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Evan Smith |
Published: Friday, March 8, 2013, 2:28 p.m.

Bills aim to pay for early-childhood learning, keep foster siblings in contact

Bills sponsored by state Rep. Ruth Kagi and state Rep. Mary Helen Roberts that passed the House Wednesday both aim to help children.

Both bills now head for the state Senate.

Kagi's "Early Start" bill is aimed at closing the "opportunity gap" between rich and poor children. It would provide early learning for poor children paid for by revenue from the sale of marijuana under the 2012 voter-approved initiative.

Kagi, who represents the 32nd District, said that the bill would help children from low-income families start kindergarten "as well prepared as their more privileged classmates.

"We want to give our kids -- all our kids -- a fair chance to succeed in school and in life," Kagi said. "My 'Early Start' bill helps close that opportunity gap, which means more high-achieving and productive students, graduates and, ultimately, citizens of our state."

The bill increases subsidies for high-quality child-care programs and expanded pre-school education. The measure also addresses home visits to expectant mothers and parents of newborns. It passed the House 59-38.

The 21st District's Roberts, 1st District's state Rep. Luis Moscoso and 32nd District's Rep. Cindy Ryu were co-sponsors of the bill.

Roberts' bill is aimed at maintaining contact between siblings who are placed in separate foster-care homes and cannot otherwise visit one another, provided a court determines that certain guidelines are met. It passed 64-33. Kagi, Moscoso and Ryu were co-sponsors.

Kagi is chairwoman of the House Committee on Early Learning and Social Services and a member of the Committee on the Environment and the House Appropriations Committee. She and Ryu represent Lynnwood, part of Mountlake Terrace, south Edmonds, Woodway, Shoreline and part of northwest Seattle.

Roberts is vice chairwoman of the House Public Safety Committee and is a member of the committee on early learning and social services, the Judiciary Committee and the Rules Committee. She represents most of Edmonds, all of Mukilteo, part of south Everett and the rest of the 21st District.

Moscoso represents most of Mountlake Terrace, all of Brier and Bothell and the rest of the 1st Legislative District.

Evan Smith can be reached at
Story tags » PoliticsState politics

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