Thursday, January 11, 2007

Legislatures Turn to Children's Issues

"Governors and legislators return to work this month with renewed interest in the needs of their youngest citizens, bringing a slew of ideas on health insurance and education.

Expanding health coverage to all children is emerging as a goal in many states, even as debate continues over how to provide care to all the uninsured, adults and youngsters alike. ''This is not only an economic crisis. It's a human crisis and it demands action now,'' Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, said last week. He promised to reduce the cost of care for families and businesses, and is pushing hard to expand the state's health insurance program to cover all children. Similar expansions are being proposed in Minnesota and California, where Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday called for health care for all children, including illegal immigrants, as part of a sweeping expansion of coverage to nearly all the state's 6.5 million uninsured.

Demands for more emphasis on education, already one of the biggest chunks of state budgets, are getting louder. Courts in Arkansas, Illinois, New Jersey and many other states have ordered legislators to craft more equitable funding systems. And parents and educators are pushing for greater early education, including kindergarten and pre-kindergarten classes." Associated Press, N.Y. Times Link to Article (last visited 1-10-07 NVS)

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