2017 End of Session Wrap Up
Due to strong advocacy, the 2017 legislative session was a successful one for substance use disorder, health, and early childhood policies. Through the Start Healthy, Stay Healthy initiative, New Futures, along with advocates and partners, successfully advocated for a state budget which includes an increase to the Alcohol Fund, increased funding for full-day kindergarten, and statewide investments in quality, affordable child care. We also followed over one hundred bills outside of the state budget, ensuring positive policies moved forward which increased access to healthcare, prevention, treatment, and recovery, and early childhood development opportunities for hundreds of thousands of Granite Staters.
Thanks to you, 86% of the bills we took action on had successful outcomes that were in line with our legislative positions.
The State Budget
Thanks to your advocacy, the Alcohol Fund was increased from 1.7% to 3.4% of gross profits from alcohol sales in the state budget.
The final language approved by the full House and Senate includes important safeguards against misuse of the Alcohol Fund. Only in an emergency can the Governor (not the Commissioner of DHHS) seek to use the Alcohol Fund to cover operating costs for juvenile services at Sununu, and such proposed use must be approved by the Legislative Fiscal Committee (no approval was required in the previous version of the language).
You can rest assured that New Futures will closely monitor any proposed diversion of dollars from the Fund and will work with the Legislative Fiscal Committee to protect those dollars for their intended use. New Futures will keep you informed of any attempt to use the Alcohol Fund to cover operating costs at the Sununu Center.
Though full-day kindergarten was not included as part of the budget, the parallel bill SB 191 passed and increased funding for full-day kindergarten by $1,100 per pupil. While imperfect, SB 191 does offer much-needed additional funding for full-day kindergarten and puts our state on a path to full-adequacy funding in future years. By passing SB 191, lawmakers took a crucial first step towards ensuring New Hampshire’s children are all given equal opportunity to start strong.
Due to advocacy efforts as part of the Smart Start coalition, an additional $15 million for child care scholarships was included in the state budget to meet new federal program requirements. The increase in funding ensures continued access for New Hampshire’s children and families to quality, affordable child care. Investing in early development opportunities like quality child care is a vital and proactive way to support children and families, reduce state costs, and prevent future substance misuse.
new futures kids count
The New Futures Kids Count early childhood bills that we followed were an addition to our legislative portfolio this year, as part of New Futures' mission expansion. The focus of New Futures Kids Count is to expand access to early childhood education and development opportunities for all of New Hampshire's children. New Futures Kids Count's legislative focus this session included not only increasing funding for quality child care and full-day kindergarten in the state budget, but also bills which created a system of family resource centers of quality, supported grandfamilies, provided resources to end childhood lead poisoning, and more.
One hundred percent of these bills had outcomes in line with New Futures Kids Count positions.
Click here for more information on other critical bills that New Futures was following this session.