Sunday, February 4, 2018

Early learning and early intervention bills we are tracking in 2018

Now until February 14 is a critical time to act

A bill is a draft of a proposed law. These bills have cleared the initial policy committee hurdles; some still need to clear fiscal committees. Once these hurdles are met, a Rules Committee will decide when and whether to present them to the full chamber for a vote.

If you see a bill you care about, please contact your legislators. You can click on the “Comment on” links here, or call the Legislative Hotline at 1.800.562.6000.

For TTY-ASSISTANCE: 1.800.833.6384 (voice) or 1.800.833.6388 (TTY).


HB 2659 - Expanding eligibility for the early childhood education and assistance program
SPONSORS: Goodman, Kagi, Lovick, Kilduff, Appleton, Valdez, Ortiz-Self, Wylie, Hudgins, Senn, McBride, Doglio, Pettigrew, Frame

Modifies the family income limit for Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) eligibility from 110 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to 185 percent of FPL. Adds prioritization criteria for ECEAP enrollment. Phases in biennial funding and extends the date for full statewide implementation of ECEAP from the 2022-23 school year to the 2028-29 school year.

STATUS: Did not pass out of  Appropriations by Feb. 6 cutoff.

NOTE: Up to 10 percent of statewide ECEAP enrollment can be children who do not meet income requirements but are experiencing other risk factors that could interfere with school success, such as developmental delay, disability, or other multiple needs. Expanding ECEAP will increase the number of early learning slots potentially available to young children with disabilities or developmental delay.

A separate bill is in the Senate that would allow ECEAP providers more flexibility in filling classes. Please see SB 6419, below.


HB 2861 - Expanding the provision of trauma-informed child care
SPONSORS: Ortiz-Self, Lovick, Klippert, Kilduff, Kagi, Frame, Jinkins, Macri, Kloba, Pollet, Goodman

Establishes an advisory group to develop a 10-year strategy to expand training and awareness in trauma identification and positive behavior supports in early learning environments to reduce expulsion rates of children exhibiting social, emotional and behavioral challenges. The advisory group must include someone with expertise in developmental disabilities.

STATUS: Passed the House 70-27, with 1 excused. Passed the Senate 35-14. Signed by the governor on March 22. 

SB 6257 - Providing early intervention services for eligible children
SPONSORS: Billig, Zeiger, Kuderer, Keiser, Palumbo, SaldaƱa

As the state lead agency, the Department of Children Youth and Families must oversee the provision of early intervention services for children with disabilities from birth through two. Starting July 1, 2019, school districts may provide these early intervention services but are no longer required.

STATUS: Passed Senate, 46-0, 3 excused. Passed the House 79-19. Signed by the governor March 23. 

A companion bill, HB 2650 (Sponsors: Stonier, Harris, Dolan, Appleton, Jinkins, Bergquist, Wylie, McBride, Doglio, Eslick, Slatter, Goodman, Santos) did not move out of committee. 


SB 6419 - Concerning access to the Washington early childhood education and assistance program
SPONSORS: Rolfes, Zeiger, Billig, Wellman, Conway, Darneille, Kuderer, Palumbo, Walsh

The bill allows flexibility to ECEAP providers to include children whose family income is above 110 percent of the federal poverty level if the number of such children equals not more than 25 percent of total statewide enrollment. Children who are over income must be homeless or impacted by specific developmental or environmental risk factors that are linked by research to school performance.
Provides that children included in ECEAP under these provisions are not to be considered eligible children for ECEAP or part of the state-funded entitlement. Allows for enrollment of these children on a space available basis.

STATUS: Passed Senate, 45-1, 3 excused. Passed the House 70-28. Governor signed March 21.

NOTE: The change could open some inclusive early learning slots for young children with likely disabilities or developmental delay.

SB 6458 - Concerning additional enrichment levy amounts to fund early learning programs
SPONSORS: Billig, Mullet, Wellman, Rolfes, Liias, Kuderer

Increases the maximum dollar amount a school district may collect through its enrichment levy by $0.25 per $1,000 of assessed values. Requires the additional levy amount to be used exclusively for high quality early learning programs.

STATUS: Did NOT come up for a vote. 
A companion bill, HB 2898 (Sponsors: Kagi, Senn, Pettigrew, Sullivan, Eslick, Valdez, Pollet) was heard in committee, but no action was taken. 

- Ramona Hattendorf, Director of Advocacy
The Arc of King County