Legislative Updates

These updates are brought to you by the United Ways of Washington and Thrive by Five Washington. We provide you with easy to understand, up-to-date information on key early learning discussions and actions taking place in Olympia by policymakers so that you can be empowered to take action and speak up for the early learning issues you care most about. We encourage you to forward these updates to your networks with citation. Click here to see previous legislative updates. During regular legislative session, updates are sent every week on Friday.

2014 Legislative Agenda

2014 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
United Ways of Washington (UWWA) is the statewide association for 23 of Washington’s local United Ways.
United Ways in Washington State are committed to improving lives by mobilizing the caring power of
communities to advance the common good in the areas of education, income and health. United Ways of
Washington and local United Ways believe that to keep our communities strong, we need to prioritize
services to help vulnerable populations, notably children and seniors.

Early Learning:

Ask: Continued investments in quality early learning programs are necessary particularly in increased
access to ECEAP, quality child care, home visiting, and expansion of WaKIDS.

Research overwhelmingly demonstrates that quality early learning is the best long-term investment that
government can make to increase positive social and economic outcomes in a child and family’s lives and, at
the same time, decrease overall… Continue reading

Leg Update #15 2013 Wrap-up 7/15/2013

CONTENTS

Note: This message concludes the 2013 legislative session updates. Thank you for your continued advocacy and dedication to these important issues. 


SPECIAL SESSION UPDATE

Budget negotiations conclude—final 2013-2015 budget approved. The state legislature approved a 2013-2015 operating budget on Friday, June 28 ,during its second Special Session thus averting a shutdown of state government on June 30, the last day of the fiscal year. The Democratic-led House and the largely Republican Majority Coalition Caucus in the Senate agreed on a $33.5 billion two year budget. This budget includes an expansion to early learning services and about $1 billion in new funding in K-12 education in response to a State Supreme Court ruling that the state was not amply funding K-12 education. Governor Inslee signed the budget… Continue reading

Leg Update #14 Week 15 of Session Friday, 4/29/2013

CONTENTS


SINGLE BEST INVESTMENT OF THE WEEK:

Remind your elected officials that high-quality early learning is a successful strategy to save our state money in the long run and to improve outcomes for children. Urge them to include investments in the programs and services you care about most in the final budget.

Why does high-quality early learning matter?

  • The neurological and economic research is compelling and broad-based. Investing in our youngest learners sets our kids up for success in school, leads to greater positive life outcomes like high school and college graduation and higher paying jobs, and reduces negative life outcomes like teen pregnancies, crime, and welfare dependency.
  • Neuroscience research shows brain development is the most intense the first three years of life where the brain is more… Continue reading

Leg Update #13 Week 14 of Session Friday, 4/19/2013

CONTENTS

NOTE: The next update will be sent Monday, 4/29. Sine Die (or the adjournment of regular session) is scheduled for Sunday, 4/28. We will report on Monday, 4/29, whether special session (an extension of work time for the legislature) is needed to finalize the 2013-15 state budget.


SINGLE BEST INVESTMENT OF THE WEEK:

Urge your legislators to invest in getting our kindergarteners off to a strong start by continuing expansion of full-day kindergarten (FDK) and fully funding WaKIDS to keep pace with FDK expansion.

What is full-day kindergarten (FDK) and why is it important?

  • Traditionally, Washington state has funded part-day kindergarten in its public schools. While some school districts have independently offered FDK either through local levy resources or by parental pay, until education reform legislation… Continue reading

Leg Update #12 Week 13 of Session Friday, 4/12/2013

CONTENTS


SINGLE BEST INVESTMENT OF THE WEEK:

Urge your elected officials to include enhancements to ECEAP, home visiting, and full-day kindergarten in the final 2013-2015 state budget.

Why speak up for these three items?

