By Alison May
Welcome to 2016. As we look ahead to the legislative session of 2016 it's always nice to remember the past. The Early Care and Education project continually tracks introduced and enacted legislation related to a wide range of early care and education including parent engagement and support strategies, prekindergarten, home visiting, and 2015 was no exception.
During the 2015 legislative session, lawmakers introduced nearly 900 bills on the topic of early care and education. Of those, 124 bills have been signed into law in 39 states.
The Early Care and Education 2015 Legislative Action report was prepared using StateNet, a legislative tracking database, to perform bill searches and analysis. This report provides an overview of the significant 2015 legislative enactments in the following major topic areas:
- appropriations and financing.
- child care (subsidy, quality, and access).
- early childhood data strategies.
- early childhood governance and systems.
- early childhood services.
- early childhood workforce.
- home visiting and parent education.
- prekindergarten and school readiness.
The largest number of legislative enactments occurred in the topic area of child care during the 2015 legislative session, which similarly occurred in 2014.
Please take a few moments and read this report. The report is intended to provide an overview of significant enacted legislation in each state. We hope you find this information both interesting and helpful to the work you do every day in your state.
Just to highlight some of the most notable bills of 2015:
- Nebraska LB 81: At redetermination of eligibility, if a family's income exceeds 140 percent of the federal poverty level, requires the family continue to receive transitional child care assistance for up to 24 consecutive months or until the family income exceeds 185 percent of the federal poverty level. Requires the amount of such child care assistance to be based on a cost-shared plan between the recipient family and the state and be based on a sliding-scale methodology.
- District of Columbia B1: Prohibits the suspension or expulsion of a student of pre-kindergarten age from any publicly funded pre-kindergarten program. Establishes annual reporting requirements for each local education agency on suspensions and expulsions data.
- North Dakota SB 2151: Establishes and appropriates $3 million for a public and private early childhood education grant program for 4-year olds. Requires the Department of Commerce to distribute grants and specifies grant amounts.
As states continue moving into the 2016 legislative session remember to frequently visit the Child Care and Early Education Legislation Database which tracks and updates early care and education legislation for the 50 states and the territories. Legislation can be searched by state, topic, status, primary sponsor, bill number or keyword. The database is updated on a biweekly basis and will includes a section of introduced bills of note.
Alison May is a staff coordinator in NCSL’s Children and Families program. Contact Alison.