Friday, February 7, 2014

2014 legislative session update

Feb. 7 is the first "cutoff" date for the 2014 Legislature. That means that all bills must be voted out of  the policy committee where they started. View the 2014 Legislative Cutoff Calendar here.

Several early learning-related bills are still being considered, including bills relating to:

Child health

  • House Bill 2643, sponsored by Rep. Jessyn Farrell, D-Seattle, and requested by Gov. Jay Inslee, focuses on childhood obesity prevention by promoting breastfeeding-friendly environments, healthy early learning environments, and healthy school environments.
  • House Bill 2329, sponsored by Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane, would establish the Breastfeeding Friendly Washington program as a voluntary program to recognize hospitals, health care providers, employers, and child care programs that meet identified criteria to support breastfeeding.

Child safety

  • House Bill 2165, sponsored by Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-Lake Forest Park, would require the Department of Early Learning (DEL) to conduct child fatality reviews for fatalities that occur in licensed child care or state-funded preschool.
  • House Bill 2919, sponsored by Rep. Elizabeth Scott, R-Monroe, and Senate Bill 6234, sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, would require DEL to consult with county or city officials before requiring any alterations to a family home child care facility.
  • House Bill 2695, sponsored by Rep. Kagi, would require DEL to: 
    • Provide information on safe sleep practices to applicants for a child care license. 
    • Assess for safe sleep practices during all licensing monitoring visits.
    • Revoke a child care license the second time a provider is found in violation of safe sleep practices.
  • Senate Bill 6093, sponsored by Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Kitsap County, and House Bill 2350, sponsored by Rep. Tana Senn, D-Mercer Island, would reduce duplication in the background check system for child care employees who work in school district or educational school district settings. (Agency-request legislation)
Improving quality in early learning programs
  • House Bill 2377, sponsored by Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, and Senate Bill 6127, sponsored by Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Bellevue, would ramp up participation in Early Achievers, Washington's quality rating and improvement system, and would require child care programs serving state-subsidized children to join Early Achievers. The bills also instruct DEL to create a single set of regulations for early learning programs.
  • House Bill 2519, sponsored by Rep. Senn, and Senate Bill 6538, sponsored by Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, would direct family assessment response workers working with families involved in child welfare services to assess for child well-being and safety and refer families to high-quality early learning services.
Early learning system building efforts