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Legislative Wrap-Ups

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT publishes an annual Legislative Wrap-Up, which reports on the progress of selected laws and budget appropriations affecting children in the areas of economic well-being, health, child care and early childhood education, education and safety considered in the Rhode Island General Assembly's Legislative Session.

For the full 2016 Legislative Wrap-Up, please click here.

Below is an overview of victories for Rhode Island children and families in the 2016 Legislative Session: 

Economic Well-Being

  • The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) was increased to 15% of the federal EITC. 
  • The Henry Shelton Act utility arrearage assistance program was improved. 
  • $50 million affordable housing bond was approved for ballot.

Health

  • The Free Play Recess Act passed, which requires at least 20 consecutive minutes of free-play recess daily for all children attending public elementary schools that serve children in grades kindergarten through six. 
  • A broad package of bills aimed at addressing opioid abuse and overdoses was passed.

Safety

  • The Child Fatality Reporting Act passed, which expands DCYF and the Office of the Child Advocate responsibilities for reporting and investigating child deaths. 
  • The DCYF Foster Parents' Bill of Rights was passed, which outlines the rights that foster parents have to timely information, communication, and training about children in their care.

Early Learning & Development

  • The Rhode Island Family Home Visiting Act passed. 
  • Health insurance coverage parity for Early Intervention services is required. 
  • 8.4 million in state and federal funding was added to increase access to the Child Care Assistance Program. 
  • Child Care Transition Program (cliff effect policy) was extended by one year. 
  • $1.2 million was added to expand the State Pre-K program through the education funding formula. 
  • $2.6 million was allocated to ensure statewide universal access to full-day kindergarten starting in 2016.

Education

  • Education funding through the funding formula (including Pre-K) was increased. 
  • A new categorical fund was created in the education funding formula to support the education of students who are English language learners. 
  • The use of out-of-school suspensions was restricted and districts are now required to review suspension data to identify and act on racial, ethnic, and special education disparities. 
  • The Free Play Recess Act passed, which requires at least 20 consecutive minutes of free-play recess daily for all children attending public elementary schools that serve children in grades kindergarten through six.

For the full 2016 Legislative Wrap-Up, please click here.

 


Past Legislative Wrap-Ups:

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT works to improve the health, safety, education, economic security, and development of Rhode Island’s children.

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Rhode Island KIDS COUNT
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Providence, RI 02903

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401-351-9400
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