This month, the Partnership has been hard at work advocating for early childhood care and education throughout the halls of the General Assembly. While the Partnership staff is in regular communication with General Assembly members and aides, we were excited for the opportunity to bring together Promise Advocates for two February Partnership events.
First, Promise Advocates delivered Valentines and handmade messages created by young children across the Commonwealth on Valentine's Day to all member offices. The next week, we held our first annual Virginia Promise Partnership (virtual) General Assembly Advocacy Day.
Virginia Promise Advocates delivered Valentines and handmade messages created by young children across the Commonwealth on Feb. 14 to all members of the Virginia General Assembly.
During our Advocacy Day event, attendees heard from leading Virginia policymakers, learned more about the latest General Assembly activity on early learning policy, and shared their stories on the importance of quality child care. Attendees heard from
Secretary of Education Aimee Guidera as well as Sen. Monty Mason (D-Williamsburg)
and Sen. Barbara Favola (D-Arlington)
on the child care and early education policy landscape.
We were also honored for the Partnership to be introduced on the House and Senate floors by Early Childhood/Innovation Subcommittee Chair, Del. Carrie Coyner (R-Chesterfield), and longtime early learning advocate
Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) (video clips below!). A full recording of our Advocacy Day program can be seen HERE.
Del. Carrie Coyner (R-Chesterfield) introduces the Virginia Promise Partnership on the House floor as a part of our General Assembly Advocacy Day program.
Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) introduces the Virginia Promise Partnership on the Senate floor as a part of our General Assembly Advocacy Day program.
ECE BILLS ADVANCE AS GENERAL ASSEMBLY REACHES CROSSOVER
February 15 marked "crossover" in the 2022 Virginia General Assembly session - the last day for the House and Senate to vote on bills introduced in their own chamber. We are thrilled to report that several bills the Partnership supports have passed out of their respective chambers and moved forward in the legislative process. This includes bills that would:
- Establish more robust regional public-private child care resources and infrastructure
- Improve and streamline the background check process to address child care staffing shortages while upholding the safety of Virginia’s children
Take steps to expand Child Care Subsidy Program benefits to members of the Armed Forces
- Require the Virginia Board of Education to include at least one representative each with experience or expertise in early education, local government, and career and technical education
Aim to expand the pool of available child care programs by permitting rental agreements to allow for the operation of licensed child care programs by tenants out of their apartment units
All of these updates (and more!) can be seen through our "2022 General Assembly Tracker." Check out our tracker through the button below:
Don't forget to review what we support and are advocating for in order to reach our bold goal through our "2022 Session Priorities," available through the button below:
This year's legislative session will run for 60 days and is expected to conclude in mid-March. We will continue to update our legislative tracker throughout the term and look forward to sharing more updates on progress made toward our bold goal!
HOUSE, SENATE RELEASE PROPOSED BUDGETS
The House Appropriations and Senate Finance and Appropriations Committees released proposed House and Senate budgets on February 20. Release of these initial proposals kicked off a deliberation process whereby select members of the House and Senate - known as "budget conferees" - will work through differences in the proposals to develop a compromise budget.
A high-level overview of key early learning provisions in the House and Senate budgets is outlined in the chart below. Of note, the House budget also includes several amendments supported by the Partnership, including language streamlining the background check process to address child care staffing shortages as well as language extending expanded child care subsidy eligibility to families earning up to 85% of the state median income.
Be sure to check out updates on the status of relevant budget amendments in our "2022 General Assembly Tracker."
As the conference process begins, we will continue to advocate for robust early childhood care and education funding and language to strengthen Virginia's early learning system. Be on the lookout for Action Alerts to communicate our priorities to budget conferees in the coming days and weeks ahead!