Kagi-, Farrell-sponsored bills aimed at helping children both head for State Senate after passing House

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Rep. Ruth Kagi D-32
Bills sponsored by 32nd District State Rep. Ruth Kagi and 46th District State Rep. Jessyn Farrell both aim to help children.

A Kagi-sponsored measure hopes to close the opportunity gap. It is one of several that cleared the House this week with the aim of boosting families.

Kagi said that her bill would help Washington state take a giant step toward preparing all kids for success in kindergarten and beyond.

House Bill 1723, sponsored by Kagi, aims to create integrated, high quality early learning opportunities, for children from birth to age 5, to be financed in large part by anticipated tax revenue from the 2012 legalization of marijuana under Initiative 502. The bill, called Early Start, passed the House 59-38 Wednesday.

“We want to give our kids – all our kids – a fair chance to succeed in school and in life,” Kagi said. “Unfortunately, many 5-year-olds, especially from poor families, aren’t as well-prepared for success as their more privileged classmates when they arrive at the kindergarten door. My ‘Early Start’ bill helps close that opportunity gap, which means more high-achieving and productive students, graduates and, ultimately, citizens of our state.”

The measure is mainly focused on children in low-income families, and addresses home visits to expectant mothers and parents of newborns, increasing subsidies for high quality child care subsidies, and expanding preschool education.

In a hearing on the bill last month, Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza told a House committee that although he voted against I-502 last year, he could not think of a better use of the money anticipated from taxes on the now-legal recreational marijuana industry than investing in Early Start.

Another bill that passed Wednesday was House Bill 1671, sponsored by Farrell, D-to improve the Working Connections Childcare Program that helps low-income families pay for child care while they work or look for work, and streamlines eligibility for this service. It passed 55-42.

Kagi is a Democrat who represents Shoreline, part of Northwest Seattle, Woodway, south Edmonds, Lynnwood, part of Mountlake Terrace and the rest of the 32nd Legislative District.

Farrell is a Democrat representing Lake Forest Park, northeast Seattle and the rest of the 46th District.


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