Governor Carney Signs Legislation to Address Gender Pay Gap

Delaware will become first state to prohibit employers from requesting salary history

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney on Wednesday signed a new law that will prevent employers from requesting the salary history of job applicants and will help close the pay gap between men and women.

Sponsored by House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, the bipartisan legislation – which takes effect in December – also explicitly prohibits employers from screening applicants based on previous compensation history.

Delaware will become the first state to enact such changes into law. Massachusetts passed a similar measure last year that will take effect in January.

“All Delawareans should expect to be compensated equally for performing the same work,” said Governor Carney. “This new law will help guarantee that across our state, and address a persistent wage gap between men and women. Thank you to Representative Longhurst and members of the General Assembly of both parties for your leadership on this issue.”

Governor Carney signs HS 1 to HB 1.
Governor Carney signs HS 1 to HB 1.

“Pay inequity should not exist in the first place,” said Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “Unfortunately, women often have to work harder for our success and to be paid the same as our male counterparts. We still only make 78 cents for every dollar a man makes. This legislation will provide a crucial step toward equalizing wages and eliminating this gap. We owe it to the hardworking women and mothers out there today, and our young girls who will make up our future workforce, to create a level playing field for all of them.”

 

“Closing the wage gap is a major economic issue for our state and we should do everything in our power as legislators to work to even the playing field and empower the next generation of young women,” said Representative Longhurst. “Delaware is making history today, as we will be the first state to have a wage history law in effect. This new law will protect all prospective employees from having their previous jobs’ salary potentially used against them when seeking work. People should be judged and paid based on their qualifications and not have their previous salaries count against them.”

“It’s one thing to say that we need to do better for women; it’s another thing to take action,” said Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry. “HS 1 for HB 1 takes real steps to protect women in the workforce where it often matters most: the hiring table. Without wage secrecy protections, employers are free—and, in fact, have an incentive—to perpetuate substantial, long-term wage discrimination against women. We still have a long way to go, but this will make a real difference not only for women in the workforce, but for the 40 percent of households that rely on a woman as their primary wage-earner.”

“I am proud to be a sponsor of this legislation. All issues as they relate to wages and salary schedules should be gender-neutral,” said House Minority Whip Deborah Hudson. “A person’s gender should not be a factor in what we pay an individual for a particular job. This bill ensures we make that happen.”

“I believe one of my jobs in the Senate is to help create a level playing field for all people,” said Senator Cathy Cloutier. “This legislation is one step closer to true job equality for everyone.”

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First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney Attends Learning Lab on State Strategies to Reduce Childhood Hunger

Delaware one of ten states and territories selected to participate in learning lab

DOVER, Del. – First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney is leading a Delaware team studying how Virginia has leveraged public-private partnerships to ensure school-age children have regular access to healthy meals.

Delaware was one of 10 states and territories selected by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices to participate in a learning lab on state strategies to reduce childhood hunger. Gathered in Richmond Monday and Tuesday, the participating states are learning more about communicating and collaborating to reduce hunger, expanding access to school breakfast, supporting innovation in summer meal programs, and streamlining eligibility determination for free meals.

“[Virginia First Lady] Dorothy McAuliffe has provided inspirational leadership on the issue of childhood hunger, and Share Our Strength and the National Governors Association (NGA) have been tremendous partners in that effort,” said First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney. “I’m privileged to be part of the Delaware delegation to this week’s learning lab, along with Aimee Beam from the Department of Education; Ray Fitzgerald, Director of the Division of Social Services; Charlotte McGarry, Programs Director for the Food Bank of Delaware; and Jon Sheehan, Education Policy Advisor.

“We’ve been encouraged by the many ways that efforts already underway in our State align with national best practices, and I’m so proud to learn from those who have been leading such good work in Delaware. We’ve also picked up a few ideas from other states, especially our friends in Virginia, and it’s exciting to think about how we can, very realistically, build alliances and make progress toward meeting the most basic need of the next generation of Delaware’s workforce and leadership. The quality of our schools and the growth of our economy, as well as public health, depend on our success in that effort.”

“Neither teachers nor students can be successful when hunger permeates our classrooms and homes,” said Governor Carney. “Reducing childhood hunger is a moral, educational, and economic imperative.”

The Governor has tasked the Delaware team – which includes representatives from the Governor’s Office, Delaware Department of Education, Delaware Department of Health and Social Services and Food Bank of Delaware – to develop a comprehensive plan to establish partnerships between districts and charter schools and public-private organizations that will support existing and new initiatives for reducing childhood hunger.

In addition to providing more education and outreach to increase awareness, the team will identify new and innovative ways to increase access to child nutrition programs, specifically for families in rural areas when school is not in session.

Delaware has made progress in recent years. For example, the Community Eligibility Provision – which allows all children in a school to eat for free if at least 40 percent of its population qualifies – has helped more students across Delaware have the opportunity to eat breakfast and lunch at school at no cost. This school year, 115 schools participated in the program, an increase from 96 schools when launched in 2014-15. Delaware is ranked in the top five states for the largest increase in this area.

