Housing & Homelessness
The House Appropriations Committee has restored funding to the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) and Support And Services at Home (SASH) that was cut in the Governor's Recommended FY20 Budget. At the same time, the Senate Economic Development Committee has started to work on a housing bill that could include a new housing bond and other critical investments. For more information, contact Erhard Mahnke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Up Funding
The House Appropriations Committee has agreed with the Governor's Recommended FY20 Budget to take "savings" from Reach Up caseload reductions to help balance the state budget. It also has accepted the proposal to end the Reach Up case management contracts with the Parent Child Centers and instead have the case management done from Agency of Human Services regional offices. Alliance members will be actively working to oppose these proposals as the Senate takes up the budget. For more information, contact Michelle Fay at email@example.com.
Family & Medical Leave Insurance
H. 107, the family and medical leave bill, was voted out of the House Ways and Means Committee 7-4-0 on Friday after undergoing several changes. Their draft of the bill can be found here. It is currently being discussed in the Appropriations Committee, after which it would go to the House floor for a vote. FaMLI Coalition members and staff have been actively involved in discussions with policymakers about these changes, advocating for a strong bill that will support small businesses, employees, and Vermont's communities. The bill continues to be the basis for a strong insurance program. To show support for this bill or for a summary of the current version, contact Molly Gleason at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Farm to School and Early Childhood
The Governor's Recommended FY20 Budget would decrease funding for Farm To School and Early Childhood (FTSEC) by $50,000 from FY19. Advocates are pushing to restore this funding and also to increase funding by $75,000 for FY20. The House Appropriations Committee voted last week to restore the $50,000, so the House budget will reflect a level fund from FY19 to FY20. The FTSEC campaign team hopes to secure additional funding in the Senate budget. For more information, contact Cynthia Greene at email@example.com.
Children's Integrated Services (CIS)
The CIS program got a strong vote of support by the House Human Services and Appropriations Committees, which both rejected the cut to CIS funding proposed in the Governor's Recommended FY20 Budget. The House budget restores the cut and directs Vermont's Child Development Division to use the funding to increase provider rates. Unfortunately, the House budget does not increase CIS funding over current levels, though House members are increasingly supportive of the program. Advocates are working to build support for the program in the Senate, where several members have spoken out strongly in support of CIS. For more information, contact Pam McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Child Care Financial Assistance Program (CCFAP), TEACH Scholarships, and Loan Repayment Support
The House Human Services Committee drafted and unanimously passed H. 531, which starts to set a core commitment to Vermont's children and the early care and learning workforce by making an important step forward in addressing our state's child care crisis. The bill invests additional funds to strengthen the Child Care Financial Assistance Program (CCFAP), provides funding for programs to support the early care and learning workforce through scholarships and loan repayment support, and invests in necessary IT upgrades to support future expansion of CCFAP. H. 531 passed out of the Appropriations Committee with a 10-1-0 vote and is scheduled for a third reading and final vote by the House of Representatives today (Wednesday). For more information, contact Sarah Kenney at Sarah@letsgrowkids.org or Sonja Raymond at email@example.com.
PCC Network Master Grant
Although the House Appropriations Committee has agreed to accept the proposal in the Governor's Recommended FY20 Budget to end the Reach Up case management contracts with the Parent Child Center (PCCs) (see above), the Committee also decided to add $1.2 million to the PCC Master Grant (the PCC Network request is to add $1.5 million this year). In addition, the House Appropriations Committee decided to allocate $1 million of one-time funds to the PCCs to catch up on some expenses that have been put aside because of ongoing inadequate funding (the Network has requested $1.5 million in one-time funding). In the Senate, the Network will continue to work to increase both the Master Grant and the one-time allocation, and to get the Reach Up contracts back. For more information, contact Amy Shollenberger at firstname.lastname@example.org or Claire Kendall at email@example.com.