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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Critical child care funding hangs in balance as Missouri budget nears deadline

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Wednesday, May 8, 2024   

Child care advocates are pushing for increased funding as the budget deadline approaches this Friday.

Robyn Schelp, director of policy and advocacy for Kids Win Missouri, said ensuring increases to child care subsidies remain in the budget are vital for every Missourian whether they have children or not.

"It impacts the entire workforce," Schelp pointed out. "We have to stop thinking that this is a parent's issue. It isn't. If we want teachers in the classroom and doctors at their offices and whatnot, we have to make sure there's childcare for their kids."

The legislature adjourned after just about 10 minutes on Monday, following a record 41-hour filibuster which went to 4 a.m. Thursday without agreeing on a budget. Missouri lawmakers have only missed the budget deadline one time, in 1977.

Sen. Cindy O'Laughlin, R-Shelbina, the Senate Majority Leader said on social media Friday the Missouri Freedom Caucus only yielded the floor under the threat of a motion to end debate. She tried to introduce the Federal Reimbursement Allowance, which she said is crucial for funding to offset general revenue and vital for Medicaid services.

The budget includes child care subsidies under House Bill 2002. Schelp noted the House's proposal would support only 23,000 children, restricting expansion and compliance with federal guidelines.

"Our hope is that it stays with the governor's recommendation, of that $52 million," Schelp emphasized. "Allowing them to go to that 100th percentile of payment for infants and toddlers and then the 65th percentile for preschool and afterschool."

Sen. Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring, is leading an effort to convince fellow members of his party to approve abortion restriction legislation and a bill on ballot initiatives in Missouri before agreeing to a vote on the reimbursement allowance.

Disclosure: Kids Win Missouri contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Children's Issues, Early Childhood Education, and Youth Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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