Advocacy Team has been working to advance our legislative priorities, all of which are funding-focused. This means we, alongside our partners, are working directly with legislators to ensure our priorities are represented in the budget. Many of you directly contributed to these efforts last week by attending BrightSpark Advocacy Day. Stay tuned because we anticipate budgets to be released from the House and Senate in mid-February.
On the policy side of things, we are tracking nine (9) policy bills that remain active and up-for-debate at this time. This number is significantly reduced from our last issue, noting that 11 policy bills have not advanced past the legislature’s self-imposed deadlines for action. The issues that still have traction include:
- Expanding access to child care by streamlining eligibility for Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) and Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) with federal or state basic food benefit programs as well as expanding certain WCCC eligibility provisions (HB 1945 & HB 2124).
- Increasing capacity to conduct timely fingerprint-based background checks (SB 5774).
- Updating ESIT enrollment count requirements to ensure that providers receive funding for the first month of services (HB 1916).
- Reducing costs for providing child care by eliminating annual licensing fees for providers and expanding the business & occupation tax exemption (SB 6038).
- Strengthening funding for early learning facilities (HB 2195).
- Streamlining and clarifying requirements for subsidy programs (HB 2111 & SB 5941).
- Updating membership and other requirements for the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Work Group (HB 2256).
We have 29 days remaining to encourage maximized investment in the child care sector. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com if you have any questions.
Read on to see BrightSpark’s public hearing actions during the first two weeks of session.
1/29 Ways & Means (Senate)
- SB 5774 – Increasing the capacity to conduct timely fingerprint-based background checks for prospective child care employees and other programs. (Sign in Pro)
1/31 Appropriations Committee (House)
- HB 1916 – Concerning funding for the early support for infants and toddlers program. (Sign in Pro)
2/2 Appropriations Committee (House)
- HB 1945 – Streamlining and enhancing program access for persons eligible for food assistance. (Sign in Pro)
- HB 2124 – Supporting and expanding access to child care and early learning programs. (Sign in Pro)
Thank you for Attending BrightSpark Advocacy Day
Last week we hosted an amazing group of advocates at the Washington State Capitol to help make the case for an amply-funded, equitable, and accessible early learning system in Washington state. We had a group of 64 adults, 5 children, and met with 42 total legislators! Amazing stories were shared, relationships were made, and the energy was contagious all over the capitol campus full of BrightSpark advocates.
Thank you to each and every one of you who made the drive to Olympia and spent the day advocating! Your voices matter!
We will be sharing a survey asking for feedback about Advocacy Day 2024 so check your inboxes for that quick survey link coming to you soon!
Meet the Advocacy Team!
We are here to provide you with the tools, opportunities, and experience so that you have everything you need to get involved in the legislative process. Your voice matters, and we want to help amplify your message!
- Donny Willeto (she/her) joined BrightSpark in 2020 and serves as the External Affairs Officer overseeing Advocacy, Public Policy, Marketing, Communications, and Fund Development. Donny is excited to lead this team of amazing and driven advocates and mobilizers. Community centered work is Donny’s passion so being able to connect our early learning communities to decision makers aligns well with her 15 years of nonprofit experience.
- Logan Endres (he/him) joined BrightSpark in 2023 and serves as the Director of Advocacy & Policy. Logan is a communicator and advocate with over nine years working in education and government systems. The 2024 session will be his first with the early learning sector. Logan believes in the power of civic engagement and works to support legislative outcomes that ensure equity and justice.
- Jaymie McLaughlin (she/her) joined BrightSpark in 2019 and serves as the Mobilization Coordinator. Jaymie is looking forward to building on the continued momentum within early learning advocacy by drawing on the strengths of King and Pierce counties. Building relationships and connecting constituents to their elected officials is key to making us stronger together. Deconstructing the mystery of advocacy and building confidence in advocates is what she is most passionate about.
Getting involved with advocacy can feel a bit overwhelming – that’s why we are here to help! Check out these resources to learn a little bit more about how to advocate for the issues you and your community care about: