Delaware adjourned its 2018 legislative session sine die on June 30. According to the Governor’s office, Governor John Carney (D) signed approximately 153 pieces of legislation during the session. On June 28, Carney signed a $4.2 billion dollar state budget and a $49 million supplemental appropriation for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. Budget highlights include a 2-percent general salary increase for educators, $3.8 million to fund growth in Delaware’s early learning centers, $1.4 million to expand substance abuse treatment, and $285,000 to expand resources for substance-exposed infants.
- On June 30, Carney signed a 12-week paid parental leave bill for public employees, which goes into effect on April 1, 2019. The new law (HB 3) states that all full-time state employees, including school district employees, who are continuously employed by the state for at least one year shall be eligible for 12 weeks of paid leave upon the birth or adoption of a child aged 6 years old or younger. Delaware is now the sixth state to offer paid parental leave to public workers.
- On June 14, the governor signed legislation (HB 300) that bans bump stocks. The bill makes it a crime to sell, transfer, buy, receive, or possess a trigger crank or bump-fire device designed to accelerate the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle, making such a weapon function more like an automatic weapon.
- Carney also signed a bill (HB 222) that allows the Superior Court to issue lethal violence protection orders that enable family members or law enforcement officers to show that individuals pose a danger to themselves or others by owning, possessing, controlling, purchasing, or receiving a firearm.
- The governor signed a new minimum wage law (HB 483) that creates a training minimum wage and a youth wage that are not more than $0.50 less than the minimum wage rate. The new training minimum and youth wages go into effect on January 1, 2019. Also, SB 170, which was signed on July 1, increases the minimum wage to be paid in the State beginning in 2018 and ending in 2021. The first minimum wage increase to $8.75 an hour goes into effect this year. The second increase to $9.25 becomes effective 2019; the third to $9.75 in 2020; and the fourth to $10.25 in 2021.
Although Carney will not be on the ballot this year, Delaware residents will head to the voting booths on September 6 for their primary election and November 6 for the general election, where they’ll cast their ballots for a number of statewide offices, including attorney general, treasurer, and auditor. Additionally, 10 out of 21 state senate seats will be decided, as will all 41 state house seats.