2014 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
Protection of the Children First Trust Fund
In the next legislative session, the General Fund budget will face shortfalls as it did in 2013. As a result, we must continue to diligently remind our legislators that as they look for revenue to offset the cost of government, the Children First Trust Fund must remain intact. This fund provides services to over 350,000 children each year through twelve state agencies. These agencies have to annually report exactly how many children and families are served by its dollars - no other budget in Alabama upholds those strict standards.
Support a Tobacco Tax Increase
A tobacco tax increase to slightly below the national average ($1.46/pack of cigarettes) will decrease teen smoking and raise needed state revenue. Currently, the state is in desperate need for some sort of revenue measure to give relief to the General Fund budget which funds numerous state agencies that affect the well-being of Alabama’s children and families. It has been estimated that this tax would generate $215 million dollars annually and would prevent teen smoking by 20%.
Advocate for Sufficient Funding for Agencies that Serve Children
The twelve state agencies that benefit from the Children First Trust Fund are also funded by either the General Fund or the Education Trust Fund. As budgets in Alabama become tighter, it is important to continue to educate lawmakers on what proposed cuts could do to the well-being of Alabama’s children.
Advocate for continued funding for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (ALL KIDS)
ALL KIDS is a low-cost, comprehensive healthcare coverage program for children under age 19 who are not eligible for Medicaid. Families contribute to the cost of their child’s premium based upon their family income. As the state budget continues to tighten the already underfunded ALL KIDS program could be in danger of being cut yet again which would impact the health care benefits of over 80,000 children.
Promote Policy Changes Regarding the Training of Mandatory Child Abuse Reporters
In Alabama a select group of individuals are required to report suspected child abuse and neglect. Children First will be working with the Department of Human Resources to streamline the formal training process for mandatory reporters and to formulate a delivery plan for those needing training.