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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: June 18, 2013 03:42 PM
From: Representative Stan Saylor
To: All House members
Subject: Child Care at Religious Educational Facilities
Since 1997, I have introduced legislation with the intent to protect the religious curriculum taught in religious early childhood education facilities and religious school-based before-school and after-school programs. As some of you may recall, different versions of this bill in the past have sparked various non-germane arguments and discussions by both child care providers and religious educational facilities. Getting back on track, I am pleased to announce after years of debate and roundtable discussions, an agreement has been reached by these parties affording us with the ability to advance not only a legislative proposal for the parties involved, but one that can be supported in a bi-partisan effort.

This legislation makes consensus while holding firm to the intent to protect the religious curriculum of religious educational and child care facilities, and stringently ensuring the safety and health of children (i.e. these facilities must comply with all applicable health and safety statutes, ordinances or regulations, background check requirements, child abuse reporting requirements, child abuse recognition training requirements and with generally applicable sanitation, building or zoning requirements). For the child care providers who were previously opposed, the legislation has made it clear—the bill will only apply to those pre-kindergarten, pre-school, or nursery school programs operated by the religious education facility with maximum hours of daily operation, and outright excludes all services for children from birth to 2 years and 7 months of age (aligning with the age limits per the State Board of Private Academic Schools entry age for nursery school), and allows only programs in full compliance with child care certification and all related regulations to be eligible to receive child care assistance and child care services funding. Only programs in full compliance with federal and state requirements for Head Start shall be eligible to receive Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program funding. Only programs in full compliance with Pre-K Counts statutory, regulatory and program guidance shall be eligible to receive Pre-K Counts funding. All future funding streams will be limited to programs in full compliance with all state and federal statutes, regulations and program guidance unless otherwise stated in statute.

The hard work of all parties involved is commended and I hope you will join me in this compromise bill and offer your co-sponsorship.

Introduced as HB1588