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Good News/Bad News Regarding First Things First

First the good news: Last week, House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 2037 stalled in the House Education Committee. This bill would have asked Arizonans to vote for a third time on their commitment to dedicate tobacco tax funds to children five and younger so that they arrive at school healthy and ready to succeed. The intent was to redirect the funds away from First Things First programs and services and instead assign them to school districts to pay for literacy programs for kindergarten through third graders. Our partners and allies came together very quickly to advocate against taking money away from one end of the literacy spectrum to give it to another.  Special thanks to Representative Paul Boyer, who chairs the Education Committee for agreeing to hold the bill indefinitely and instead committed to working together with First Things First to improve educational outcomes for children.  Little boy and girl in classroom

Please take a few moments and send Rep. Boyer your thanks here.

Our happiness was short lived, however, when this week, a slightly different version of the same bill was introduced. HCR 2044 is identical to the original bill except that it allows the first $30 million dollars of the dedicated tobacco tax funds to be used for programs that would qualify as matching state expenditures required under federal law. The rest of the funds would still go to K-3 literacy programs. Although it has not yet been assigned, we fully expect the bill to go to the House Appropriations committee in the near future. Please stay tuned for further information on how you can act to oppose this most recent attempt to eliminate funding for early education and family support.

To see CAA’s Priority Legislation List, click here

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