Late last week, the regular legislative session ended, and Governor Jay Inslee called legislators back to work, starting this Wednesday, to accomplish the critical task of writing the next two-year operating budget.
State legislators and engaged Washingtonians have made tremendous progress over the past four months in building the kind of future Washington’s kids deserve. Both chambers of the Legislature passed their respective versions of the Early Start Act, which makes historic investments in the first five years of life.
Thought it didn’t become law, legislators considered the link between child nutrition and student success with the Breakfast After the Bell initiative. They discussed workforce changes to our oral health care system so that kids and families have access to affordable, preventive care.
Policymakers have also been engaged in a critical discussion about revenue. That’s important because investing in our children takes changes to our outdated, upside-down tax system. These discussions will continue over the next 30-day session. Lawmakers will also come to a final budget agreement affecting the thousands of children in food-insecure households who use State Food Assistance to help make ends meet. And they will set policy and funding priorities for quality early childhood education when they pass a final version of the Early Start Act.
Advocates from across our state have spoken up for kids—and made tremendous progress. The Seattle Times understands that the Early Start Act makes critical investments in the stability of our youngest generation. House and Senate budget leaders are hearing about the need to fully restore basic programs for kids.
There are victories ahead of us to fight for. In the coming weeks, our advocacy matters perhaps more than ever. We’ll be counting on you to speak up to our elected officials in order to close the gaps in opportunity and raise the bar for all.