Things are moving and shaking in Olympia, and now — more than ever — it’s important that legislators hear from you. We’ve reached a crucial inflection point in the legislative session; the number of bills has been whittled down significantly as they worked their way through their respective policy committees, funding committees, and then to the floors of the House and Senate. A handful of exciting and hugely important early learning bills survived this process, including the Early Start Act, which made it through both chambers with flying colors (aka strong bipartisan support).
Now bills will move into opposite chambers. But perhaps more important, the budget process is about to commence! What does this mean? Everything that makes it through the policy process will now have to find its way into the budget (if it has associated costs). This is a particularly critical time for the Early Start Act, as its success requires funding commensurate with its ambitious and exciting policy provisions. These provisions include continuation of Early Achievers, support for low-income and linguistically diverse providers within Early Achievers, continuity of care for families using Working Connections Child Care, and much more.
There are a number of ways you can plug in:
- Start by looking at how your legislators voted in the House and the Senate. If they voted yes, send them a thank you note and urge them to prioritize early learning in the budget.
- Attend your local legislator’s town hall. Most town halls are taking place Saturday, March 14. Call the legislator’s office for location and time, then show up and ask him or her to fund early learning in this year’s budget.
- Keep circulating this petition urging legislators to significantly invest in our littlest learners.
- And finally, don’t forget to share your early learning stories. You don’t need to live near Olympia to make your voice heard!