With the school year ending, the state now is trying to get out the word about the Summer Food Service Program, which aims to provide low-income children nutritious meals when school is not in session. Free meals, which meet federal nutrition guidelines, are provided to all children 18 years old and younger at approved SFSP sites in areas with significant concentrations of low-income children. Last summer, more than 720,000 meals (breakfast, lunch, snack, and supper) were served at more than 350 statewide locations.

“Children who depend on school meals for nutrition during the academic year still have needs when school is out,” said Secretary of Education Susan Bunting. “We must continue to provide nutritious food to children in their own communities so they don’t go hungry during the summer months.”

“Ensuring that Delaware children have access to nutritious food has always been a priority at the Food Bank of Delaware,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “We have advocated for alternative models of school breakfast in all Delaware schools, improvements to the summer and after-school meal programs, and to ensure that both at-risk children and their families have access to healthy foods. We know that good nutrition is needed in order for kids to learn, play and grow. 17.3 percent of Delaware children are considered food insecure so there is still much we can do as a state. We are thrilled that Delaware has this opportunity to learn best practices from other states so that we can best serve our most vulnerable children.”

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Governor Carney Announces Strategic Plan to Restructure Delaware’s Economic Development Efforts

Plan will create new public-private entity and new economic development division at the Department of State

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney announced a plan on Wednesday to create a public-private partnership and strategically realign Delaware’s economic development efforts, with a new focus on promoting innovation, supporting Delaware’s entrepreneurs, and leveraging private sector resources to create jobs and grow Delaware’s economy.

Governor Carney – who signed Executive Order #1 on his first full day in office to explore a new economic development strategy – will work 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.

The plan will reorganize Delaware’s economic development efforts by early 2018.

“We can and should do more to promote innovation, support our entrepreneurs, build and retain a talented workforce in Delaware, and strategically partner with the private sector to grow the state’s economy,” said Governor Carney. “This plan will position Delaware to create good-paying jobs, build an entrepreneurial ecosystem, and keep our state a competitive place to do business.”

Governor Carney’s plan calls for the creation of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership – a jointly funded public-private entity that will lead statewide business marketing efforts to recruit and retain businesses, including early-stage technology-based ventures, as well as large employers. The partnership also would provide support for startup businesses, with a focus on high-growth industries, and work closely with employers and education institutions to build and retain a talented workforce in Delaware.

Governor Carney’s plan calls for $2 million in annual state funding for the partnership, and $1 million in annual funding from private business. Contributions from the state would remain contingent on an ongoing, annual financial commitment from the private sector.

The Delaware Prosperity Partnership would be led by a Chief Executive Officer and governed by a 15-member board with members from the public and private sectors.

Governor Carney’s plan also would eliminate the Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO), and shift responsibilities for small business development and tourism to a new division at the Department of State.

“This is about positioning Delaware to be competitive for good jobs moving forward,” said Jeff Bullock, Delaware’s Secretary of State. “By strategically partnering with the private sector, we can leverage business resources to strengthen the state’s economic development efforts, while continuing to support small business owners and promote our state’s $3 billion tourism industry.”

The new division at the Department of State will maintain a strong focus on supporting small business – especially women, minority, and veteran-owned businesses. It will help business owners identify available resources and navigate local, state and federal rules and regulations.

Division leaders also will administer Delaware’s publicly-funded economic development incentive programs, such as the Strategic Fund, the Main Streets program, and the Blue Collar Workforce Training grant program.

Governor Carney’s plan builds on recommendations last month from the Economic Development Working Group, a committee created by Executive Order #1 to study a new economic development strategy. Exploring a new model for economic development that includes a public-private partnership, and an emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship, also was a recommendation of the Action Plan for Delaware.

Reaction to Governor Carney’s Plan:

“Even with the strongest economy in this region, Delaware can do better,” said Senator Jack Walsh, D-Stanton, a member of the Economic Development Working Group. “Bringing leaders from the private sector to the table adds a valuable new perspective to our economic development strategy and will help make our economy more dynamic over time. At the same time, Delaware is maintaining its firm commitment to empowering women, minority, and veteran-owned small businesses. Not all public-private partnerships are created equal, but the balance that we’ve struck here not only protects existing businesses and jobs, but also gives us a leg up in attracting promising new industries to our state.”

“There were two specific things I was looking for in considering this public-private partnership: One was there be a high level of transparency with the intermingling of public and private funds. I was concerned that it be as transparent as possible so the public would have every confidence that things were being done above board,” said Senator Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown, a member of the Economic Development Working Group. “The second was to be sure this was not a New Castle County only solution for business development and that both Kent and Sussex Counties also had opportunities to reap the benefits of this new structure, proven to work very well in other states. I am satisfied both those conditions will be met.”

