Governor Carney Signs Legislation to Raise the Minimum Wage to $15

WILMINGTON, Del. – Alongside labor leaders, advocates and members of the General Assembly on Monday, Governor John Carney signed legislation to gradually increase Delaware’s minimum wage to $15.

“Delawareans who go to work full time shouldn’t be living in poverty,” said Governor Carney. “I am proud to sign Senate Bill 15 today, gradually increasing the minimum wage to $15. Thank you to Senator Walsh and Representative Brady for their leadership, other members of the General Assembly, Union advocates, and everyone else striving to make Delaware the best place to live, work and raise a family.”

“For the American economy to work for everyone, one thing must be true: that if you work hard day-in and day-out, you’ll be able to earn enough to live with dignity,” said Senator Jack Walsh, the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 15. “Today, Delaware’s workers are a monumental step closer to that reality. Our grocery store clerks, supply chain workers, janitors and long-term care workers showed up to keep our economy open during the pandemic. With Senate Bill 15, we are showing how much we value them with more than platitudes, but with the kind of living wage they’ve earned with their hard work.”

“Raising the minimum wage will help ensure that working people share in Delaware’s post-pandemic economic recovery. A higher minimum wage will put more money in the pockets of the very same customers that small businesses rely on, and it will reduce strain on the social safety net and state spending on programs to aid people who don’t earn enough to live on,” said Representative Gerald Brady, the prime House sponsor of Senate Bill 15. “This legislation is also a major step toward restoring the promise that a job brings with it a fundamental level of dignity and peace of mind for every Delawarean. Thank you to Governor Carney for signing this bill into law and helping to bolster economic security for so many Delaware families.”

“Today is a reason to celebrate. On behalf of the Delaware AFL-CIO, we congratulate Governor Carney signing SB 15, increasing the minimum wage for Delaware’s working families,” said James Maravelias, President of Delaware AFL-CIO. “The labor movement has long advocated that working people share in the wealth we help create and our incomes should rise with increased productivity. Increasing the state minimum wage is a positive step in that direction that it benefits all Delawareans.”

“This is a great day for Delaware and small businesses across the state who advocated raising the minimum wage to boost the economy,” said Alissa Barron-Menza, vice president of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. “Workers will be able to spend more at local businesses and fairer pay will bring lower employee turnover and increased productivity. Raising Delaware’s minimum wage will help businesses and communities thrive.”

“Raising the minimum wage will promote a more robust economic recovery from the pandemic for working people and businesses,” said Kristen Deptula, owner of the Canalside Inn, in Rehoboth Beach. “And more businesses will experience the positive connection between better pay, better employee retention, and better customer retention.”

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

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Delaware Captive Insurance Legislation Signed by Governor

State’s dormancy laws now offer greater flexibility

With the Governor’s recent signature, Delaware’s Captive Insurance Division is celebrating increased flexibility in its offerings to captive insurance companies. Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 36 allows captives to be classified as registered series, offers clarity to provisions regarding insuring a parent company, and allows for a captive to enter dormancy after 12 consecutive months of inactivity, rather than requiring a calendar year of inactivity.

“We continue to work to streamline processes to maintain our status as one of the most attractive captive domiciles,” shared Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro. “In the past, if a company stopped writing insurance business mid-year, they would need to wait 18 months to file for dormancy in order to satisfy the calendar year provision and become eligible, and requiring the captive to pay premium taxes and continue to submit statements to the department during that period. Prior to this change, it may have been easier for captives to dissolve than elect dormancy and later return to the market.”

SB 1 for SB 36, sponsored by Senator Trey Paradee and Representative Bill Bush, is the result of a multi-year effort, after legislation did not proceed during 2020’s truncated session due to COVID-19. The Department of Insurance convenes stakeholder groups to discuss legislative proposals, and had many conversations with the DCIA, Delaware’s Captive Insurance Association, about the bill.

“The DCIA thanks Governor Carney, the sponsors of the bill, and Insurance Commissioner Navarro for their support of the captive insurance industry,” Joanne Shaver, President of the DCIA, said. “The DCIA believes these changes are beneficial to captive owners, especially with respect to Delaware’s dormancy statute. The change to a continuous 12-month period allows a captive to enter dormancy status sooner than it would have been able to previously. This change will make it more favorable for captive owners to elect dormancy status over dissolution of the captive, especially when the owner isn’t 100% sure they want to dissolve their captive immediately.”

In 2020, Delaware’s robust captive insurance program contributed $2.9 million to the state’s General Fund and $1 million to the City of Wilmington. The division licensed 70 new captives last year, which may be the most reported by a U.S. domicile.

The success of the Captive division continues to earn international recognition. Delaware was recently named a finalist for Non-Asian Domicile of the Year by leading industry magazine Captive Review and was a finalist for 2020 International Insurance Domicile of the Year.

Captive insurance companies, which are owned by the entities that they insure, are usually formed by businesses that wish to better manage the cost and administration of their insurance coverage. Delaware is the world’s fifth largest and the third largest U.S. captive domicile, with 783 active captives and $5.4 billion in gross written premiums. It is one of four domiciles in the world recognized by the International Center for Captive Insurance Education as ICCIE Trained. To learn more, visit captive.delaware.gov.


Governor Carney Signs Fiscal Year 2022 Operating and Capital Budgets

Largest infrastructure plan in Delaware history will invest in roads, schools, clean water, broadband

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney on Wednesday signed a $4.7 billion Fiscal Year 2022 operating budget for the State of Delaware, a sustainable financial plan that makes historic investments in Delaware public schools and sets aside $286 million in new savings to prepare for future economic and revenue downturns. 

