CFK Weekly? Nov. 7, 2002 Special Edition

Connect for Kids Weekly — November 7, 2002

Special Election Results Edition

WHAT’S AT STAKE IN 2003 FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

NEW BALANCE OF POWER IN CONGRESS WILL SET NEW AGENDA

A LOOK AT THE NEWCOMERS

BALLOT INITIATIVE RESULTS

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WHAT’S AT STAKE IN 2003 FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

The year 2003 will not only bring a new legislature but it will also be an important
year for children. The 108th Congress will be making many policy and funding
choices that will affect how well working families can get good care, healthy
food and good schooling for their children, and how well the federal government
can help states strengthen their budgets and blunt the hardships of a weak economy.
Check out Connect for Kids’ list of key legislative proposals and programs
up for reauthorizations for 2003.

http://www.connectforkids.org/resources3139/resources_show.htm?attrib_id=4956&doc_id=125985&parent=82761

NEW BALANCE OF POWER IN CONGRESS WILL SET NEW AGENDA

The Republican control of both houses of Congress gives greater weight to Senate
minority leader Trent Lott’s priorities for the congressional lame duck
session that starts on November 12 and for 2003, when Senator Lott is expected
to become Senate majority leader in the 108th Congress.

According to Congress Daily, Lott said he would like the lame duck session
to pass a continuing resolution that funds the government until February or
March. In addition to Homeland Security (which might not get done in the lame
duck session), Lott’s priorities in 2003 would include making upcoming
tax reductions permanent and passing a budget resolution, pension and welfare
reform and another tax reform package.

A LOOK AT THE NEWCOMERS

By now you know the results of the Senate and House races, but you might want
to find out more about the new members of the 108th Congress. Congressional
Quarterly gives a politically savvy portrait of the winners.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/onpolitics/elections/2002/newmembers.htm

BALLOT INITIATIVE RESULTS

Voters in the November 5 election weighed in on several ballot initiatives,
some of which were important decisions for children and families.

State Decisions 2002 charts all the ballot measures by state.

http://www.statedecisions2002.com/ballotquestions.aspx

Here are some of the highlights:

Alaska voters authorized $236 million in bonds for construction and renovation
of educational facilities.

Arkansas voters rejected a constitutional amendment to eliminate taxes on food
and medicine. Arkansas Advocates for Children had opposed this amendment on
the grounds that the revenue lost would severely restrict the state’s
ability to pay for vital services for families, and that there are better ways
to lighten the tax burden on low-income families.

http://www.aradvocates.org/finances/

California voters approved Proposition 47 authorizing the issuance of bonds
to fund necessary education facilities to relieve overcrowding and repair older
schools. They also passed Proposition 49, which increases state grant funds
for before- and after-school programs providing tutoring, homework assistance,
and educational enrichment; establishes priority for continued funding level
for schools already receiving grants; makes public elementary, middle and junior
high schools, including charter schools, eligible for grants ranging from $50,000
to $75,000; and provides priority for additional funding for schools with predominantly
low-income students.

http://voterguide.ss.ca.gov/propositions.asp?sID=1

Colorado voters rejected an English-only education amendment while Massachusetts
voters approved one. In Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly voted to replace
bilingual education with all-English classes, The ballot initiative calls for
placing non-English speakers in English immersion classes for a year, with some
exceptions.


http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/310/metro/English_immersion_plan_wins_over_bilingual_ed+.shtml

http://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/main.htm

Florida voters approved constitutional amendments mandating reduced class sizes
in elementary and secondary education programs and creating a voluntary, universal
pre-kindergarten program. Floridians also approved a constitutional amendment
banning smoking in most public places.

http://enight.dos.state.fl.us/

Hawaii voters passed a constitutional amendment authorizing the state to issue
bonds in order to provide financial assistance to private schools.

Kentucky voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing the state supreme
court to designate one or more divisions of Circuit Court within a judicial
circuit as a family court division.

New Mexico voters approved a constitutional amendment that permits the state
and local governments to provide land, buildings or infrastructure to create
affordable housing. They also approved an initiative authorizing the issuance
and sale of public library acquisition bonds to make capital expenditures for
public school, higher education, and public library acquisitions.

North Dakota voters rejected a measure to create income tax rebates and student
loan assistance for residents under the age of 30.

Oregonians rejected a measure to increase income and payroll taxes to pay for
a statewide Health Care Finance Plan.

Virginia voters approved measures authorizing the issuance of general obligation
bonds for capital projects for educational facilities and for parks and recreation
facilities.

The Education Commission of the States has information on the education-related
ballot measures across the states.

http://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/40/93/4093.doc

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Keep in touch, everyone!

Jan Richter, Policy and Outreach Specialist, and the Connect for Kids team

Jan@benton.org