Hello Members and people who support children!
This is the weekly advocacy alert email from the Middlesex Coalition for Children and the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance. Our action alerts will focus on issues, budgets and bills that affect children and families in Connecticut. This alert will be sent out more or less weekly during the 2020 Legislative Session and will have everything you need to know to be the most effective advocate for children that you can be! You may not care about each issue, but we’ve included those you might care about.
Please contact us if you have questions or are confused. We’d love for you to do all of these actions below, but any will help! Aside from testifying in person, it could only take 15 minutes to call a legislator, submit written testimony, and share a snippet on social media (see instructions below).
For the Week of Feb. 18th:
What Hearings Deserve Action This Week?
On Wednesday, Feb 19th 4pm, Room 2C: Appropriations Public Hearing, where you can testify on expansion of Husky A for parents and Immigrants. You can read about the coverage gap here and get talking points for testimony here. You can submit testimony to: APPtestimony@cga.ct.gov. For in-person testimony, lottery numbers will be drawn from 9 AM- 10 AM in the First Floor Atrium, and from 10:15-1:00 PM in room 2700. Please submit 30 copies of your testimony at the time of sign-up, or no later than 2 PM that day.
What Should Be On My Radar for Next Week?
2/25 Labor Committee: This is an opportunity to testify on the Predictable Scheduling bill. This hearing is scheduled, but the agenda and bill number are not yet out. Read more about this issue here. You can submit testimony to: firstname.lastname@example.org
2/25: Black and Puerto Rican Caucus Public Hearing: 5:00 pm, room 2C. If you’d like to spend 3 minutes asking members of the caucus to support your priority areas. Contact: email@example.com for more info.
2/26: Very Important! Education Committee: The agenda isn’t up yet, but we expect it to include the following bills (no bill numbers yet). You can submit testimony to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Care4Kids eligibility for parents in EvenStart or school for the high demand occupations of nursing, manufacturing and teaching (including ECE)
It is possible that the bill to provide a 90 day job search for families living in a Homeless shelter for more than 2 weeks will also be heard
More Detail on Each Bill:
H.B. 5121: Family Child Care Zoning and Housing Bill. The bill is designed to expand access to licensed family child care for the benefit children, working parents, home-based child care providers and employers. It seeks to equalize and streamline the local permitting process, clarify that family child care can operate in all types of residential settings, and strengthen housing protections for child care providers. It will: 1) strengthen housing and zoning protection for family/group child care homes, and 2) restrict landlords from being able to ban family/group child care businesses in residential properties. This will especially affect families and businesses in communities where traditional child care centers don’t work for families (because of hours, transportation, or language barriers.)
Husky A: Our partners are stressing the importance of Closing the Coverage Gap, and of restoring coverage to HUSKY A parents by raising eligibility levels back to 200% of poverty to make this happen (it is currently at 160% of the federal poverty level). You can read about the coverage gap here and get talking points for testimony here.
Predictable Scheduling bill will: Require employers (retail, restaurant, hospitality and a small group of nursing homes) w/ 25+ employees to provide 14 days notice of work schedules. Childcare workers are exempt; For any shift cancellations or reduction of scheduled hours that occur within the notice period, employers must provide half time pay for any unworked hours; Employees must have 11 hours rest between shifts. Any scheduled hours worked within that 11-hour window must be compensated at time and a half the employee's regular rate of pay; Access to hours: Employers must offer extra shifts/hours to current part time employees before hiring new employees; Businesses would be exempt from these requirements only in certain conditions, like state declared emergencies, public transportation shutdowns, etc.
Care 4 Kids bills: The first bill would allow parents in an educational program for a high demand occupation to access Care 4 Kids during their educational hours. For example, there is a shortage of early care educators, but it is difficult for parents to become certified if they have young children. This bill would allow for Care 4 Kids to support income qualified individuals to attain the certification they need to work. The second bill would allow for families who have been in a homeless shelter for more than 2 weeks to access Care 4 Kids for a 90 day job search period.
How Can You Help This Week?
Contact your legislator(s). You can click here to find the contact info for your legislator(s).If you email them, please include your address so they know that you are a constituent. If you call, you will likely be leaving a message or talking with a staff person. Tell them your name and where you are from.
Submit written testimony: Even if you can’t be there in person, submitting written testimony can be very powerful. If you plan to testify in person, you can use the same document that you submitted electronically or speak from the heart extemporaneously. All testimony, written or oral, becomes part of the public record.
Sign up to Testify in Person. Click Here if you’d like the Early Childhood Alliance to sign you up for a number to testify at the public hearing on Thursday.
Here’s how the public hearings work: you can sign up by lottery to testify in the morning. Once a number is pulled for you, you are assigned a place in the testimony list. There is very little way of knowing what time you’ll testify, except that you can know if you’re in the top or bottom half. You will have 3 minutes to testify, but if legislators can ask you questions, which sometimes stretches it out. All testimony, written or oral, becomes part of the public record.
If you don’t make it in time, they will just pass by your slot, no harm done. In theory, they will already have your written testimony (assuming you emailed it on time.)
Share your story on social media:
Share your story to twitter
Tell your story in 3 short lines -- Purpose of your story in the first line, story in the subsequent line., Tag @CTECA and Tag your local legislator
Share your story to facebook
Tell your story in 3-4 short lines -- Purpose of your story in the first line, story in the subsequent lines, Tag @ctearlychildhoodalliance andTag your local legislator
You may also want to tag legislators who should see it/ legislators we need to push on the issue. If those legislators are getting a bunch of tweets about the thing, they are more likely to respond.