Governor Carney Signs 12-Week Paid Parental Leave Into Law

Policy to begin April 1, 2019

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney on Saturday signed House Bill 3 into law surrounded by members of the General Assembly, educators and advocates. This legislation offers state workers 12 weeks of paid parental leave after the birth or adoption of a child under the age of six. With this legislation, Delaware becomes the sixth state in the nation to offer paid parental leave to public workers.

“Today I was proud to stand beside state workers, members of the General Assembly and advocates to make this a reality for Delaware families,” said Governor John Carney. “Our state employees deserve to spend time with their families when their children are born. It builds strong bonds, and has great health advantages. This benefit will help us maintain and strengthen our workforce, attracting new employees. Thank you to everyone who helped Delaware lead on leave.”

Paid Parental Leave bill signingFull-time state workers, including educators, would be eligible for 12 weeks of paid maternity or paternity leave after one year of employment. Paid parental leave will go into effect for Delaware workers on April 1, 2019.

“I have been committed to this issue for the past three years, and I am so excited to see this become a reality. Paid parental leave is going to be a game-changer for our state employees and our workforce,” said Representative Debra Heffernan. “The research continues to show that paid parental leave is an essential support system. It’s good for parents, good for kids and good for workplaces, promoting morale and job security. I firmly believe that the earliest early childhood education is when children are babies – and they learn from their parents – so I am so happy to see Governor Carney sign House Bill 3 into law.”

“This bill is a big, big deal,” said Senator Nicole Poore. “As a mom of three, I know how important it is to have time at home with a newborn child. Besides the mountain of scientific evidence pointing to the importance of those first few months, I know first-hand that the emotional and physical benefits of having time to recover and be with family are immeasurable. Delaware families deserve that time, and it makes me incredibly proud to be part of the team of lawmakers that delivered that to state employees today.”

“The addition of a new child is a very special time in an employee’s life, and our state recognizes the great benefits for the child and parents resulting from paid parental leave,” said Saundra Ross Johnson, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Human Resources. “Paid parental leave also delivers a competitive edge for attracting, recruiting and retaining talented employees as they recognize that Delaware cares and values families.”

“We are thankful that the General Assembly passed House Bill 3 and that the Governor made it a priority and is signing it into law today,” said Mike Matthews, President, Delaware State Education Association. “This paid parental leave gives our educators and state workers the time at home needed to recover from child birth and to care for and bond with their newborns or newly adopted children. State employees will no longer need to choose between taking care of a new child and being able to put food on the table or paying the bills. And, while this legislation supports new parents it also helps in the recruitment and retention of educators and state workers.”

“House Bill 3 will give state employees the freedom to have families on their own schedule. It gives families the time to bond with their newest member without the worry of financial stress that often comes with not having enough sick or annual leave,” said Michael Begatto, Executive Director of Council 81 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. “House Bill 3 will help retain good employees and it is a win for the state and for state employees both.”

Click here for photos from the bill signing.


Governor Carney Signs “Red Flag” Legislation

HS 1 for HB 222 allows courts to issue a lethal violence protection order when citizens pose a danger to self or others

DOVER, Del. – On Wednesday, Governor John Carney signed House Substitute 1 for HB 222 into law surrounded by members of the General Assembly of both parties, law enforcement, and advocates for gun safety. This legislation, sponsored by Representative David Bentz, allows a court to issue a lethal violence protection order in cases where a family member or law enforcement officer can show that the respondent poses a danger to self or others by owning, possessing, controlling, purchasing or receiving a firearm.

“This new legislation is another tool to help law enforcement and our community confront gun violence,” said Governor John Carney. “One piece of legislation alone will not solve the problem of gun violence, but with a comprehensive approach, along with efforts to strengthen security in our schools, we can make a difference. We’ve made great progress this legislative session and I would like to thank members of the General Assembly and advocates for their tireless work on this issue.”

This bill in the latest in a package of gun safety measures Governor Carney has signed into law this legislative session, including the Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act, toughening penalties around straw purchases, and banning “bump stocks” in the state.

“Red flag bills are significant components of gun safety reform, and I am so proud that Delaware has led in this effort this year with HS 1 for HB 222. We have taken a significant step forward to protect public safety and hopefully prevent some of these tragic instances of gun violence,” said Representative David Bentz. “While we may not be able to stop every horrific incident, a lethal violence protective order will reduce access to guns and empower citizens and law enforcement to intervene if a loved one presents a danger to themselves or others. Delaware has the opportunity to be model for the entire country with this legislation and it has been an honor to drive the initiative forward.”


