WFIS is a longtime member of ELAA (Early Learning Action Alliance) a broad coalition of organizations representing a diverse array of Washington nonprofits, professional associations, and businesses united by the belief that all children in Washington state deserve to have the opportunities and support they need in their first five years of life to be prepared for school and a bright future.
Details from ELAA’s email update on week 5 of the legislative session are shared below.
- Fair Start for Kids Act: Representative Senn’s Fair Start for Kids Act, SHB 2661, had a great hearing in House Appropriations but did not make it out of the committee before fiscal cutoff. The fiscal note was posted following the hearing and is available here.
- Community-based pathways: Representative Dent (R – 13th District) amended HB 2556 to include ELAA’s community-based pathways priority. The amended bill was passed unanimously by House Appropriations and then voted off the floor unanimously.
- Child care access for families experiencing homelessness: Representative Callan’s HB 2456, expanding the Working Connections Child Care grace period for families experiencing homelessness to 12-months, was voted off the floor with 60 votes in favor and 37 votes in opposition. Senator Nguyen’s companion bill SB 6351 was amended in Ways & Means to include 6-months rather than 12-months and then referred to the Rules Committee. We remain united in our support for 12-months of continuous care.
- Dual language learning: Senator Wellman’s SB 5607, starting the early learning dual language grant program, was passed by Ways & Means and is waiting to be pulled from the Rules Committee to the floor.
- Take steps now to address the broken market:
- Increase Working Connections Child Care rates so providers can keep their doors open and serve more families. The relationship between caregivers and children is cornerstone for development and learning, and yet it is increasingly challenging for early learning providers to make ends meet. Early learning providers must be adequately resourced and compensated.
- Invest in a complex needs fund for the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) to support 3,700 children with high risk factors, significant trauma, and barriers to school readiness.
- Adjust the co-payment structure for Working Connections Child Care to address the co-pay cliff. For too long, parents scraping by at or near minimum wage have had to turn down promotions for fear of losing child care—because policymakers designed a payment cliff that hardworking people can’t climb up. That hurts families and economic productivity—which hurts us all.
12:00-1:30 – Block Fest on Capitol CampusFun stations and more in the Washington Room on the Capitol Campus.1:30 – STROLL Through the Capitol to the StepsWe will take a stroll with music and chanting from the Sundial in between the legislative buildings so that legislators in committee hearings will see us “strolling” and end on the Capitol steps for the rally.2:00 – Rally on the Steps
Hear from parents, providers, and advocates who want quality early learning access for all Washington families. Hear from Lawmakers about why they are prioritizing child care access.
- Attend mid-session town halls for key decision makers and ask questions that communicate the urgent need for investments in early learning.
- 3rd LD Town Hall (Sen. Billig, Rep. Ormsby): Feb. 22, 10-11:30 a.m. at the Woman’s Club of Spokane ballroom (1428 W 9th Ave., Spokane).
- 5th LD Town Hall (Rep. Callan): Saturday, February 22nd
- Maple Valley: 9:30-10:30am, Tahoma High School Performing Arts Center (23499 SE Tahoma Way, Maple Valley, WA 98038)
- North Bend: 11:30am-12:30pm, North Bend City Hall (920 SE Cedar Falls Way, North Bend, WA 98045)
- Issaquah: 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm, Blakely Hall At Issaquah Highlands (2550 NE Park Dr, Issaquah, WA 98029)
- 27th LD Town Hall (Sen. Darneille): Feb. 22, 10 a.m.-noon at Eastside Community Center (1721 E 56th St, Tacoma)
- 36th LD Town Hall (Rep. Tarleton): Feb. 23, 2-4:00 p.m. at the Lagunitas Taproom in the Free-Lard area (1550 NW 49th St., Seattle)
- 41st LD Town Hall (Rep. Senn): February 22, 10:00am—11:30am at Bellevue College, Room N201 (3000 Landerholm Circle SE, Bellevue)
- 43rd LD Town Hall (Rep. Chopp): Saturday, February 22nd 1:30 – 3pm at Seattle First Baptist Church (1111 Harvard Ave, Seattle, WA 98122)
- Contact budget decision makers! Now is the time to connect with leaders in the House and Senate and members of both fiscal committees to be sure they know about the urgent need for investments in early learning. Here are some key decision makers to contact:
All members of House Appropriations, but especially:
|Ormsby, Timm (D)||03||2||JLOB 315||(360) 786-7946||Timm.Ormsby@leg.wa.gov||Waechter, Shannon
|Robinson, June (D)||38||1||JLOB 332||(360) 786-7864||June.Robinson@leg.wa.gov||O’Farrell, Kim||Kim.O’Farrell@leg.wa.gov||H|
|Sullivan, Pat (D)||47||2||LEG 339A||(360) 786-7858||Pat.Sullivan@leg.wa.gov||Roberts, Lesley||Lesley.Roberts@leg.wa.gov||H|
|Chopp, Frank (D)||43||2||LEG 429A||(360) 786-7920||Frank.Chopp@leg.wa.gov||Lugo, Daniel||Daniel.Lugo@leg.wa.gov||H|
|Macri, Nicole (D)||43||1||JLOB 311||(360) 786-7826||Nicole.Macri@leg.wa.gov||Lipsou, Penny||Penny.Lipsou@leg.wa.gov||H|
|Pettigrew, Eric (D)||37||2||LEG 434B||(360) 786-7838||Eric.Pettigrew@leg.wa.gov||Odem, Erika||Erika.Odem@leg.wa.gov||H|
|Jinkins, Laurie (D)||27||1||LEG 339C||(360) 786-7930||Laurie.Jinkins@leg.wa.gov||Dasch, Ann||Ann.Dasch@leg.wa.gov||H|
All members of Senate Ways and Means are important too, but especially:
|Rolfes, Christine (D)||23||JAC 303||(360) 786-7644||Christine.Rolfes@leg.wa.gov||Anderson, Haylee
|Frockt, David (D)||46||JAC 224||(360) 786-7690||David.Frockt@leg.wa.gov||Chindavongsa, Crystal||Crystal.Chindavongsa@leg.wa.gov||S|
|Billig, Andy (D)||03||LEG 307||(360) 786-7604||Andy.Billig@leg.wa.gov||Connolly, Noelle
|Dhingra, Manka (D)||45||JAC 239||(360) 786-7672||Manka.Dhingra@leg.wa.gov||Jackson, Ashley||Ashley.Jackson@leg.wa.gov||S|
|Keiser, Karen (D)||33||JAC 219||(360) 786-7664||Karen.Keiser@leg.wa.gov||Minich, Jennifer||Jennifer.Minich@leg.wa.gov||S|