Friday, February 22, 2013

Legislature reaches first major deadline; key early learning bills still "alive"

Feb. 22 is the first "cutoff" of the 2013 legislative session. This is the day that bills without fiscal impact must be voted out of policy committee. The session cutoff calendar, which outlines key deadlines, is online here.

A summary of the current status of key early learning-related bills is on DEL's website here. Among the issues being considered:

  • House Bill 1369 would allow kindergarten teachers to use up to five days at the beginning of the school year to meet with families and learn about the children they will be teaching. These "family connection" meetings are a key component of the Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS) and teachers say the meetings help them know their children better and inform their instruction.
  • HB 1723 would establish the Early Start program to provide a continuum of high-quality early learning opportunities for families. Among its provisions, the bill would enhance child care subsidy rates, increase funding for birth-to-3 programs, and create a legislative task force on early learning.
  • HB 1671 and Senate Bill 5595 have to do with child care subsidy reform. They have each been amended in different ways, but both would create a parent and provider oversight board to provide feedback to DEL and the Department of Social and Health Services on consumer issues.
  • Gov. Jay Inslee has requested two bills (House Bill 1872 and SB 5755) that seek to improve educational outcomes in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). DEL would be included in a STEM Education Innovation Alliance to support STEM education and would be part of a STEM benchmark report on the state's efforts.
Learn more about the legislative process and check out the Legislature's pilot project for commenting bills online at  

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