“This is an example of a gun bill that everyone should be able to support,” said Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry. “There is no clearer sign that somebody shouldn’t have a gun than a family member, or a member of law enforcement, saying they might hurt themselves or another. HB 222 will save lives without compromising due process. I applaud Rep. Bentz for the yeoman’s work he’s done building consensus around this common-sense reform.”

“I am very pleased to see this measure pass. This proposal accomplished two important goals: protecting the due process rights of Delawareans and providing people recourse whenever they feel immediately threatened and there is strong evidence that a person is a threat,” said Senator Anthony Delcollo. “This bill provides robust protections for civil rights while empowering law enforcement to act for the safety or our community. Thank you to Governor Carney and Representative Bentz for working with me to keep Delawareans safe and preserve these important constitutional protections.”

“This is the type of law that has been proven to save lives in other states,” said Attorney General Matt Denn. “It will save lives here, too.”

“Keeping firearms out of dangerous hands is essential to our public safety,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “Owning and using guns is a responsibility that must be taken seriously and with caution. When that responsibility is at risk, we have to do all we can to protect those individuals from harming their self or others. Thank you to Rep. Bentz and the members of the General Assembly for supporting this measure and making Delaware safer.”

“In response to demands from Americans to stop gun violence, lawmakers in states across the country are finding the courage to pass bills that can save lives,” said former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of Giffords. “If we’re serious about saving lives, we must continue to be serious about giving families and law enforcement officials the tools they need to prevent people at risk of harming themselves or others from accessing guns. Leaders in Delaware understand this and it’s why they’ve worked tirelessly with gun prevention advocates to sign this legislation into law. I applaud Governor Carney and the Delaware legislature for demonstrating the courage to show Congress and the rest of the country how we can take responsible steps to help keep guns out of the hands of people who are experiencing a crisis.”

“The significance of the bipartisan support for HB 222 cannot be overstated,” said Dennis Greenhouse, chair of the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence Legislative Fund. “This law passed through the entire General Assembly without a single vote against it, with co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle. That is a testament to how hard Rep. David Bentz worked in support of this bill, and he did work tirelessly to bring people together and to craft truly meaningful legislation. We cannot thank him enough. Lethal Violence Protection Orders will protect our family members, our friends and our neighbors in their most vulnerable moments. In just the past few weeks, new research has shown that states that enact Red Flag laws see significant decreases in gun-related suicides. This is what we mean when we talk about common-sense gun violence legislation — and this law will save lives in Delaware.”

“This bill strengthens our current state law by creating a mechanism to temporarily prohibit individuals that pose an immediate threat of harm to themselves or others from possessing or purchasing firearms,” said Robert Coupe, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security. “Allowing law enforcement officers to request an emergency lethal violence protective order through the Justice of the Peace Court creates a process that can be quickly utilized in emergency situations thus increasing public safety.”

“Today is a momentous occasion. This Red Flag bill signing demonstrates that Delaware continues to lead the way across the country on common sense gun policies,” said Sarah Stowens, volunteer leader with the Delaware chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “We could not be more proud of Governor Carney and lawmakers in the First State for making a serious commitment to gun safety and taking a critical step toward protecting our communities from gun violence.”

Learn more about Governor Carney’s call for comprehensive gun safety in Delaware.




Learn more about Governor Carney’s call for comprehensive gun safety in Delaware.

Click here to watch video from the bill signing.

Click here for photos from the bill signing.

Governor Carney’s Statement on Bump Stock Ban

DOVER, Del.Governor John Carney on Thursday issued the following statement after signing legislation to ban bump stock devices in Delaware:

“Delaware has made progress in strengthening our gun safety laws this legislative session with the support of students and advocates across the state, and today is no exception. By signing this bill into law, we are saying that there is no place in Delaware for bump stocks and other devices that are used to increase the rate of fire of semiautomatic weapons, making these weapons even more potentially deadly. This ban is one piece in a package of comprehensive gun safety legislation that will help us protect Delawareans. I want to thank Representative Longhurst for her leadership on this issue, and members of the General Assembly of both parties for coming together to protect our communities.”

Learn more about Governor Carney’s call for comprehensive gun safety reform.



Governor Carney Signs Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act

New law will limit access to firearms for those considered a danger to themselves or others

NEWARK, Del. – On Monday, Governor John Carney signed the Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act alongside Vice President Joe Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, Ashley Biden, Representative David Bentz, legislators, and gun safety advocates at the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware.

The Beau Biden Act, passed unanimously by the General Assembly, will help restrict access to firearms for those who mental health professionals believe present a danger to themselves or others. The Act, which takes effect six months after its signing, mirrors legislation championed by former Attorney General Beau Biden in 2013.

