The Ready Louisiana Coalition celebrated big revenue wins during the 2021 legislative session for early care and education, including allocating sports betting revenue and specialty NBA Pelican license plate revenues to the Louisiana Early Childhood Education Fund. These revenue wins come after advocacy efforts to make early care and education a priority for Louisiana legislators. Alliance allies at the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children lead the Ready Louisiana Coalition to advocate for the investment in high-quality early care and education. The coalition includes bipartisan support from businesses, chambers, advocacy organizations, and early care and education professionals.
Revenue Wins for Early Care and Education
Louisiana’s early care and education programs lack adequate funding, in part, due to insufficient investment from state general revenues. As a result, many Louisiana families do not have access to high-quality programs. The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children (LPIC) found that the early care and education sector lost approximately $245 million between March 2020 and January 2021. LPIC also conducted a poll with 600 likely voters to gauge the support of taxing sports betting to fund early care and education. They found that over 75% of voters show strong support for taxing sports betting. In addition, the poll demonstrated favorable bipartisan support to allocate sports betting revenues to early care and education over the state general fund. Many Louisiana citizens understand that investment in child care will lead to economic recovery. The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children used this poll to support their advocacy efforts towards new revenue streams for the Early Childhood Education Fund. The Fund was created in 2017 and provides a match for non-federal and non-state funds secured by local early care and education entities. Sufficiently supporting the Fund will maximize the impact of state-matching dollars towards local investments, such as the creation of additional child care slots for families and support to sustain child care centers.
- HB 601 allocates 50% of revenues from the NBA Pelicans license plate to the Fund.
- SB 142 allocates 25% of sports betting revenues, up to 20 million, to the Louisiana Early Childhood Education Fund.
“The Louisiana Early Childhood Fund is a crucial opportunity to leverage local investments in early care and education, and local entities have really stepped up.”
Libbie Sonnier, PhD and Executive Director
Louisiana Policy Institute for Children
“Unfortunately, state investments in the Fund have not been significant compared to local investments, so we are thrilled with these wins.”
LPIC and other partners also succeeded in other efforts to promote broad investment for Louisiana children and families, which include:
- HB 7 removes a tax liability for diapers and feminine hygiene products. This bill provides affordability for essential products for the well-being of children and families.
- HB 190 requires all Louisiana healthcare plans to offer maternal care to cover the cost of midwifery care. The bill also establishes a state registry board for doulas to eventually cover the cost of doula care.
- HR 193 and SR 208 create a provision to fund an extension of Medicaid coverage to a full-year postpartum. The Louisiana Department of Health budget funds this win.
- SB 215 provides workplace protections for pregnant and lactating women.
- SB 148 creates the M.J Foster Promise Program, providing grants for adults seeking higher education and training opportunities through the Louisiana Community and Technical College System. Parents and caregivers will be able to use portions of the grant for child care.
These legislative wins demonstrate that broad investment in early childhood development is a substantial step forward towards a better system for Louisiana children and families.