Welcome to Brain, Child’s first Sunday night news update where we look at issues impacting women and children. Tonight we hear from Your (Wo)Man in Washington, Valerie Young of the National Association of Mothers’ Centers:
· The Strong Start for America’s Children Act has emerged intact from a Senate committee hearing and will head to the full Senate for debate. The bill builds early education and child care programs, but only for very poor families. While progress in public investment for kids promotes both school readiness and mothers’ economic security, the US continues to ignore childcare as a stumbling block for families at every income level.
· Women were championed by advocates in the Senate Budget Committee, like Senator Patty Murray and economist Heather Boushey, at a congressional briefing, “Expanding Opportunity for Women and Families.” You can watch video here.
· Minnesota has moved way out in front, enacting the Women’s Economic Security Act, a hugely significant bill which narrows the pay gap, raises the minimum wage, creates a paid family leave program and extends unpaid family leave, among other gender-equity provisions. Hats off to the Land of 10,000 Lakes!
· New York has been trying to pass a similar women’s rights bill, and is renewing its efforts. Womens eNews reports: “A series of bills that would protect women’s rights are being reintroduced into the New York Senate after the package was derailed last year over a contentious late term abortion proposal, The Associated Press reported May 20. The Women’s Equality Act is a series of 10 bills that cover topics such as reproductive rights, pay equity, sexual harassment, human trafficking and tougher order-of-protection laws, in addition to other forms of discrimination against women in the state.
· The Combating Autism Act, first passed in 2006 and up for renewal and refunding this year, has unexpectedly come under fire. The Hill reports: “But an upstart group known as the Autism Policy Reform Coalition (APRC) is against the bill, arguing a drastic overhaul is needed in order for the money to be used effectively. The reform coalition … plan to introduce a competing bill in the upper chamber that would pursue a different approach, partly by dictating where research dollars should be spent.”