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Senate Republicans Block SB 144, Deny Expanded Access to Affordable Child Care

Contact Name: Marina Altschiller

Phone: (603) 271-3207

CONCORD – Today, Republican members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee voted against SB 144, Senator Becky Whitley’s (D-Hopkinton) bill to shift the child care scholarship program from attendance-based payment to enrollment-based reimbursement - a small policy change that could have had a significant impact on leveling the playing field for families qualifying for child care scholarships, incentivizing child care programs to open their doors to these families, and providing stability to New Hampshire families. During the initial hearing for SB 144, over 500 people registered their support for this policy change.

After the vote, prime sponsor Senator Becky Whitley (D-Hopkinton) issued the following statement:

“Working parents are drowning right now. The second wave of the pandemic came in like a tsunami after months of juggling work and child care under unprecedented and stressful circumstances. Unsurprisingly, the burden of child care has increasingly fallen on women during the pandemic when their family cannot find or afford child care. In the past year, New Hampshire women have lost more jobs than men, taken on more caregiving responsibilities, and served as the majority of essential workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If left unaddressed, the pandemic’s impact on access to child care options is likely to have detrimental effects on children and families in ways that will compound inequities in the long term and slow our efforts at building a strong and future-focused economy in the Granite State. New Hampshire families need access to quality, affordable, and safe child care now.

We cannot continue to balance the state's budget and keep our economy afloat on the backs of working mothers any longer. Today’s vote by Senate Republicans denies essential relief for New Hampshire families, threatens the health of our workforce, and puts up unnecessary roadblocks at a time when we need to be doing everything we can to rebuild our economy.”



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