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Delaware Senate Republicans

Legislation Introduced to Provide Next of Kin with Delaware or American Flag

March 1, 2024

DOVER, DE – Legislation to provide next of kin of Delaware National Guard, fire or police department members with a flag has been introduced in the General Assembly.

Sponsored by Senator Dave Wilson (R-Lincoln) and Representative Bryan Shupe (R-Milford South), Senate Bill 221 entitles the first immediate living family member or partner of a service individual who passes and has served in either the Delaware National Guard, a police department and/or a fire department for at least ten years to a Delaware or United States flag. The flag may be draped over the member’s casket at a funeral service, as is typically done for deceased military veterans.

“Those who risk their lives to protect our communities deserve to be honored,” Senator Wilson said in a statement. “To some, this may not seem like an important piece of legislation, but paying respects to the deceased service member and his or her family is the right thing to do. In my opinion, such a bill is long overdue.”

Cost analysis for the legislation is still ongoing but is expected to be modest. “I don’t spend taxpayers’ dollars without good reason,” said Senator Wilson. “Volunteer fire services alone save Delawareans millions annually, and the selfless service of those who volunteer make this small gesture of gratitude more than justified.”

The next of kin, defined in the legislation as an “individual who is a surviving spouse, partner, parent, or individual legally entitled to the remains of the deceased person”, would be able to choose which flag is draped over the casket.

“When I served as the mayor of Milford, the city council and I worked closely with the Carlisle Fire Company and our police department,” Rep. Shupe said.  “That experience gave me a firsthand look at the selflessness of the dedicated men and women in both organizations. They, as well as those who have chosen to serve our state in the Delaware National Guard, deserve to be recognized with this token of our appreciation. I am proud to join Sen. Wilson on this bill, and I hope to see it get the bipartisan support it warrants.”

SB 221 was introduced on February 29, 2024, with wide bipartisan sponsorship. It has been assigned to the Senate Elections and Government Affairs Committee.

Senator Wilson represents the 18th Senate District, which encompasses much of Milford, Lincoln, and Ellendale. Rep. Shupe serves the 36th Representative District, which includes southern Milford, Slaughter Beach, Prime Hook, and northern unincorporated Georgetown.


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