Looking for good news?
Ballot measures supporting babies, families and libraries won big this year – both in our state and nationwide! Nationally, Every Library reports that 28 measures for libraries (out of 37) were approved by voters in 17 states. As of this moment, 6 measures could still pass and only 3 have failed. “Voters in towns, cities, and counties – in both red states and blue states – support smart taxes for their local libraries,” says John Chrastka, executive director of EveryLibrary. “It is a testimony to how important libraries and librarians are that even during COVID voters want to see strong libraries and proper funding in place.”
(Personally, I’m SO EXCITED to see Proposition 208 pass in Arizona! The Invest in Education Act will create more school librarian jobs – something I’d like to see here in Colorado, too).
Speaking of Colorado, we have a lot to celebrate locally:
Gallagher Repeal: Colorado voters strongly supported repealing the Gallagher Amendment. The Gallagher Amendment, originally passed in 1982, has increasingly put school districts, fire districts, libraries and others in a precarious financial situation (creating an ever widening shortfall as residential assessment rates have fallen while commercial assessments rates remained steady). The repeal averts a devastating financial crisis for schools and other entities, and alleviates pressure on the State budget to fill the gap.
Proposition EE: Colorado voters also approved a nicotine tax measure that will be used to fund universal free preschool for four year olds starting in the fall of 2023.
Paid Family and Medical Leave: Colorado voters approved a new paid family and medical leave law that will launch in 2024. This will go a long way towards strengthening Colorado’s families and supporting infant/maternal health! Supportive policies like these are critical to help families adjust in the early days and help babies reach developmental bonding/attachment milestones. This was one of Colorado’s big opportunities for growth in the 2020 State of Babies Yearbook.
I hope these wins help fuel your fires, friends.
I also hope you will continue exercising your right to vote by participating in our upcoming CLEL Steering Committee Elections! CLEL is looking for new Steering Committee leadership on each of our subcommittees – visit this blog post to learn more.
Intrigued by the sound of connecting with local leaders, empowering your fellow professionals and advocating for early literacy? Attend a virtual information session on Tuesday, November 17th! Join us at 3PM MST to meet current CLEL steering committee members, learn what we love about serving on CLEL, ask questions and more. Please use this Google form to request the Zoom meeting link.
And members, stay tuned for the electronic election ballot link in December!
Jessica Fredrickson currently serves on the CLEL Steering and Advocacy Committee. She is a former teacher turned Youth Services Librarian. She is passionate about accessibility, early math in storytime and raising readers, writers and critical thinkers.