tiny bits of microplastic that end up in our food supply and eventually inside of all of us. I’m extremely proud of my colleagues in the Delaware General Assembly for taking this important first step toward reducing the amount of plastic in our environment. This is a clear demonstration that we can work together to improve our state for everyone and I look forward to continuing that effort next year.”

“Our children and grandchildren deserve to inherit a Delaware free of trash and pollution. But we can’t expect someone else to take care of our natural environment for us,” said Senator Stephanie Hansen. “Preserving our forests, waterways and green spaces requires direct and deliberate action, which is why I am proud to have sponsored Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 5 and co-sponsored House Bill 130. These two bills are vital first steps for reducing the amount of plastic waste that inadvertently ends up in our streams and woodlands and changing the culture around the kind of deliberate littering that damages and disrespects our state and our country.”

“These pieces of legislation are essential steps at curbing hazardous behaviors, litter, and our dependence on single use plastics,” said Ginger North, Director of Conservation at the Delaware Nature Society. “We commend Governor Carney and the members of the General Assembly for taking these steps and limiting the number of plastic bags and other waste that litter our beautiful state and are a hazard to our environment, wildlife, and public health.”



Governor Carney Signs Collective Bargaining Legislation

New law allows 2,000 more state employees to collectively bargain for higher wages

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Thursday signed legislation – Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 8 – that protects public sector unions and allows more state employees to collectively bargain for higher wages.

“State employees protect our communities, teach our children, clear our streets, and provide critical services for Delaware families,” said Governor Carney. “They ought to be paid what they’re worth. Investing in state employees, and our state workplaces, will help us attract and retain quality state employees, and deliver state services more effectively. I was proud to stand alongside union leaders and members of the General Assembly in signing this legislation into law.”

The new law will allow 2,000 additional state employees to collectively bargain for higher wages.

“Allowing more state workers to collectively bargain for better wages is a critical step toward improving the lives of all Delaware families,” said Senator Jack Walsh, the prime sponsor of the legislation. “As the state’s largest employer, we have led the way time and again when it comes to caring for our workers. From paid parental leave and loan forgiveness for public school teachers to cost-of-living wage hikes and stronger labor unions, we are creating a stronger workforce and a brighter future for thousands of our residents.”

“This is a proud moment for our Unions that represent our state workers,” said James Maravelias, President of the Delaware State AFL-CIO. “This shows our constant commitment to their livelihood and our ever-present representation.”

“I want to thank Governor Carney for signing this important legislation,” said Michael Begatto, Executive Director of AFSCME, Council 81. “Without his support, this would not have gotten done.”

“The signing of this legislation marks the beginning of a new way in which the Department of Human Resources operates as it relates to collective bargaining and negotiations,” said Saundra Ross Johnson, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Human Resources. “We look forward to working with the bargaining units to make certain that together, we are providing fair and equitable opportunities for our current employees and those seeking employment.”


Click here to view photos.

Governor Carney Signs Legislation to Protect Delaware’s Coastal Waters and Economy

Senate Bill 200 and Senate Bill 207 will prohibit and prevent offshore drilling in Delaware’s coastal waters

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. – Governor John Carney on Thursday signed Senate Bill 200 and Senate Bill 207, two pieces of legislation aimed at protecting Delaware’s coasts from offshore drilling. These pieces of legislation will help maintain high-quality coastline waters and protect thousands of jobs supported by Delaware’s coastal tourism industry. Coast-related activities contribute almost $7 billion to Delaware’s economy.

Senate Bill 200 prohibits drilling for oil and natural gas in Delaware’s coastal zone and territorial waters, and precludes DNREC from issuing any permits in connection with the development of offshore drilling infrastructure. Senate Bill 207 opposes drilling off Delaware’s coast and directs certain state officials and agencies to enforce Delaware’s rights relating to offshore drilling under federal and state environmental laws.

“We have a responsibility to care for our coasts, and in turn, protect our state’s environment and economy,” said Governor Carney. “Offshore drilling presents a threat to the health of our coastal communities that we can’t ignore, and these two pieces of legislation will help prevent drilling in our waters. A large part of Delaware’s tourism industry depends on clean coasts, and Delawareans and visitors alike will benefit from these protections signed into law today. Thank you to members of the General Assembly for this bipartisan effort and to advocates for their tireless work to protect Delaware’s coasts, environment and economy.”

“Promoting clean alternative energy development in the Atlantic region, along with the continued conservation of our marine and estuarine habitats, and the success of our coastal economy are of the utmost importance to the citizens of Delaware,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin.

“The state’s beaches are a treasure, which the National Resource Defense Council has consistently rated as the cleanest on the East Coast,” said Liz Keller, Delaware Tourism Director. “They are important for the tourism industry in the state, and it is essential to maintain their good health.”

“Standing against offshore drilling is a no-brainer for Delaware,” said Senator Stephanie Hansen. “Washington, D.C. may have forgotten disasters like those in the Gulf, Alaska and Santa Barbara – but I haven’t, and neither have bipartisan leaders across our state. Delaware’s beaches are some of the cleanest in the country, are home to a unique marine ecosystem, and are vital to our state’s crucial tourism industry. It takes just one accident to change all of that overnight. Our economy, our budget, and our environment can’t afford that mistake.”

