Vermont House Gives Preliminary Approval to Priority Bills Investing in Child Care and Broadband Expansion

For Immediate Release

March 26, 2019

Contact: Katherine Levasseur
(802) 828-2245

Montpelier, VT – The Vermont House of Representatives gave preliminary approval today to H.531, the Child Care Bill and H.513, the Broadband Expansion Bill.

The Child Care Bill received preliminary approval today on a voice vote.

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson (D-South Hero) said, “this bill aims to make child care more accessible and affordable for Vermont families by placing the retention and professional development of child care professionals as a top priority. H.531 invests $10.5 million in Vermont’s childcare and early learning system, and includes increased reimbursement rates to childcare providers, a student loan program for early educators to further their professional development, and invests in the revamp of the Child Care Financial Assistance Program (CCFAP). As we work to make Vermont a more attractive state to live, work, and raise a family, we must continue to prioritize policies like this additional investment in our child care system.”

Ann Pugh (D-South Burlington), Chair of the House Committee on Human Services added, “the difficulties associated with funding child care can result in young families delaying having children or deciding not to have children at all. This bill aims to ensure that Vermont’s children are safe and that caregivers are receiving adequate compensation with the opportunity to further their education. High quality child care will shape Vermont’s next generation and grow our economy.”

The Broadband Expansion Bill also received preliminary approval today on a vote of 139-2.

“Access to high-speed broadband service is a fundamental requirement for growing our rural economy,” said Energy and Technology Committee Chair, Representative Tim Briglin (D-Thetford). “If we are serious about creating a Vermont that works for everyone, we must empower communities with the tools they need to solve deficiencies in broadband connectivity.”

Speaker Johnson added, “this bill invests approximately $1.5 million in Fiscal year 2020 into three areas of need: the Broadband Innovation Grant Program, Connectivity Initiative grants, and increased funding for the Department of Public Service. These investments are targeted at the 17,000 Vermont households that lack access to even the most basic internet service. If we are marketing Vermont as a place you can work remotely, Vermonters must have reliable internet access. Vermonters across the state, especially in rural communities, benefit when they can tap into the commerce, educational opportunities, and resources available on the web.”