Legislative Update, Plus an Advocacy Opportunity

The legislative session marches on! Lots of early learning action to report, but first – an advocacy opportunity for one and all.
We are collecting early learning stories to share with legislators. These can be the stories of families, providers, children, community members and more. The only requirement is that they speak to the critical role of high quality early learning in the lives of children in Washington. We will use these stories to make the case to policy makers about the need to significantly invest in early learning this legislative session.

Share your story

Here’s guidance on how to create and submit your story and here’s an online form if you’d prefer to submit it that way. Stories are due by March 3!

Now back to the legislative session!

Early Start
The Early Start Act passed out of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education committee. The only “no” vote was Senator McAuliffe (D-Bothell). If you’re anxious to get into the weeds, read the complete Senate Substitute bill (it’s a new version) and the Senate bill report. If you’d rather stay out of the weeds, here are the changes that the Senate policy committee made to the bill:

  • Removal of ECEAP full day requirement. The original version of the bill required ECEAP providers to offer a full day option by 2018. This provision remains in the House version of the bill, but it has been removed from the Senate version.
  • Delay of 12-month authorization until January 1, 2016. Families who attend programs through Working Connections Child Care would be eligible for 12 months of care regardless of changes in their eligibility. This would simply delay implementation of that provision until next January.
  • Incorporation of House amendment on tribal participation in Early Achievers. This would allow federally recognized tribes to govern participation in Early Achievers through an inter-local agreement between the tribe and DEL.
  • Incorporation of a House amendment to create a process for nationally accredited programs to be integrated into Early Achievers
  • Removal of the provision requiring DEL to implement an electronic time and attendance records system.

Updates on other bills
Read summaries of each bill

  • Bright Futures aka Universal Developmental Screening (HB 1365/SB 5317): This bill has passed out of both policy committees in the House and Senate. We are now waiting for it to get a hearing in the House Appropriations and Senate Ways and Means committees.
  • Dual Language Immersion (HB 1783/SB 5675): This bill passed out of the House Education Committee and is waiting for a hearing in the House Appropriations Committee.
  • Native Early Childcare and Education (SB 5160): This bill had a hearing in the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Committee on Feb. 16. No further action has been taken at this time (as of Feb. 19, when I’m writing this blog). This likely means that the bill will not meet the cut-off &mdash meaning, it will not move forward this session.

As always, more to come! We will keep you posted on new developments.