  • There is broad support for enhanced investments for these three important early learning items shown by their inclusion in at least two of the three major budget proposals. Reminding legislators that you support for these items is critical in order to ensure the investment amounts are not severely lowered during budget negotiations.
  • All three proposals include significant increases to ECEAP, our state’s comprehensive, proven high-quality preschool program. The Governor’s proposal includes a $35 million increase to buy 3,035 additional slots and an increase per slot rate. The Senate Majority Coalition’s proposal shows… Continue reading

Leg Update #11 Week 11 of Session Friday, 3/29/2013

NOTE: The next update will be sent 4/12. There will be no legislative update next week on 4/5 due to staff being out of the office.

CONTENTS


SINGLE BEST INVESTMENT OF THE WEEK:

Tell your elected officials that increased state investment in our state’s home visiting programs is needed to strengthen the bond between parents and children; reduce rates of child abuse and neglect; and increase school readiness. These state investments support families in the earliest and most crucial moments of a child’s life and leverage private match dollars when deposited in the Home Visiting Services Account.

What is home visiting?

  • Home visiting is a voluntary program where trained professionals visit pregnant women and/or parents of young children in their own homes to share information and provide support, coaching,… Continue reading

Leg Update #10 Week 10 of Session Friday, 3/22/2013

CONTENTS

SINGLE BEST INVESTMENT OF THE WEEK:

Tell your legislators you support HB 1369 which strengthens the family connection component of WaKIDS, our state’s kindergarten transition process. HB 1369 will help teachers honor parents as their children’s first and most important teachers and improve the effectiveness of WaKIDS implementation.

What does HB 1369 do?

  • HB 1369 makes it easier for parents and teachers to meet at the start of the school year by allowing the meetings to take place during non-instructional days (i.e. days of no class). Per HB 1369, schools could have up to five days for this family connection component of WaKIDS.
  • These meetings benefit families by giving them an opportunity to begin the relationship with the teacher focused on the child’s strengths.… Continue reading

Leg Update #9 Week 9 of Session Friday, 3/15/2013

CONTENTS


SINGLE BEST INVESTMENT OF THE WEEK:

Contact your elected officials to voice your support for proven early learning programs that give our most vulnerable children a stronger chance for success in school and life. ECEAP, home visiting, Working Connections Child Care, and WaKIDS are all critical investments..

Why does this message matter now?

  • Budget negotiations will soon intensify. A clearer picture of our state’s budget gap will emerge next week with the 3/20 release of the latest revenue forecast. This forecast will reflect the most up-to-date state revenue projections as well as caseload demands. This information will help determine the investment levels in areas such as K-12 education, our correctional system, and programs such as Medicaid. Release of the revenue forecast is the unofficial kickoff to earnest… Continue reading

Leg Update #8 Week 8 of Session Friday, 3/8/2013

CONTENTS

SINGLE BEST INVESTMENT OF THE WEEK:

Remind your elected officials that high-quality early learning opportunities for our most at-risk children are a top priority. High-quality early learning experiences are the foundation for success in school and life.

Why does high-quality early learning matter?

  • The early years are a critical and unique time. Brain development is the most intense  in the first three years of life. The brain is open to learning from positive experiences and more vulnerable to adverse conditions. What happens early in life has a profound impact on limiting or expanding a child’s academic, social, and physical potential (WA State Birth-to-3 Subcommittee Recommendations, p.5).
  • Wherever children are – quality matters. Whether at home with a parent, relative, or nanny,… Continue reading

Leg Update #7 Week 6 of Session Friday, 3/1/2013

CONTENTS


SINGLE BEST INVESTMENT OF THE WEEK:

Urge your elected officials to meet the statutory deadline that all children may be served by the state’s high-quality comprehensive preschool, ECEAP, by the 2018-19 school year. ECEAP’s research demonstrates that by the end of the school year significant gains are achieved in learning, health, and social-emotional outcomes. Currently ECEAP serves only 37% of all eligible 3- and 4-year-olds, thus meeting the 2018-19 deadline will require accelerated expansion of the program.

What is ECEAP?

  • The Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) is Washington State’scomprehensive preschool program that serves vulnerable 3- and 4-year olds.  Its whole-child approach contains three primary components: 1) preschool (minimum of 320 hours a year); 2) family support services; and 3) health and nutrition.… Continue reading