“I am honored to sign this legislation, and to help carry on Beau’s legacy and his commitment to protecting Delawareans,” said Governor Carney. “The Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act is important, common sense legislation – and one piece in a package of comprehensive gun safety reform that will help make our state safer. This law will ensure that law enforcement and health professionals are working more closely together to confront the issue of gun violence and mental health. And it will help keep firearms away from those who may pose a danger to themselves or others, while protecting due process rights, and ensuring continued access to important mental health services.”

“My son Beau always believed that there was room for common sense gun safety legislation. It is something he supported and worked for his whole professional career, including championing a nearly identical bill as Attorney General,” said Vice President Joe Biden. “While that bill came up short of passage before we lost Beau, he was always confident that we would move in the right direction. This bill will make the state of Delaware safer while safeguarding every Delawarean’s rights to due process. It is a fitting tribute to Beau’s legacy.”

“Delaware has taken a substantial step forward in addressing mental health and gun safety with this thoughtful, consensus-driven piece of legislation. The Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act balances due process and public safety in the ultimate effort to prevent senseless gun violence by keeping guns out of the hands of those who present a danger to themselves or others,” said Representative David Bentz. “It was an honor to stand with Vice President Joe Biden as Governor Carney signed legislation addressing an issue that meant so much to the Vice President’s son. I hope this legislation serves as a model for other states as they work through gun safety policies.”

“Delaware has a responsibility to take action on the gun violence epidemic. Today, we’re upholding that responsibility,” said Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry. “As policymakers, we have to have a good faith conversation about mental health and gun safety, but we also need to make sure that we protect due process and that we don’t perpetuate the harmful, stigmatizing myth that people with mental illness are dangerous. Two unanimous votes show that Representative Bentz struck that balance. His work on gun safety will save lives, and he deserves real praise for that.”

“The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence is grateful to those legislators on both sides of the aisle who were willing to work together to craft this important piece of legislation. This was a bipartisan effort that will protect people in our state who might pose a threat to themselves or others,” said Dennis Greenhouse, Chairman of the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence. “The fight against gun violence is not a partisan issue, and it does not stop here. As we continue into the final months of this session, we are optimistic that legislators will approach other common-sense gun violence bills before them with a similar commitment to action and willingness to work together to get things done.”


The Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act adds the following individuals to the list of persons prohibited from owning a firearm:

  • Any person who has been committed to a hospital for treatment of a mental condition.
  • Perpetrators of violent crimes who have been found:
    • Not guilty by reason of insanity;
    • Guilty but mentally ill;
    • Mentally incompetent to stand trial.

Those individuals have not been prohibited from owning firearms under Delaware law. The new law also requires health professionals to report to law enforcement anyone they believe presents a danger to themselves or others. Appropriate law enforcement agencies must then investigate – and may seek a court order to require individuals to relinquish firearms, if they are found to present a danger. The law, which takes effect six months after its signing, also allows affected individuals to appeal orders to the Supreme Court, and petition to have their firearms returned.

Click here to learn more about Governor Carney’s call for comprehensive gun safety reform.

Click here to watch the bill signing.

Click here for photos from the bill signing.



MEDIA ADVISORY: Governor Carney To Sign HB 174

Bill will strengthen penalties for illegal purchases of firearms

DOVER, Del. – On Wednesday, April 18, Governor Carney will sign House Bill 174, which strengthens penalties for illegal purchases of firearms, deterring “straw purchases” by making jail time more likely for the offender. This bill raises the first offense of purchasing or obtaining a firearm for someone not legally qualified to own, possess or purchase one from a Class F to a Class E Felony. Governor Carney will be available for media following the bill signing.

Signing of House Bill 174

WHAT: Governor Carney to sign HB 174, strengthening penalties for illegal purchases of firearms

WHO: Governor John Carney
Secretary Robert Coupe, Department of Safety & Homeland Security
Representative Larry Mitchell
Senator Harris McDowell
Senator Anthony Delcollo
Senator Brian Pettyjohn
Representative Ruth Briggs King
Representative Deb Heffernan
Representative Deborah Hudson
Representative Dave Wilson
Col. Nathaniel McQueen, Jr., Superintendent DSP
Sgt. Darren Lester, DSP
Chief William Bryson, Chairman, Delaware Police Chiefs Council
Chief Jeffrey Horvath, Executive Director, Delaware Police Chiefs Council
Chief Laura Giles (Elsmere), Delaware Police Chiefs Council
Chief John Horsman (Capitol), Delaware Police Chiefs Council
Chief Marvin Mailey (Dover), Delaware Police Chiefs Council
Lt. Fred Calhoun, State FOP President
Representatives from Everytown for Gun Safety
Representatives from the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence

WHEN: Wednesday, April 18, 2018
12:45 p.m.

WHERE: Governor’s Office
Legislative Hall
411 Legislative Avenue
Dover, DE 19901

This event will be livestreamed at: