SENATE BILL NO. 372
AS AMENDED BY
SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 1
HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 1
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 29 OF THE DELAWAR CODE RELATING TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE :
Section 1. Amend Chapter 25, Title 29 of the Delaware Code by adding thereto a new Section, designated as Section 2509A, which new section shall read as follows:
‘SECTION 2509A. POLITICAL ACTIVITY OF STATE DEPARTMENT
OF JUSTICE EMPLOYEES.
(a) Employment by the State Department of Justice does not affect any right or obligation of a citizen under the Constitution and laws of the United States or under the Constitution and laws of this State.
(b) Except as otherwise provided in this section or by federal law, an individual employed by the State Department of Justice may freely participate in any political activity, may vote in an election, and may express opinions on political subjects and candidates.
(c) With the exception of the Attorney General himself or herself, no attorney or other employee regularly employed by the State Department of Justice may:
(1) use his or her official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election or a nomination for office;
(2) use his or her official authority or influence for the purpose of directing or coercing another to contribute anything of value, including but not limited to money, services, or time, in support of a political party, political organization, or political candidate;
(3) engage in political activity while on duty in the employment of the State Department of Justice;
(4) directly or indirectly solicit, receive, collect, handle, disburse, or account for assessments, contributions, or other funds for a partisan political purpose during working hours;
(5) organize or reorganize a political party organization or political organization during working hours;
(6) organize, sell tickets to, or promote a fund-raising activity of a candidate in a partisan election or of a political party or political organization during working hours; or
(7) be a candidate for or hold any elected state or local office provided however, any attorney or other employee regularly employed by the State Department of Justice shall request a leave of absence in accordance with State Department of Justice personnel policies to be a candidate for any elected state or local office and such leave request shall not be denied, except that any such attorney or employee shall resign if he or she is a candidate for the office of Attorney General.
(d) In addition to the provisions of subsection (c) above, no individual employed as Chief Deputy Attorney General or Division Head shall directly or indirectly give, pay, lend, or contribute money or any other thing of value to or for the benefit of a candidate for any elected state or local office or to any political party or political organization in support of such candidate, or for any other political purpose intended to support such candidate.
(e) As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:
(1) “Political activity” means participating in any activity in support of or in opposition to a political party or partisan candidate for public or political party office, including but not limited to writing or distributing statements in support of or in opposition to a candidate, initiating or circulating a partisan nominating petition, contributing money or anything of value to or for the benefit of a candidate, and soliciting votes of support for a candidate. “Political activity” does not include registering or voting in an election, or expressing opinions on political subjects or candidates.
(2) “Division Head” means the State Prosecutor, State Solicitor, Director of the Fraud Division, Director of the Appeals Division, any Assistant Division Head, Chief County Prosecutor, or Division Director created by statute or policy of the Attorney General.
(3) “Local office” means local office as defined in Section 101(11) of Title 15, school board elections, political party office, or other public elected office.
(f) In addition to any penalty contained in any other provision of law, any employee subject to the provisions of this section who knowingly violates a provision of this section may be subject to disciplinary proceedings by the State Department of Justice or as otherwise provided by law.
Section 2. This Act shall take effect on January 1, 2007.
Approved July 10, 2006