No Kidding! The Children's Alliance blog
The state legislature has missed an opportunity to get more kids and families the preventive oral health care they need.
The dental access legislation, House Bill 1516 and Senate Bill 5433 did not move forward out of their policy committees, despite a large and diverse statewide coalition of health care advocates and the leadership of Rep. Eileen Cody (D-34th) and Sen. David Frockt (D-46th). The Washington State Dental Association is ignoring the input of its own member dentists and is blocking an innovative and evidence-based solution to our state’s dental access crisis.
A licensed dental practitioner remains a viable part of the solution – for the oral health of Washington’s underserved communities and as a workforce opportunity for dedicated dental professionals.
Dental practitioners are already serving tens of thousands of patients in other states. Watch this short video to learn more:
State lawmakers are talking a lot about how to fulfill our Constitutional promise of educational opportunity to Washington’s children. Many of them recognize that we get the greatest return on our educational investment when we fill classrooms with children who are ready to learn.
Brains are like buildings; they rest on the foundation laid down by a child’s earliest experiences. That’s why sound nutrition, healthy mothers, stable living situations and primary care are all so essential. And also why early learning is so important.
So it’s been a great achievement for the Children’s Alliance and our friends to push a new bill through its chamber of origin and on to the Senate, where it will be heard in committee this Friday.
Have you ever asked your state legislator to support a fair and balanced approach to the budget, including closing tax loopholes or new revenue, only to hear them say, “Sorry, my hands are tied”? Well, yesterday morning the Washington State Supreme Court untied their hands.
In a 6-3 vote, the Court ruled that a supermajority requirement – a two-thirds vote – to raise revenue or close tax loopholes is unconstitutional. This is good news for kids!
The court opinion states that the Supermajority requirement enabled a “tyranny of the minority” – referencing the fact that a minority of legislators - as few as 17 individuals in the Senate – could block legislation to close tax loopholes or raise revenue.
Over the past seven days we have been privileged to take part in some prominent events that highlight the needs of hungry children.
Leaders from the faith community, charitable organizations and community groups have joined us in calling on state leaders to fight childhood hunger by restoring State Food Assistance.
Last Tuesday, we released a community letter asking legislators to “restore the integrity of our food security system” by fairly funding the program, which was cut in half last summer. The cut took food off the tables of nearly 14,000 children.
Last Tuesday, legislators on the House Health Care & Wellness Committee heard voices from across the state speak to a proven solution to the crisis in dental care:
“Alone, terrified, and in excruciating pain, my brother passed away. He was only 23 years old.” Jaydra Cope, (Spokane), whose brother Dalton died in 2006 due to complications of a dental abscess.
This week’s celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. coincides with the second week of the state legislative session. That’s an apt coincidence.
Because the question legislators are facing – how to make sure that every child has the opportunity of an education – is one that Dr. King would have deemed worthy of considerable thought.
Lawmakers began the 2013 legislative session in Olympia last week – a session that will be marked by a lot of dialog about our state’s commitment to educational opportunity for all children. New data should help elected officials see the potential for early learning to maintain our commitment to that opportunity.
Children's Alliance looking out for kids in Olympia battles | Seattle Times | 01-13-2012
Alliance staff spent this past summer gathering input from partner organizations, parents and others so that it could present a unified agenda. They want the Legislature to fight childhood hunger, invest in early learning, strengthen Apple Health for Kids, expand access to dental care and stop cuts and raise revenue. Gould intends to remind legislators of the many studies that show children learn better when they are well fed and healthy.
Apple Health for Kids, Washington’s health coverage program for children, has won $12 million from the federal government for connecting more children to health care.
The Obama Administration awarded the money, a performance bonus, to Washington on Wednesday. Our state was among 23 states nationwide to earn bonuses for getting more children enrolled in health coverage.
Note: Yesterday Children’s Alliance staff sent the following letter to Congress members representing Washington state.
Dear Members of the Washington State Congressional Delegation,
At the Children’s Alliance, we believe policies and programs at every level of government should work for kids. We also believe in a fair economy and sound investments. The best way to ensure we remain a strong nation ready to take on tomorrow's challenges is by investing in our children today.
We have the ingenuity and resources in this country to ensure all kids get a fair chance. Yet, continued cuts to smart investments threaten our future. Austerity measures disproportionately impact children color – the fastest growing population in the country – thus stifling our economic potential.
The dust stirred up by Election 2012 is starting to settle. We know who will be in the White House and representing Washington State in the 113th Congress.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Members of the 112th Congress still have some work to do.