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Description: AAP Policy Statement | Hunger Free Summer for Kids | The Energy Sector: Boom to Bust | One Billion for School Choice

Public Policy Notes S outhe r n E a r ly C hild hood As s o ci a tio n The Presidential Primaries are Upon Us campaign this If you ve been following the month. election news you know that the election process has begun and there have been sev- Rubio and Cruz are currently battling for eral surprising developments. second place behind front runner Trump. detailed information on the SEC Primary check out the August 2015 edition of Public Policy Notes. February 2016 Public Policy Notes Inside this issue AAP Policy Statement Hunger Free Summer for Kids 2 2 L-R Trump Cruz Rubio Carson & Kasich Donald Trump has so far dominated the field in the Republican primaries. The Republican field has narrowed considerably. From an original field of 12 candidates just 5 are now in the hunt for delegates. Jeb Bush the presumed Republican front runner last year suspended his South Carolina held its Republican primary on February 20th with the Democratic primary on February 27th. Donald Trump was the winner of the RepubliClinton Sanders can primary with Marco In the Democratic con- Rubio finishing second test Hillary Clinton has and Ted Cruz in a close met a formidable chalthird. lenger in Senator Bernie Sanders but is leading in In the primaries schedthe delegate count. uled for March 1st the following number of As the SEC Primary ap- delegates are up for proaches candidates are grabs in the SECA battling to get their mes- states. sage out throughout the Alabama (60 D 50 R) South. You ll remember Arkansas (37 D 40 R) that this is a group of Georgia (117 D 76 R) Southern states that will Oklahoma(42 D 43 R) all hold their primaries Tennessee (75 D 58 R) on March 1st. The Texas (251 D 155 R) South is now solidly Virginia (109 D 49 R) red Republican and A total of 691 Demothese contests may help cratic delegates and 421 to determine who the Republican delegates in eventual nominee will will be awarded on a be. If you d like more proportional basis. The Energy Sector 3 Boom to Bust One Billion for School Choice 4 Are You a Policy Nerd Here s a Resource for You Some interesting trends have developed as voters cast their ballots particularly among voters in the millennial category. If you re interested in accessing an in-depth analysis of what s happening on the political scene in real time you won t do better than Larry Sabato s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics. AAP Issues Policy Statement on Children & Disasters The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a policy statement to ensure medical countermeasures are available for children in disasters. In conjunction with the pediatric community they have recognized that health care entities are threatened by a variety of threats including emerging infectious diseases mass shootings and chemical-biological-radiologicalnuclear-explosive threats secondary to terrorism environmental accidents and natural disasters. According to the policy statement Events over the past 2 decades are a stark reminder that disasters humancaused or natural can affect children directly. Despite our best efforts to protect children this population may be the chance target of natural disasters or the intended target for acts of violence or terrorism. Children represent a particularly vulnerable population during a pandemic natural disaster or act of terrorism. Medical countermeasures (MCMs) defined as medications antitoxins vaccines immunoglobulins medical devices and pediatric age-appropriate life-saving medical equipment and supplies required to protect or treat children for possible chemical biological radiologic or nuclear (CBRN) threats are of paramount importance to the health security of children and the nation as a whole.1 3 Children have unique needs that must be taken into consideration for communities to be truly prepared to respond to disasters and public health emergencies and to remain resilient in their aftermath.4 Although this statement is intended for policymakers public health officials and the medical community it is important that children s advocates ask the following questions of the officials in their states. Does our state have adequate amounts of medical countermeasures for children of all ages in caches in the event of a disaster Has our state considered schools child care programs & other community programs as potential storage and distribution facilities for these supplies Has our state developed easy-to- follow instructions for caregivers on the proper preparation dosing and administration of MCM s Source AAP News Policy Ensure medical countermeasures are available for children in disasters 1-4-16 http news Hunger Free Summer for Kids Act Becomes a Part of a Comprehensive Nutrition Act Senator John Boozman (R-AR) introduced the Hunger Free Summer for Kids Act (S. 1966) in 2015 to make child nutrition programs more efficient and flexible to reach children in need during the summer months when school meals are not available. The changes were designed to serve children particularly in rural areas who might have difficulty reaching centralized feeding sites during the summer months when school is not in session. The Act proposed the following Public Policy Notes Authorizing summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) and providing eligible families up to 30 per summer month per child to purchase eligible food items. In USDA pilot programs Summer EBT reduced the most severe forms of food insecurity for children by 33%. Allowing states the flexibility to choose what makes the most sense in their communities by giving states the option to provide summer meals without a centralized feeding site when certain conditions exist in rural and high poverty areas. On January 20 2016 the Senate Agriculture Committee passed the Improv- ing Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016 which included the language from Boozman s act. This bill reauthorizes child nutrition programs under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act and the Child Nutrition Act of 1966. