Governor Carney Signs Anti-Blight Legislation

Bills will give local governments new tools to address vacant homes, strengthen neighborhoods

NEW CASTLE, Del. – Governor John Carney on Thursday signed into law House Bills 187 and 188, bipartisan legislation that give new tools to local governments to fight neighborhood blight and combat vacant or abandoned homes.

Governor Carney signs House Bills 187 and 188.
Governor Carney signs House Bills 187 and 188.

Representatives J.J. Johnson, Stephanie T. Bolden, Joseph Miro, Daniel Short, John Mitchell and Kim Williams, and Senators Bryan Townsend, Margaret Rose Henry and Stephanie Hansen sponsored the two bills, which passed the General Assembly unanimously in June.

Governor Carney signed the legislation at a vacant home purchased by New Castle County with state funds as part of an anti-blight initiative in the Garfield Park community near New Castle.

House Bill 187 will allow local governments to prequalify bidders at sheriff’s sales to restrict bidders who are delinquent on property taxes or violating property maintenance codes. House Bill 188 will allow local governments to place a lien on a vacant property in violation of maintenance standards to recoup enforcement and abatement costs.

“Vacant and abandoned properties can bring down property values, attract crime and make neighborhoods unattractive places to live, work and play,” said Governor Carney. “Strengthening our communities requires creative solutions to the problems we face, and new tools such as these will help local leaders effectively combat blight by directly addressing vacant homes. Delaware has invested $8.25 million in Strong Neighborhoods funding to redevelop housing in communities such as Garfield Park, which is leading to $35 million in other investment, and we must continue to work supporting residents who want to create safe streets and livable communities.”

Vacant and abandoned homes become breeding grounds for crime and dumping grounds for trash, are targets for arson and become a health and safety hazard for their surrounding communities. These properties also drive costs to county taxpayers, diverting public safety resources, and force local government to pay for basic maintenance, grass mowing, and waste removal. Additionally, vacant and abandoned housing has been shown to depress neighborhood property values and reduce tax revenues that fund critical public services.

“We want our neighbors to have pride in their communities, but housing vacancies overwhelm too many regions of our state and cause a host of problems in its tracks. House Bills 187 and 188 provide a beacon of light in those situations. With these bills, local governments are empowered to take charge of blight in these communities by ultimately working to return vacant properties to use and helping Delawareans restore that pride,” said Representative James Johnson, D-New Castle, prime sponsor of the bills. “Our residents – and their homes- deserve that attention. By eliminating blight we will be able to foster a new sense of community and responsibility.”

“This legislation is all about holding real estate investors accountable and promoting vibrancy in our communities,” said Senator Bryan Townsend, D-Newark. “Neglected properties and blight are having a real impact on crime rates, property values, and quality of life for Delawareans. Investors and people who want to be able take ownership of homes must also take ownership of maintaining them, not just rely on the community and taxpayers to foot the bill for blight.  Coupled with investments in open-space for established neighborhoods, the tools in this legislation can be of great help to promoting the safety and prosperity we should want all Delawareans to enjoy.”

“By turning vacant places across our county and state into livable spaces we will reduce crime, lift property values, and turn liabilities into opportunities for hardworking new homeowners,” said New Castle County Executive Matthew Meyer. “City, county and state collaborated to create stronger policies, and we thank Governor Carney and the leadership of the General Assembly who saw the value in the legislation being enacted today.”

“As a former president of New Castle County Council, I know all too well the cost of blight for local governments,” said Senator Stephanie Hansen, D-Middletown. “The downward spiral that blight creates for entire communities is stunning. It’s not just the risk of crime or fire—studies show that vacant and abandoned homes can affect surrounding residents’ physical and mental health. These bills offer invaluable tools that protect our communities from speculators who try to game the system at our expense, and leave taxpayers and responsible property owners holding the bill. I’m glad to have supported it, and hope to continue working with state and local officials to protect and revitalize our neighborhoods.”

“These new tools build upon the work of the Strong Neighborhoods Housing Fund in purchasing, renovating and selling formerly vacant, abandoned or blighted properties, turning 181 empty homes or vacant lots into owner-occupied homes that brighten a street,” said Anas Ben Addi, Director of the Delaware State Housing Authority. “These partnerships with local governments and nonprofit partners help improve the quality of life for our residents and make Delaware a better place to live.”

“I have seen the negative effects that vacant, abandoned and blighted properties have on vibrant neighborhoods such as ours,” said Lee Jarmon, president of the Overview Gardens Garfield Park Civic Association. “I commend the state, county and other local leaders for working together to pass legislation to address and help to remedy this serious issue.”

