Senate Passes Child Care Bill Co-Authored By Alexander By Vote Of 97-1

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Senate on Thursday passed a bill co-authored by Senator Lamar Alexander to continue a successful program that provides child care vouchers to low-income children nationwide, including 39,000 in Tennessee. The Senate passed the bill 97 to 1.

“This week in Washington, I shared the success story of a Memphis mother who was able to earn a business degree at LeMoyne-Owen College because the state gave her a voucher to pay for the care of her infant child. Today, that mother is an assistant manager at a Memphis-area Walmart, and she’s paying the full cost of a second child’s care at the same center,” Senator Alexander said.

“Washington ideas are often big and burdensome with lots of rules, but this child care program has survived for more than two decades with a simple idea: Give states grants so they can help low-income parents pay for the child care that best suits their families. This year it helped the parents of about 1.5 million children receive child care so they could go to work or get an education and move up the economic ladder and reach the American dream.”

Senator Alexander said, “I am pleased the Senate passed it today after a good debate, during which senators had the opportunity to offer amendments and get votes on those amendments, and I hope we can achieve more good results like this.”

The Child Care and Development Block Grant program provides funding to states to subsidize child care for low-income families so that parents can work or participate in education and training activities.  The reauthorization bill incorporates feedback and suggestions provided to the Committee since 2012. It continues to provide freedom to states in administering the funds but makes improvements to ensure quality in the child care provided.

Importantly, the program continues to require parents to be working or attending school to receive the child care benefits, and allows them to choose the best child care provider for their family.

In 2012, this program allowed 39,000 Tennessee children to be cared for at about 6,300 providers in the state. The vast majority—more than 90 percent—of these children received care at a licensed provider, which means the facility is inspected at least four times per year, including for health and safety, and is subject to unannounced inspections.

Senator Alexander introduced the bill with committee chairman Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Ia.) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), and Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the former chairman and ranking member of the Subcommittee on Children and Families.

The legislation, which was unanimously approved by the Committee in September 2013, represents the 17th bipartisan HELP Committee bill in the 113th Congress to be considered by the full Senate. Ten of those bills have already been signed into law.


Brenda Hughes Begins "Journey To Success" At Cleveland State

It was just a few months ago when Brenda Hughes heard her name called amongst the many award recipients at Cleveland State’s Community First Gala. Although she knew ahead of time she would be receiving the award for Non-Profit Leadership, the Community First Person of the Year Award was a huge surprise for Hughes. “There were so many true leaders up on that stage,” stated ... (click for more)

CSCC’s LaBine Receives Volunteer Of The Year Award

Dr. Nancy LaBine, director of Nursing at Cleveland State Community College, was awarded the Tennessee Head Start 2015-2016 Community Volunteer of the Year Award by the Family Resource Agency, Inc. Tennessee Early Head Start/Head Start Policy Council. “We don’t expect to receive an award for doing the right thing, but when it happens it really is surprising and humbling,” said ... (click for more)

Spiegel Says Walker County Could Make Payments On $8,705,000 Hutcheson Debt; James Says Letter is Heavy-Handed

Erlanger Health System CEO Kevin Spiegel has written Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell to say that Erlanger would consider taking payments on the $8,705,000 Hutcheson debt. Stuart James, special counsel for Walker County, called the overture "heavy-handed." Walker County earlier offered a $1.3 million "global settlement" that was rejected by Erlanger. Catoosa County ... (click for more)

Customer At East Ridge Gas Station Shoots And Kills Robber; He Had Been Trying To Take Female Clerk With Him

East Ridge Police said a customer at an East Ridge gas station early Thursday morning shot a robber, who was then found by police lying outside the station and was arrested.  The robber has died.  His name is being withheld pending the notification of next of kin. At 1:47 a.m., East Ridge Police responded to 4011 Ringgold Road, the Marathon Service Station, on ... (click for more)

A Disturbing Trend At Exit 11 - And Response (6)

So, am I the first to notice a trend?   How many wrecks does exit 11 need before anyone asks "whats up with that?"  I have lost count of the wrecks that continue to happen, even after last year's awful loss of life (which I believe 51 percent of the blame should fall on the THP officer on duty).  The problem with this section of interstate are sight lines ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden This July

I can never remember a day in July when my garden, my lawn, my dogwood tree, and my ferns are all wilting for lack of rain. Right now we are more than eight inches under our average rainfall for the first six months and, on this wonderful weekend, those who love firecrackers are urged to keep a pail of water in case a spark could cause a fire. On the other hand, every July 4 th ... (click for more)