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was a co-sponsor of S. 1966. The Energy Sector Boom to Bust and The Impact on State Budgets As consumers celebrate the price of gas when filling up the family car policymakers in several of the SECA states are facing significant and daunting budget deficits because of the loss of revenue both from taxes and the elimination of jobs within those industries. Several of the SECA states have economies that are being significantly affected by the current downturn in the energy sector oil gas and coal. We ll share a little information from some states to give you a picture of how they plan to plug these holes in their budgets. 1.1 million for the budgets of various elected officials 4 million to higher education 18.8 million to the Department of Transportation & Development 1 million for the State Police drained the state s savings account the Rainy Day Fund agencies would see a 10 percent cut. She outlined Education as her number one priority and her proposed budget called for a pay increase for teachers. Source News Release OK Governor s Office 2 1 16 West Virginia is working to close significant budget gaps a gap of 353 million as of February 22nd. The House Finance Committee is trying to determine the potential impact of an increase to 6.5 percent in budget cuts across state agencies. (A 4% cut was implemented last fall.) The additional cuts could include 350 positions in higher education and the layoffs of 87 state troopers. Source West Virginia s Budget Crisis May be Worse Than First Thought As we look around the region you ll find similar stories in Texas Kentucky and other states that have economies that are dependent upon revenue from oil gas or coal production. If you d like to see a copy of your state s budget the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) publishes those documents. Click here to find a clickable map and lists of state budget documents. (Note Not all budget woes can be attributed to the decline in the energy sector bad policy decisions have also contributed.) Page 3 An immediate hiring freeze for the executive branch and on travel operating services supplies acquisitions and major repairs is in place. The Governor has offered proposals for tax increases including a one-cent sales tax increase and a 22cent cigarette tax increase. The special session ends March 9th and the regular legislative session begins March 14th. Source The Advocate 2 15 16 On February 1 2016 Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin delivered her State of the State Address and acknowledged that the state faced 5The Louisiana Legislature is currently in emergency session trying to determine how best to deal with a looming budget deficit in this fiscal year which ends on June 30th. State officials are projecting a budget deficit of 900 million in the next four months and a 2 billion deficit for FY 2017. Governor John Bel Edwards made 21 million in cuts to the current spending plan by Executive Order and the Joint Budget Committee voted to slash another 38 million on Monday February 15th. These cuts have pared the deficit down by 60 million. Cuts already made include significant budget deficits due to the collapse of oil prices and decades-old structural budget problems which have caused a 1 billion budget deficit. Fallin noted that if lawmakers take no action and don t change the way the state apportions and collects revenues most state agencies would face a 13.5 percent cut for the upcoming 2017 fiscal year. If lawmakers 1.4 million to coastal protection Volume 9 Issue 2 Southern Early Childhood Association 1123 S. University Ste 255 Little Rock AR 72204 Phone 800-305-SECA Fax 501-227-5297 E-mail info How to Use Public Policy Notes If you re interested in advocacy one of the most effective tools that you can have is access to information. This newsletter is provided as a service to locate and share information that we think will be helpful to you in your work at the state level and to keep you updated on what s happening in public policy. You ll find information that Compares your state to other SECA states--how you re doing what issues you have in common what the hot topics are in your states. Brings the national scene to your fingertips and gives you a perspective on how national events might impact you...You ll also receive information about where to find additional information. We hope you ll find it helpful. Children need you to be their voice in your community and state. This monthly newsletter is produced by Glenda Bean SECA Executive Director. SECA strives to provide non-partisan and non-biased information A Voice for Southern Children that is of interest to early childhood educators. Sign up at http public-policy public-policy-notes to receive notice of its availability each month. One Billion for School Choice Initiatives The Walton Family Foundation based in Bentonville Arkansas recently announced that it would invest 1 billion to help expand the charter school sector and other choice initiatives over the next five years. This new commitment will equal its philanthropy over the past 20 years and these funds will be utilized in 13 cities across the country including these in the SECA region Atlanta Houston Memphis New Orleans San Antonio and our nextdoor neighbor Washington D.C. The Walton Family Foundation began supporting K-12 education in the mid-1990s. Since the beginning the foundation has invested more than 1 billion to improve educational opportunities for America s children -- and to prove wrong the prevailing wisdom that poverty and ZIP code determine destiny. Since the Walton Family Foundation committed to improving education more than a third of the foundation s total education giving has supported the creation of high-quality school options. To date 1 in every 4 charter schools created nationally have received support from the Walton Family Foundation. To access a copy of the 2015-2020 K-12 strategic plan click here. Source Walton Family Foundation