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Governor Carney Signs Legislation Extending Cybersecurity Protections for Delawareans

Legislation, sponsored by Representative Baumbach, requires additional notifications, free credit monitoring

NEWARK, Del. – Governor John Carney on Thursday signed into law House Substitute 1 for House Bill 180, legislation that requires additional protections for Delawareans whose personal information may be compromised in a computer breach, including additional notifications and free credit monitoring services.

Representative Paul Baumbach sponsored the legislation, which passed the General Assembly with broad bipartisan support. The new law requires businesses to safeguard information, and requires businesses to provide free credit monitoring services for customers whose sensitive personal information is compromised in a cybersecurity breach. With Governor Carney’s signature on Thursday, Delaware became just the second state to require businesses to provide those services, after Connecticut.

Governor Carney Signs Legislation Extending Cybersecurity Protections for Delawareans
House Substitute 1 for House Bill 180, sponsored by Representative Baumbach, requires additional protections for Delawareans whose personal information may be compromised in a computer breach, including additional notifications and free credit monitoring services.

 

“We live in a digital world where threats to personal information are becoming more common, and the cyber threat is one of the most serious economic challenges we face,” said Governor John Carney. “It makes sense to offer additional protections for Delawareans who may have their information compromised in a cybersecurity breach. At the same time, we will continue to connect businesses to training and resources that will help them safeguard and protect their data. I was also proud to sign this legislation on Thursday alongside Dr. Assanis at the University of Delaware, an institution that is helping lead innovation around cybersecurity. Thank you to Representative Baumbach for leading on this issue, and to all members of the General Assembly who voted to approve these new consumer protections.”

“We have worked with many stakeholders to perfect this cybersecurity legislation so that Delawareans will have proper consumer notifications and protections in place when there is a security breach of personal information. In our technological-driven world these data breaches have become too common and impact a wide variety of individuals. We had to find a way to address those concerns,” said Representative Baumbach, D-Newark. “This is a meaningful step forward in addressing these breaches so that we guarantee better protections for our residents and help them rebuild their lives after a cyber-attack. In particular, the bill focuses on notification requirements and additional help with identity theft mitigation services in cases where Social Security numbers are breached.”

House Bill 180 provides the first updates in Delaware law in more than a decade to address advances in cyber threats. The new law will require all companies doing business in Delaware to implement and maintain reasonable security to protect personal information. Delaware is one of 14 states to impose explicit data security obligations on the private sector.

Thursday’s signing ceremony was held at the University of Delaware, which offers a master’s program in cybersecurity to help drive innovation. UD’s Small Business Development Center also trains small businesses to identify cybersecurity threats and protect their business and customer data.

“The University of Delaware is committed to working with the state and our other partners to address the large and growing challenges of cybersecurity,” said Dr. Dennis Assanis, President of the University of Delaware. “UD is devoting unique resources to developing and advancing technologies and solutions for a safe and resilient cyberspace by contributing our expertise in computer science, corporate governance and public policy.”

“The Delaware Small Business Development Center is proud to be part of the Governor’s signing of House Bill 180,” said Daniel Eliot, the Manager of Technology Business Development at UD’s Small Business Development Center. “For the last two years, we have worked closely with the state and other stakeholders, focused on providing training and resources to help Delaware’s small businesses make a reasonable effort to secure their businesses. It’s a matter of fact: all businesses today are technology-based businesses and are vulnerable to cyber breach. We want to be sure Delaware’s businesses are technologically and behaviorally prepared to combat such attacks.”

“The increase in cyberattacks and data breaches creates an imperative for Delaware to protect citizen information commonly used by criminals to perpetrate identity theft and fraud,” said James Collins, Chief Information Officer at the Delaware Department of Technology and Information. “We all know that prevention is the best strategy and that is our main goal. We want to be proactive so that our citizens and business community can avoid these threats.”

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Governor Carney Signs Legislation Improving Training for Educators to Prevent Child Abuse

Senate Bill 102, supported by Beau Biden Foundation, develops training program for educators, school staff

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday signed into law Senate Bill 102, legislation supported by the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children that develops a coordinated training program for educators to detect and prevent child abuse.  The bill consolidates Delaware law to improve child sexual abuse training and detection, suicide prevention,Governor Carney Signs Legislation Improving Training for Educators to Prevent Child Abuse anti-bullying programs, criminal youth gang detection, and teen dating violence and sexual assault prevention.

Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry sponsored the bill, which passed the General Assembly with unanimous, bipartisan support. It applies to all public schools, including charter schools, and vocational school districts.

“Beau Biden had a deep and unyielding commitment to protecting children from abuse, and I am honored to continue supporting his mission by signing this legislation into law,” said Governor Carney. “I cannot think of any job more important than protecting children. Educators who work every day with Delaware students are in a unique position to help detect warning signs, and act to prevent abuse. This law will help them do that by developing a program to coordinate training, and allowing schools the flexibility to tailor training to the needs of their students. Thank you to Senator Henry, and everyone who made this law a reality, including everyone at the Beau Biden Foundation.”

“Our schools are places of learning, but they also provide vital services to our kids,” said Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington East. “It’s on all of us to recognize and intervene in bullying, youth violence, child abuse, and teen depression, but it’s clear that our schools are a critical part of that fight. Senate Bill 102 builds on the great work of groups like the Beau Biden Foundation by ensuring that public and charter school employees across Delaware are capable of recognizing signs of non-academic problems in a student’s life and intervening appropriately. At a minimum, these trainings will help improve our kids’ quality of life—and they could even save a life. I’m proud to have sponsored this legislation and I thank my colleagues and Governor Carney for their support.”

The Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children, which advocated for the legislation, continues Beau’s lifelong commitment to protecting children from the threat of abuse and neglect. In 2011, Beau and his partners at the Delaware Department of Justice, Prevent Child Abuse Delaware and the Delaware YMCA pledged to train 5% of Delaware’s population in the only evidence informed child sexual abuse prevention program in the country – Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children. The Beau Biden Foundation continues to deliver the program, and to date, over 27,000 Delawareans have taken the training.

“We’re thrilled to see Senate Bill 102 signed in to law,” said Patty Dailey Lewis, Executive Director of the Beau Biden Foundation. “Delaware leads the nation in child sexual abuse prevention training. In the next few years, we will reach our goal of educating 5% of our population on ways to recognize the signs and symptoms of child sexual abuse, react responsibly when a child divulges they’ve been abused, and work to minimize opportunities for predators to harm children. Teachers and school staff are on the front lines of child protection – we stand ready to lead the way and assist them in fulfilling their training requirement.”

“By streamlining the non-academic trainings required by school district and charter school staff, Delaware is providing our state educators with additional flexibility and support,” said Dr. Susan Bunting, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education. “Schools are now able to reduce the burden of having multiple, different trainings and can also mix and match their training to meet specific professional development needs. This is a win for all educators in the state.”

“As we strive to bring greater awareness to issues such as child abuse and neglect, bullying, teen dating violence, youth gangs and suicide prevention, we recognize that our community partners are on the frontline, helping us protect Delaware’s children every day,” said Josette Manning, Secretary of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families.  “Delaware has thousands of enthusiastic and dedicated educators, school nurses, and counselors, all of whom have frequent contact with our children and play key roles in keeping them safe.  Senate Bill 102 will provide one more tool to help them be the voice for our children. Working together, we can provide a brighter future for Delaware’s children.”

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Governor Carney Takes Steps to Restructure Delaware’s Economic Development Efforts, Create Jobs

Governor celebrates passage of House Bill 226 and signs paperwork creating Delaware Prosperity Partnership

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Monday held a signing ceremony for House Bill 226, a major piece of legislation that restructures Delaware’s economic development efforts, with a focus on supporting Delaware small businesses, innovators and entrepreneurs.

Governor Carney also signed incorporation paperwork creating the Delaware Prosperity Partnership – a public-private partnership that will leverage private sector resources to enhance business recruitment, promote entrepreneurship and innovation, support workforce development efforts, and produce forward looking-analyses on economic trends to best position Delaware’s economy to grow.

Governor Carney Takes Steps to Restructure Delaware’s Economic Development Efforts, Create Jobs
Governor Carney holds signed incorporation documents for the Delaware Prosperity Partnership.

 

Legislation restructuring Delaware’s economic development efforts, and authorizing creation of the partnership, was sponsored by Representative Bryon Short, Senator Jack Walsh, Senator Brian Pettyjohn, and Representative Lyndon Yearick.

Monday’s ceremony was held at the Delaware Innovation Space at the DuPont Experimental Station research campus in Alapocas.

“By restructuring our economic development efforts, we’re positioning Delaware to create good-paying jobs, build an entrepreneurial ecosystem, and ensure that Delaware remains a leading state to do business,” said Governor Carney. “We will partner with private business to draw on new resources, and ideas, for improving our economy. And we will offer new, targeted support for small businesses and entrepreneurs who are responsible for much of our economic growth and job creation. Thank you to members of the General Assembly and members of our Economic Development Working Group for their leadership on this important issue.”

