The 2013 Session ended Thursday at midnight and there were a number of great wins for children, families, and our communities. Thanks to everyone who responded to our Action Alerts this session! Your engagement was an important part of our overall success. Please take the time to thank your elected officials for representing you up on the Hill.
Early Childhood Education
After years of advocacy efforts, we were successful in securing $7.5 million in ongoing funds for optional extended-day kindergarten. While we will continue to keep an eye on the program, we will not have to fight year after year to secure funding.
As reported last week, unfortunately, SB71, Results-based Financing for Early Childhood Education, sponsored by Senator Aaron Osmond and one of United Way’s top priorities, was voted down on the Senate floor 11 to 18. Deborah Bayle, UWSL President and CEO, submitted a letter to the editor regarding the outcome and made a public pledge on behalf of United Way to continue to develop data-driven legislation so that all children have the chance to succeed from cradle to career.
2-1-1 Information and Referral Network
In the final budget bill, 2-1-1 Information and Referral Network received $250,000 in onetime funds. The successful passage of SB56 and subsequent funding will help strengthen this statewide network. This was a great win for United Way 2-1-1! A big thanks to President Wayne Niederhauser and Senator Todd Weiler for their commitment to the program.
Earned Income Tax Credit
HB197, Earned Income Tax Credit and Related Funding, sponsored by Representative Eric Hutchings, successfully passed the House but was not prioritized for funding and was held in Senate Rules Committee. This was a great win for the EITC! Efforts will be spent over the summer to find a way to fund the program, which is proven to lift families out of poverty.
You can view all the bills United Way prioritized this year and where they ended up in the process by viewing the last bill tracker of 2013. Thank you for being an advocate for United Way!
We look forward to engaging you over the interim as we plan and get ready for next year on the Hill!