May 28, 2021
Dear Partners and Friends,

We recently released two white papers, one which provides an overview of federal funding to the state of Louisiana and another that details how local entities including governments, early childhood networks, and school boards can use COVID-19 relief dollars for early care and education. We are also excited to share the release of our polling data of likely Louisiana voters on how to fund early care and education. The poll found that over 75% of Louisiana voters strongly support taxing sports betting to fund early care and education. Read a summary of the polling data here.
 
The Louisiana state legislature is currently wrapping up week seven of the 2021 fiscal session. We are continuing to watch SB 142 (Sen. Ward) the sports betting funding bill, in hopes that it will be amended to support early care and education. SB 247, the sports betting regulations bill, passed the Senate and is now waiting to be considered in the House. 
 
HB 601, which would create a specialty license plate for the New Orleans Pelicans and dedicate half of the funds to the Early Childhood Education Fund (Fund) passed the House and is pending in the Senate. HB 514, which would remove the state sales tax exemption on certain medical marijuana products, was recently amended to dedicate 25% of those funds to the Louisiana Early Childhood Education Fund and right now, fiscal analysts estimate this could generate about $3 million a year by the fourth year of this program. We are closely watching this bill and hope it passes with the amendment funding early care and education intact.
 
On May 17, we once again joined other early care and education advocates to testify at the hearing for HB 1, the state budget bill, and are working to ensure that the state budget will include new funding for early care and education. 
 
We encourage you to reach out to your legislators regarding sports betting and urge them to commit sports betting revenue to the Louisiana Early Childhood Education Fund.  (View talking points for discussions with your legislator & sports betting advocacy one-pager). 
 
As always, we offer our organization as a resource to answer questions related to our research and throughout the Legislative session.
 
Thank you for advocating on behalf of young children and working families in Louisiana!
Best,
Libbie Sonnier, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Louisiana Policy Institute for Children
In this Issue:

  • Policy Brief Releases: Federal Relief Funds for Early Care and Education in Louisiana
  • Polling Data: Louisiana Voters Support Taxes to Fund Child Care
  • Spotlight: Local Early Care and Education Efforts in Ascension Parish
  • Spotlight: Dr. Libbie Sonnier on Louisiana Public Broadcast
  • In Remembrance: Governor Charles Buddy Roemer
  • Early Care and Education in the News
Policy Brief Releases: Federal Funds for Early Care and Education in Louisiana
The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children (LPIC) developed three policy briefs related to COVID-19 federal relief funding for early care and education in Louisiana. Find all three briefs at https://www.policyinstitutela.org/covid-federal-relief-funds-ece.

  • The first brief, COVID-19 Federal Relief Funds for Early Care and Education in Louisiana, summarizes COVID-19 federal relief funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplementary Appropriations (CRRSA) Act and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Read the brief here.

  • This second brief, How Local Entities Can Use COVID Relief Dollars for Early Care and Education, provides recommendations for how parish/municipal governments, Early Childhood Community Networks, and local school boards can use COVID-19 relief funding for early care and education. Read the brief here

  • The third brief, Maximize American Rescue Plan Dollars to Benefit Youngest Louisianans, Economic Recovery, provides LPIC's recommendations for how to maximize federal relief funding from the American Rescue Plan for young children and their families. Read the brief here
Polling Data: Louisiana Voters Support Taxes to Funding Child Care
The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children (LPIC) released results from a new statewide poll of likely Louisiana voters on how to fund early care and education. The poll was conducted from April 11-12, 2021 of 600 likely voters in Louisiana via telephone by Ragnar Research Partners, a Republican polling firm. The polling data showed that over 75 percent of likely voters in Louisiana support taxes on sports betting to fund early care and education.

Read the full polling results memo here
Read the summary of the polling results here
Spotlight: Local Early Care and Education Efforts in Ascension Parish
On Monday, May 10, LPIC Executive Director Dr. Libbie Sonnier testified in front of the Parish of Ascension Finance Committee in support of Budget Amendment #5 which would fund a multi-agency approach to ensuring young children in Ascension Parish have a smart start in life through high-quality early care and education and wraparound supports. View the clip of the testimony here. The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children is committed to supporting this work. 
Spotlight: Dr. Libbie Sonnier on Louisiana Public Broadcast
This past Wednesday, LPIC Executive Director Dr. Libbie Sonnier was on Louisiana Public Broadcast (LPB)'s "Louisiana Public Square" and discussed early care and education in Louisiana and the critical need for continued state investment.
In Remembrance: Governor Charles Buddy Roemer
Charles “Buddy” Elson Roemer III, died last Monday, May 17 at age 77. He served as governor from 1988 to 1992. Governor Roemer was originally elected as a Democrat but in 1991, changed his political affiliation to Republican. An article in The Advocate described how “Roemer swept into office at age 44 and, within a year, won legislative approval to raise teacher pay, enact a teacher evaluation program and establish strict limits on how much big donors could give to political candidates. He also helped pull Louisiana out of its worst financial crisis in years. And he allowed Paul Templet, his secretary at the Department of Environmental Quality, to crack down on oil and gas polluters — a first in state history — and clean up Lake Pontchartrain by ending shell dredging.”

The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children is grateful for Governor Roemer’s leadership and public service for the people of Louisiana.
Early Care and Education in the News

"Early childhood education advocates said Wednesday they are facing short- and long-term problems because of roadblocks in the Louisiana Legislature.

The Senate Finance Committee rejected Gov. John Bel Edwards' request for $6 million to boost the number of children eligible for early care."

- The Advocate


"Seventy-six percent support increasing state spending on child care for infants and toddlers from low-income families, and 75% support doing so for 3- and 4-year-olds from low-income families. Similarly, 69% support increasing state spending on child care for infants and toddlers from all families, and 67% support doing so for 3- and 4-year-olds from all families."

- The NOLA 100


"I urge policymakers to prioritize investing in CCAP, to help ensure that parents of infants and toddlers can afford high-quality care. The evidence-based, positive impact on public safety, our economy, and children’s lives more than justifies such an investment.”

- Shreveport Times


Voters strongly support taxing gaming facilities (80%) and online sports betting (78%) to support early childhood education, and at least two in three support taxing nicotine, recreational marijuana, and alcohol to increase funding for early childhood education."

- The Advocate
Upcoming Dates
  • Wednesday, June 2 (11:30 am - 12:30 pm), Early Ed Day at the Capitol Press Conference, tune in here
  • Tuesday, June 8 (10:00 am - 12:30 pm) Children's Cabinet Advisory Board (CCAB) Meeting
  • Tuesday, June 15 - Wednesday June 17 (0:00 - 10:00 am), Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) Meetings

The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children (LPIC) is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that is a source of data, research and information for policymakers on issues concerning young children in Louisiana.  

For more information, contact Libbie Sonnier, Ph.D. at lsonnier@policyinstitutela.org.