On January 18 – his first full day in office – Governor Carney signed Executive Order #1 to create the Economic Development Working Group and explore a new economic development strategy. The Governor worked closely with members of the General Assembly to approve the concept and funding for the public-private entity, as well as a new division at the Department of State to oversee responsibilities for small business development and tourism.

Governor Carney’s plan to fundamentally restructure Delaware’s economic development efforts includes two significant elements:

  • Creation of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership to partner with private business to improve how Delaware attracts new business and job growth, and;
  • Creation of a new Division of Small Business, Development, and Tourism within state government to offer targeted support for small business owners, entrepreneurs, and minority-owned businesses.

Governor Carney will co-chair the board of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership. The partnership – which will be run day-to-day by a chief executive officer and a full-time staff – will lead business marketing efforts for the state, with a focus on attracting early-stage and technology-focused businesses, recruitment of large employers, and expansion of international business opportunities for Delaware companies. Its leaders also will work with employers and Delaware educators to fill key talent gaps in the state, and conduct forward-looking economic analyses to inform its work. The state will jointly fund the partnership’s operations with private business.
Delaware’s new Division of Small Business, Development, and Tourism will provide guidance to small business owners on how to navigate local, state and federal laws and regulations. The division will help small businesses identify resources such as local incubator programs, financing, and networking events. It also will improve the state’s outreach to women and minority entrepreneurs, and veteran-owned businesses. And division leaders will oversee Delaware’s taxpayer-funded incentive programs for job creation.
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, and of the Economic Development Working Group, a panel chaired by Dr. Mark Brainard, President of Delaware Technical Community College, and Rod Ward, President and CEO of CSC.

Reaction to Governor Carney’s signing on Monday:

“This legislation is forward-thinking and recognizes the changes that need to take place to foster economic development in our state,” said Representative Bryon Short, D-Brandywine Hundred. “I am encouraged by the focus on innovation and entrepreneurship with the new partnerships under this office and look forward to see new opportunities in Delaware going forward.”

“It’s more clear than ever that we need to adapt to a changing economy,” said Senator Jack Walsh, D-Stanton. “That means attracting new businesses, helping startups and small businesses flourish, and supporting the best-in-class workforce that made us the world’s leading economy in the first place. This will give Delaware a faster, more nimble and responsive means of interacting with potential clients. In each case, the public and private sectors need to collaborate to keep us ahead of the ball. The public-private partnership is a win-win that will make our economy more dynamic, lead to better public policy, and equip our workforce with the skills that the new economy demands.”

“Speaking as a former business owner, and as someone who is presently employed in the private sector, I am very enthusiastic about this initiative,” said Representative Lyndon Yearick, R-Dover South. “Bringing experienced business people directly into the process of fostering entrepreneurship is both pragmatic and promising.”

“It has been an honor to work with Rod and so many leaders throughout our state to deliver on the Governor’s first priority – creating an economic development model that will position our state to meet the challenges that lie ahead,” said Dr. Mark Brainard, President of Delaware Technical Community College. “Governor Carney’s vision, combined with his leadership in getting this legislation passed, lays the foundation for continued success in keeping, adding and creating new jobs in the future.”
“The creation of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership is a landmark achievement in the future economic development efforts for the state,” said Terry Murphy, Chairman of the Delaware Business Roundtable and President of Bayhealth. “For the first time, Delaware government, employers and academia are formally cooperating to create a culture of growth and entrepreneurship as we work to expand the state’s economy by attracting jobs, talent and capital investment.”
“Catalyzing innovation and entrepreneurship is critical to our economic success as a state and as a community,” said Bill Provine, President and CEO of the Delaware Innovation Space, who hosted Monday’s ceremony. “The strength of public-private partnerships such as the Delaware Prosperity Partnership and the Delaware Innovation Space enable us to focus and channel our energy together to achieve the best results for all of Delaware.”

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Related news:
Governor Carney Announces Statewide Jobs & Economy Tour
Governor Carney Announces Strategic Plan to Restructure Delaware’s Economic Development Efforts
Delaware Economic Development Working Group Recommends Plan for Public-Private Partnership
Partnership Creates Major Business Incubator & Research Institute at Experimental Station
Governor Carney Signs Executive Order to Explore Public-Private Partnership at DEDO


Governor Carney Signs House Bill 190 to Modernize the Coastal Zone Act

New law will allow responsible redevelopment of 14 legacy industrial sites along coastline

CLAYMONT, Del. – Governor John Carney on Wednesday signed into law House Bill 190 – bipartisan legislation that modernizes Delaware’s Coastal Zone Act. The new law will allow for the responsible redevelopment of 14 legacy industrial sites in the coastal zone, new job creation, and additional environmental clean-up of those legacy sites along Delaware’s coastline.

