OLYMPIA- A bill making its way out of the State House Friday requires the newly created State Department of Children, Youth and Families to develop a website in conjunction with the Department of Commerce that provides business resource and guidance for employer supported childcare.
The measure also establishes a childcare scholarship and loan repayment program. Democrat Representative Kristine Reeves sponsored the bill.
“Right now 40 percent of Washington’s kids aren’t getting access to the high quality care and the curriculum they need to prepare them for Kindergarten,” Reeves said. “We’re building a public-private partnership to bring employers to the table. To invest in small businesses to make that critical investment in their employees and their families.”
Reeves went on to say that the bill will close the gap between the employer and employee, and help struggling middle-class families.
GOP Representative Joe Schmick of Colfax spoke in opposition of HB 2396.
“Why don’t we have more daycares out there? First of all we regulated them out of existence,” Schmick said, adding that many of the daycares in his district have disappeared. “Then we allowed unionization of the workers and now we passed a bill last year that you have to have a master’s degree to run a daycare– now it’s too expensive.”
Schmick said the policies made in the chamber have “made things more expensive.”
“It’s an innovative idea, but we put these places out of business, we made them too expensive so people can’t afford it,” Schmick said.
The measure passed out of the house on mostly a partisan vote.