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.
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 in towns . 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, the state increased investments in quality, affordable child care, including an additional $15 million over the biennium in the budget for child care subsidies. This increase allows New Hampshire to meet critical health and safety regulations for our children while providing them with quality early childhood development opportunities.