Legislative Analysis

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On January 23 Governor Carney gave the 2020 State of the State Address before a joint session of the General Assembly.  He struck an optimistic note, announcing a $200 million budget surplus (based on December 2019 forecasts). The Governor also announced plans for a $50 million investment in clean water projects upon enactment of House Substitute 1 to House Bill 200  Key excerpts from the address follow: 



Wilmington Schools


“While students across our state need our attention, students in the City of Wilmington need our help the most. That’s why, just yesterday, we announced our plan to invest $50 million to build a new school on the East Side of Wilmington. And to renovate Bayard on the West Side. All across Delaware, from Dover to Middletown to Rehoboth, we’ve built or renovated nearly 30 beautiful schools in the last three years. Our children in Wilmington deserve no less.”


Renewable Energy 

Delaware has made great strides over the last decade to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and we should continue to be a leader on this issue. We plan to work with my friend Senator McDowell to set a new Renewable Portfolio Standard. By 2035, we want 40 percent of Delaware’s energy to come from renewable sources.


Clean Water Infrastructure


“A healthier Delaware starts with our most basic and valuable resource: water. It’s critical that we protect that resource for future generations. From the Brandywine to Rehoboth Bay to Trap Pond, we have beautiful natural areas in our state. And we all agree that families in Blades, here in Dover — and across our state — deserve to know that the water coming out of their faucets is clean. That’s why we’re partnering with Representative Longhurst and Senator McBride to invest $50 million in clean water. Building off the work of Senator Townsend’s Clean Water Task Force, we’ll create a Clean Water Trust Fund, and we’ll have a special focus on low-income communities. Taking care of our environment is one of the most important obligations we have as elected officials. This is a historic investment that will make a big difference in the lives of Delawareans, in our economy, and in our environment. I hope you’ll join me in making this a priority.”


Opportunity Funding

“The promise we made three years ago to our children is probably the most important of all. We promised that at the end of our term, more children would be graduating ready for what comes next. And with a sense of promise about the future. Today I can report that graduation rates for low-income students and English learners are the highest they’ve been in 10 years. Today, for the first time in our state’s history, we’re targeting resources toward these students who need our help the most. We call it Opportunity Funding. My budget will continue this investment, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because the future of our state depends on the success of our children.”


Pre-K Expansion

“We know that an early start is key to this success. That’s why, over the next three years, we’ll increase state-funded ECAP pre-k seats by 50 percent statewide.”


Strong and Growing Economy

“At the end of three years as your Governor, I’m pleased to report that the state of our state is strong and getting stronger. But we’re not stopping there. In my budget next week, we’re proposing $50 million in capital investments to further strengthen our economic infrastructure. These investments are all designed to shift our economy into a higher gear. Many emerging companies have outgrown the Experimental Station or the Star Campus. So we’re investing in lab space where they can keep growing here in Delaware. We’ll create a Site Readiness Fund, so we can quickly convert existing properties to meet the needs of prospective employers. And we’ll expand the EDGE grant program, to encourage even more small businesses to grow and innovate. Our goal is simple: We want companies to start here, to stay here, and to grow here.”


Transportation Infrastructure

“Delawareans also expect to be able to get to and from work quickly and safely. That’s why we’re investing $4.5 billion over the next six years to modernize our roads, bridges, and public transit.”


Technology Infrastructure

“New investments in our technology infrastructure have already brought high-speed internet to the areas around Laurel, Seaford and Bridgeville – where service was spotty or nonexistent. This is also helping family-owned businesses like Ellis Farms, a poultry and grain business in Millsboro. They rely on high-speed internet to collect data and drive farming operations. Projects are scheduled in Kent County in the coming weeks.”


Gun Safety

“Thanks to Representative Bentz and members of the General Assembly in both parties, we passed the Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act and another, similar red flag law. The idea behind both pieces of legislation was really simple. We should keep firearms out of the hands of those intent on harming themselves or others. Family members and mental health providers can now raise a concern, and a judge decides whether to intervene. These laws have already been used 35 times to date. And they have helped save lives. But we know we can do more. I encourage every member in this chamber to support legislation that would ban so-called ghost guns, and high capacity magazines. These bills are just common sense.”


Literacy – First Lady Initiatives

“I want to take a moment to highlight the good work of my wife Tracey. Tracey’s First Chance Initiative focuses on hunger, trauma and early literacy. In partnership with the Food Bank, our libraries and other non-profits, Tracey is leading efforts to ensure that our children come to school ready to learn and thrive. One of the best ways to achieve that is a simple one: Give children books. I’m proud to announce that with the leadership of State Librarian Annie Norman, we’re launching a pilot of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Participating children will receive one book each month from birth to five years old – free of charge. The program will be centered in 13 public libraries covering thousands of children in five targeted school districts. We’re also working with Delaware’s pediatricians to get books to families right from the start. These efforts will help families build home libraries that could span generations.”


Foster Care – Higher Education

“I think we can all agree that our children should be our focus. And there are perhaps no children more vulnerable than those in our foster care system. Mayda Berrios is in the audience today. Mayda spent several years in foster care and graduated from St. George’s. Today, she’s a sophomore at Delaware State, and president of a campus organization that mentors children in foster care. Mayda has had to pull together the funds to pay for college. In keeping with Tracey’s goal of giving every child a “First Chance” of success, we’re working with Representatives Griffith and Longhurst and Senators Poore and Lockman to help students like Mayda. Our proposal will waive tuition and fees at Delaware Tech, Delaware State, or the University of Delaware for students who age out of foster care.”


Also of note was the passage of legislation which would repeal the controversial Kent County Lodging Tax.   Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 178, enacted in 2019, gave Kent County the authority to levy a lodging tax of 3 percent.  The controversial aspect of this legislation was the fact that the proceeds of the tax were dedicated to the Delaware Turf Complex in Kent County, a private entity.   Upon returning in January, the sponsor of the bill, Senator Trey Paradee, introduced legislation which repealed the initial statute.  The bill passed the Senate on January 16  and was released from the House Administration Committee on January 22.