“This venture will put Delaware in a position to leverage the best that the public and private sectors have to offer to continue to strengthen and improve our economic climate,” said Representative Bryon Short, D-Highland Woods, a member of the Economic Development Working Group. “I look forward to working with this new partnership going forward.”

“This is not an end, it is a beginning,” said Representative Lyndon Yearick, R-Dover South, a member of the Economic Development Working Group. “Bringing the pragmatic knowledge of entrepreneurs into the process of creating a better business environment is a major step forward. Now we need to do realize the promise this concept holds for creating new, dynamic employment in Delaware.”

“We know that bringing additional, private-sector resources to Delaware’s economic development efforts can help strengthen our state’s ability to create jobs, grow the economy, and equip our workforce with the skills necessary to succeed in our new economy,” said Mark Brainard, President of Delaware Technical Community College, and co-chair of the Economic Development Working Group. “We are excited to support Governor Carney’s plan and look forward to making Delaware even more competitive moving forward.”

“This plan offers a real chance to dramatically re-think the way Delaware does business – by leveraging additional resources, and bringing more ideas to the table as we seek to grow our economy, attract talent to our state, and create good-paying jobs for all Delawareans,” said Rod Ward, President of Corporation Service Company, and co-chair of the Economic Development Working Group. “Private businesses are ready and willing to be a full partner in this effort, and help create the kind of entrepreneurial, innovation-based economy that will lead to real growth.”

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Governor Carney and Legislators Announce Bill to Spur Investment in Innovative, Delaware-based Small Businesses

Bipartisan Angel Investor Job Creation and Innovation Act establishes 25 percent tax credit for investments in innovation

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney and legislators in the Delaware House of Representatives on Friday announced new legislation – the Angel Investor Job Creation and Innovation Act – that would establish a refundable tax credit for qualified investors in innovative, Delaware-based small businesses, to spur job creation and innovation.

The bipartisan legislation, House Bill 170, was filed on Wednesday and is sponsored by Representative Michael Ramone. Additional House sponsors include Representative Bryon Short, Representative Melanie George Smith, and Representative Dave Wilson. Senate sponsors include Senate President Pro Tem David McBride and Senator Cathy Cloutier.

“We should do everything we can to support Delaware’s innovators and entrepreneurs who are leading Delaware’s new economy,” said Governor John Carney. “This legislation would encourage investments in innovative, Delaware-based small businesses and connect our most talented entrepreneurs with the resources they need to be successful. Thank you to all the members of the General Assembly who are leading this important initiative.”

“If we in the state are serious about fostering economic development in Delaware, and I believe we are, then the Angel Investor Job Creation and Innovation Act must take effect sooner rather than later,” said Representative Michael Ramone. “The funding that would be available through this legislation is critical in helping scientific or technology small businesses get off the ground and begin operating. This will be the second time we have tried to enact such a measure. I introduced a similar bill last year and I am hopeful, that with the Governor’s support this year, we can enact this important bill.”

“Startup and fledgling businesses often face difficult times in their early stages. An infusion of capital can be the difference between a company thriving and closing up shop,” said Representative Bryon Short. “By encouraging angel investors through a tax credit program, we could be opening an avenue that gives new businesses that shot in the arm they need at a critical time. This is just one more step we can take to help revitalize Delaware’s economy.”

“Our future rests with people whose names we probably don’t even know, who are creating new breakthroughs in science and technology,” said Senate President Pro Tem David McBride. “But those brilliant innovators need help to take their ideas from the drawing board into our homes and businesses. I think this bill creates an avenue to spur that growth and help keep Delaware’s place as a home of innovation and invention.”

“Government doesn’t create jobs, but it can provide incentives to build the businesses that do. I am very excited about this Angel Investor Job Creation and Innovation Act that could give that extra boost to so many of our promising startup companies,” said Senator Cathy Cloutier. “I’m happy to put my support behind it.”

The Angel Investor Job Creation and Innovation Act would establish guidelines for awarding a tax credit worth up to 25 percent of the investment in a qualified, Delaware-based small business. Businesses receiving the investment must pay decent wages, employ fewer than 25 employees, and engage in innovation in one of several areas as its primary business activity.

Qualified business activities include:

  • Using proprietary technology to add value to a product, process, or service in a qualified high-technology field
  • Researching or developing a proprietary product, process, or service in a qualified high-technology field
  • Researching, developing, or producing a proprietary product, process, or service in the fields of agriculture, manufacturing, wildlife preservation, environmental science, financial technology, or transportation
  • Researching, developing, or producing a new proprietary technology for use in the fields of agriculture, manufacturing, financial technology, or transportation

The Angel Investor Job Creation and Innovation Act has been assigned to the Economic Development Committee in the Delaware House of Representatives.

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Related news:
Governor Carney Announces Partnership Between Tourism Office, State Parks and Geoswap to Promote Delaware
Partnership Creates Major Business Incubator & Research Institute at Experimental Station
Delaware Economic Development Working Group Recommends Plan for Public-Private Partnership
Governor Carney Signs Executive Order to Explore Public-Private Partnership at DEDO