The operating budget, House Bill 250, includes funding for expansion of Delaware’s Opportunity Funding program to provide additional classroom-based support for low-income students and English learners statewide. By Fiscal Year 2025, funding for the program will more than double to $60 million annually.

Also on Wednesday, Governor Carney signed a $1.3 billion capital budget — the largest capital infrastructure plan in Delaware’s history. Senate Bill 200, the capital budget, includes more than $245 million for school construction statewide and makes significant investments in roads and bridges, farmland preservation, clean water upgrades, economic development, state parks improvements and high-speed broadband expansion in rural communities. 

“This is a sustainable budget that makes investments where they’re needed most, including in our public schools statewide, and prepares us for the future,” said Governor Carney. “We’re also making our largest-ever infrastructure investments, which will create good jobs and attract economic investment across our state. And we worked with legislators to set aside additional reserves to make sure we’re again prepared next time we face a crisis. I want to thank the chairs and members of the Joint Finance and Bond Bill committees for their thoughtful work on this budget in such an unusual year.”

Click here to view the Fiscal Year 2022 operating budget.

Click here to view the Fiscal Year 2022 capital budget.

Click here to view photos from the signing ceremony.

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Governor Carney Signs Legislation to Expand and Make Permanent Opportunity Funding in Schools 

Senate Bill 56 expands and makes permanent supports for low-income students and English learners

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Wednesday signed legislation to increase classroom-based support for low-income students and English learners in Delaware public schools.

Senate Bill 56, sponsored by Senator Laura Sturgeon, expands and makes permanent Delaware’s Opportunity Funding program. The weighted funding program provides direct, classroom-based support for low-income students and English learners. By Fiscal Year 2025, funding for the program would more than double to $60 million annually.

Learn more about how public schools are using Opportunity Funding to support low-income students and English learners.

“My top priority has remained the same. We need to make sure that Delaware’s most disadvantaged students are getting the education they need and deserve. This legislation will help us live up to that promise,” said Governor Carney. “Our Opportunity Funding program is already providing direct, classroom-based support for low-income students and children who are still learning English. Senate Bill 56 will expand those efforts. We’ll also look closely at how schools are using this new funding, and make sure we know what’s getting results for Delaware students – and what’s not. Thank you to Senator Sturgeon and members of the General Assembly for their overwhelming, bipartisan support of this legislation.”

Watch the signing ceremony or view photos from the event.

“Whether it’s one-on-one time after school for extra help or access to a good counselor to work through trauma, or smaller class sizes to help with focus and attention, these Opportunity Funds will allow schools to address the needs of our most vulnerable students,” said Senator Laura Sturgeon. “I am proud to have sponsored SB 56 as an important step toward closing the achievement gap and I thank Governor Carney for signing this legislation into law today.”

“The operating budget for Fiscal Year 2022 and Senate Bill 56 will go a long way toward addressing long standing inequities in how we fund education in Delaware by recognizing the simple fact that students facing the greatest challenges require extra support to succeed,” said Senator Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman. “These bills represent an important step forward, but they are not the end of our journey. We owe it to our children to make even more targeted investments that will support students with the greatest need and undertake deeper systemic reforms in the coming years.”

“The opportunity funding is a very important first step to making our state’s education funding system more equitable, flexible and responsive to student needs,” said Representative Nnamdi Chukwuocha. “It truly puts our students first and provides the flexibility needed at the school level to promote student growth and development.”

“Today, we are at a key moment in history for public education in Delaware, with many different efforts converging around the same goals of access, equity, early intervention, and resources for underserved communities. SB 56 and the expansion of the Opportunity Funding program is a key component of this progress,” said Representative Kim Williams. “Real change is within our reach for the first time in many, many years, and I truly believe that we will achieve the progress that our children and families have been waiting for.”

“During my tenure as superintendent of Indian River School District, I watched as our English learner population continued to grow and our schools were challenged to meet those increasing needs with no additional state support,” said Susan Bunting, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education. “This funding is significant, not just because of the dollar amount but because of the lives it will change, the children who will receive the supports they need so they can succeed. This is changing their lives and their families’ lives, and ultimately the future of our communities and state.”

“With increased funding for more EL teachers and resources by signing SB 56 into law, thousands of students and their families will have more opportunities to break barriers, and help create a better Delaware for all of us,” said Kimberly Stock, Delaware’s Teacher of the Year. “Governor Carney, on behalf of all the Delaware educators and our EL students, I thank you.”

“SB56 is a major accomplishment, signaling that Delaware is addressing historic education funding disparities for students who come from low-income communities and those who receive ELL services,” said Dorrell Green, Superintendent of Red Clay School District. “The fact that Delaware has formally put permanent weighted funding into law is progress towards helping so many at-promise students reach their full potential. Governor Carney’s signing of the legislation demonstrates his commitment to children statewide.”

“We are encouraged by the passing of SB 56 and the permanent funding for our highest needs students,” said Stephanie Ingram, President of the Delaware State Education Association. “We thank Delawareans for Educational Opportunity, the Delaware NAACP, and the ACLU for bringing this issue forward and fighting to have Opportunity Funding become permanent. We thank the members of the General Assembly and the Governor for quickly responding to the terms of settlement so that the schools and the children that need this funding the most have it as they return to the classroom this Fall.”

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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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