In this edition, you'll find articles comparing state budget and revenue solutions as lawmakers head toward a possible special session. You'll also read about an upcoming national campaign to raise parents' awareness of the well-researched benefits of early learning and a blog post on the nationwide call to Congress to preserve access to nutritious food for the nearly 1 in 4 children who faced hunger this past year.
Actually, lawmakers will adjourn Sine Die sometime today. They're required to formally close-out the regular 60-day session. But then Governor Chris Gregoire will call a special session. I'm hearing that lawmakers are likely to take off the next
three days and reconvene Monday (or maybe Tuesday) for an additional
week of work to agree on and pass the supplemental budget and tax plan.
It appears the clock will run out on the 2010 legislative session without a budget and tax deal. The legislature is scheduled to adjourn at midnight Thursday night. But Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate say they won't wrap-up in time.
There’s an old saying about the dynamics of the Washington
State Legislature: It’s Republicans against Democrats, the House
against the Senate and everybody against Seattle. But as the regular
session of the legislature nears its end and a special session to work
out the differences between Democrats seemed almost certain, the usual
tension between House and Senate is being overshadowed by ideological
divisions within each of the chambers.
Nearly 17 million U.S. children (almost 1 out of every 4
children) faced hunger at some point last year. ... By law, Congress
has got to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act every 5
years. We need to make sure the Child Nutrition Act doesn’t expire when
families need it most!
Both chambers of the State Legislature have now passed revenue
measures needed to maintain basic public services like health care and
education while the economy recovers. While these packages are an
important step toward addressing our economic problems, both are
insufficient given the scale of the current crisis.
There was a lot of talk two months ago about making deep cuts
in spending and reducing the size of state government to help close a
$2.8 billion budget shortfall. ... Yet as the legislative session nears
an end, spending is on track to increase. Lawmakers are planning cuts
but have apparently set aside efforts to streamline state government
that many feel could ease future budget problems.
If lawmakers in Olympia want to go home on time, they’ll have
to deal with plenty of problems beyond taxes. The two chambers have a
huge job left to reconcile their budgets; each involves spending about
$30.5 billion, but they are far apart in key areas.
We need to do more to give children the best start possible.
Young children learn more and do better in school and, ultimately, in
the workplace when they move seamlessly from home to other early
learning settings and to the early grades. Unfortunately, far too few
children experience such seamlessness, thanks to a disconnected and
deficient educational system that moves them from one place and grade
to the next with no sense of continuity. These trends are changing
Proof that the government can be responsive to activists'
requests: the Obama administration has just revised America's fifty
year-old poverty line to reflect the costs of housing, health care,
transportation, proper nutrition, childcare and taxes, along with the
extra income households receive from food stamps, housing vouchers and
other forms of public support.
To maximize the benefits of pre-kindergarten investments,
states need to create policies that define and support teacher quality,
according to a report released today by Pre-K Now, a campaign of the
Pew Center on the States. The report reviews research on training for
pre-k teachers and concludes that educators with at least a bachelor’s
degree coupled with specialized training in early childhood are best
able to foster development of the cognitive, social and emotional
skills children need to be ready for kindergarten.