“I am proud to be a prime sponsor of this important bipartisan effort,” said Senator Ernesto “Ernie” Lopez. “Defending our beautiful beaches and our unique coastal environment from the potential negative impact of off-shore drilling is not a Republican issue or a Democratic issue: It is a Delaware issue and has been of the highest priority for the people of the 6th District and to me as their State Senator.”

“We welcome millions of visitors to Rehoboth and Dewey every year. They come here for our award-winning, pristine beaches and clean air. They contribute billions to our local economy. All of that could be jeopardized by offshore drilling,” said House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf. “Delawareans have to stand together against something that could do so much damage to our community and our state, and that’s exactly what the General Assembly did by overwhelmingly passing these bills.”

“The risks involved with offshore drilling are greater than many people realize. There have been 44 major oil spills off the United States coast since 1969, several with catastrophic effects on the environment and local economy,” said Representative Debra Heffernan. “We can’t allow that to happen to Delaware, and we have to take whatever steps we can to protect our environment.”

“I am thrilled that Delaware is taking this important step, and I am proud to have been a co-sponsor of this bipartisan bill,” said Senate Minority Whip Greg Lavelle. “Our coastline is a critical natural resource, and the risk of damaging our waterways through a drilling accident far outweighs the benefit of any oil that could be extracted.”

“It means a lot to see and hear leadership at the state level,” said Rehoboth Beach Mayor Paul Kuhns. “It validates our concerns and efforts to maintain a clean and healthy coast that is vital to our economy and families who come to enjoy our beautiful beaches. In publicly opposing offshore drilling activities, Governor Carney is standing with our coastal communities, who have the most to lose and who have overwhelmingly opposed these efforts.”

“The City of Lewes is very pleased that Governor Carney is signing SB 200 and SB 207,” said Lewes Mayor Ted Becker. “Lewes was the first city to adopt a resolution opposing seismic testing – a precursor to offshore drilling – in November 2015. Since then the six other coastal communities, all members of the Association of Coastal Towns (ACT), have adopted similar resolutions as a demonstration of our collective serious concern regarding the potentially devastating impact offshore drilling could have on marine mammals and the extremely important economic contribution of tourism to the economy of our state.”

“The Delaware Coast and its estuaries form essential marine habitat for over 32 species of marine mammals and sea turtles,” said Suzanne Thurman, MERR Institute Executive Director. “Many of these species are endangered, and three large whale species are experiencing an Unusual Mortality Event. These magnificent creatures need to be protected from the devastation of harmful oil and gas drilling, which even in its daily operation will contaminate the marine ecosystem, and in the event of a spill would be catastrophic. MERR is very pleased to see these important bills signed into law today, and for the far reaching protection they will provide for our coastal waters and the welfare of marine species.”


Governor Carney Signs School Safety Legislation

New law establishes a School Safety and Security Fund with $5 million appropriation


GEORGES, Del. – Governor John Carney on Monday signed the Delaware School Safety and Security Fund into law – a bipartisan piece of school safety legislation that was passed unanimously by members of the General Assembly. This legislation, funded with $5 million in the state’s capital budget, establishes a School Safety and Security Fund to provide resources for projects intended to increase security in Delaware public schools. Governor Carney signed the legislation on Monday at St. George’s Technical High School.


“All Delaware students and educators deserve to feel safe when they go to school in the morning,” said Governor Carney. “We work with school districts and charter schools each year to update and test school safety plans statewide. But we should take all appropriate steps to create a safe climate at school. That’s why this legislation, and this new school safety fund, is so important. I want to thank members of the General Assembly from both sides of the aisle for stepping up and leading on this extremely important issue.”


Watch and share a replay of Monday’s signing ceremony here.


View and share photos from Monday’s signing ceremony here.


“Today, we took a positive step toward helping to make our schools safer,” said House Minority Leader Danny Short. “This legislation will allow necessary improvements to be done to our traditional public and charter schools to protect students, teachers, and staff from intruders.”


“Giving schools the support to invest in safety infrastructure is a matter of common sense,” saidSenator Stephanie Hansen. “It’s also important to give schools the flexibility to tailor those investments to their needs. It’s important that we follow up with proactive steps like counseling resources, but HB 335 provides local schools with those resources at a time when the safety of our schools, students, and faculty is on everyone’s mind. I’m glad to have supported this legislation in the Senate and am grateful to Governor Carney for signing it.”


“Five percent of the Delaware high school students surveyed in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey reported that in an average month they did not go to school for as many as six days due to fear of being unsafe in school,” said Brian Moore, School Climate and Discipline Program Manager at the Delaware Department of Education. “Our job is to make sure that every public school student in Delaware can learn in a safe, secure and supportive classroom.”


“This grant is a perfect example of how in Delaware our schools, state agencies, families and elected officials can come together quickly and efficiently to focus on finding solutions to challenges — in this case, collaborating to discover ways to make our classrooms safer and more secure so that our children can maximize learning opportunities,” said Susan Bunting, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education.


“While NCC Vo-Tech is honored to host the bill signing at St. Georges Technical High School, school districts and charter schools across the state collectively appreciate HB 335,” said Vicki Gehrt, Superintendent of New Castle County Vocational Technical School District. “This is an outstanding start in recognizing the need and then appropriating funds to ensure the safety and security of our students.  We especially thank Governor Carney, State Representatives Hensley, Jacques, and Short, and State Senator Hansen for making this legislation a priority.”


Learn more about Delaware’s role in school safety.