Governor Carney signs House Bill 190 to modernize the Coastal Zone Act.
Governor Carney signs House Bill 190 to modernize the Coastal Zone Act.

Representative Ed Osienski, Senator Bryan Townsend, Senator Brian Pettyjohn, Representative Debra Heffernan, and Representative Ron Gray sponsored the legislation, which passed the General Assembly with bipartisan approval.

Governor Carney – who called for responsible changes to the Coastal Zone Act during a joint address to the General Assembly in March – signed the legislation at the former site of chemical manufacturer General Chemical in Claymont, now owned by D2 Management.

“This spring, I urged members of the General Assembly to make responsible changes to the Coastal Zone Act that would allow us to create new jobs, while continuing to protect our environment. The responsible changes in this bill meet that test,” said Governor Carney. “By passing this legislation, the General Assembly recognized that we can clean up our abandoned industrial sites, responsibly redevelop them, and put them back to work for Delawareans. This new law will help create good-paying jobs, and help us ensure that Delaware’s economy works for all Delawareans. Thank you to Representative Osienski, Senator Townsend, and all members of the General Assembly for their leadership on this issue.”

“I strongly believe the 46-year-old Coastal Zone Act was – and still is – a landmark piece of legislation. It has limited heavy industry activity to only 14 sites, comprising less than 2% of our total coastal zone, and House Bill 190 does not change that,” said Representative Osienski, D-Newark. “House Bill 190 and the conversion permit it creates will achieve the balance between protecting our coastal zone and allowing responsible companies the opportunity to redevelop on the original 14 sites that were active when the CZA passed in 1971.

“If we are able to convert some of these abandoned brownfields into active industries, these sites could employ hundreds, even thousands, of Delawareans, offering good-paying jobs that could become careers for many. The process of remediating and building up an industry would mean more environmental cleaning and construction jobs. An active industry would contribute personal income taxes, corporate income taxes, and property taxes to our local school districts once again.”

Senator Townsend led the effort to approve the law in the Senate. He said the new law strikes a good balance between economic development and environmental protection.

“These changes to the Coastal Zone Act have been robustly debated, as well they should have been because, nationally, the CZA was and remains landmark legislation. I’m confident that the limited scope of the changes we’re making today and the regulations that will govern them will breathe new life into abandoned industrial sites while staying true to the principles underlying Governor Peterson’s vision,” said Senator Townsend, D-Newark. “It is a vision of balance and of environmental protection, of limited heavy industry along a largely undeveloped coast. We owe it to present and future generations to get that balance, and enforcement, right.”

Governor Carney gives remarks at the House Bill 190's signing ceremony in Claymont, DE.
Governor Carney gives remarks at the House Bill 190’s signing ceremony in Claymont, DE.

“Let’s be clear, the protections for the vast majority of the Coastal Zone will remain in place and unaffected,” stated Representative Gray, R-Selbyville. “This legislation will appropriately channel development to sites which are best situated to support these types of operations. It provides some common sense flexibility, allowing for the clean-up and re-use of industrial brownfields in a way that will lead to the creation of new, quality jobs, while maintaining a commitment to environmental protection.”

House Bill 190 establishes a conversion permitting process, overseen by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), to allow additional industrial development on specific legacy industrial sites within the coastal zone.

“The amending of the Coastal Zone Act continues to realize the original intent of the Act in striking a balance between protecting the natural resources and environment of Delaware’s coastal zone, and spurring our state’s economy,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin.

Companies seeking a conversion permit must submit an application that details the environmental and economic impacts of previous uses and planned redevelopment of the site, a proposal to offset any negative environmental impacts of industrial redevelopment, and a plan to prepare the site for the long-term effects of sea-level rise.

“At D2, we’ve always known the site had great potential, but this legislation was crucial to attract larger industrial tenants,” said Keith Delaney, President of D2 Management, who hosted Wednesday’s signing event at the former General Chemical site. “The passage of this bill is a transformative first step toward revitalizing Delaware’s manufacturing industry and creating many new construction and permanent jobs in the region. We thank the Governor and the legislators for their tremendous vision and support.”

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