Governor signs Rep. Tana Senn’s bill to protect neighborhood childcares into law
OLYMPIA—Washington state has been grappling with a childcare crisis for years, with over half a million children lacking access to licensed childcare. Today, Governor Jay Inslee signed House Bill 1199 into law, a critical step in improving access to childcare options for families across the state.
Sponsored by long-term childcare advocate Rep. Tana Senn (D-Mercer Island), House Bill 1199 prohibits homeowners’ associations and landlords from unreasonably restricting the operation of licensed family home childcare or licensed child day care centers. The bill passed in the Washington State Legislature this session with strong bipartisan support, reflecting the urgent need to address this critical issue.
The lack of affordable childcare has a significant impact on families, with unstable financial situations resulting in lost wages and productivity, costing the state’s economy billions of dollars each year. The situation was further compounded by the unnecessary fines and eviction threats licensed childcare providers were facing from homeowner’s associations, creating an unfair barrier to providing essential childcare services to families in need.
“Now, more than ever, Washington state families are in dire need of equitable and affordable childcare. The passage of HB 1199 allows me to do what I love—caring for the children of our state — while no longer living in fear of losing my home!” said Laura Pavlov, owner of Alphabetz Daycare in Lake Stevens, who testified in support of the bill.
House Bill 1199 addresses this issue by ensuring that licensed family home childcare and child day care centers can operate without unreasonable restrictions from homeowners’ associations and landlords, creating more childcare options for families near their homes. This is particularly important for low-income families, children with special needs, and children from communities of color, who often rely on family home childcare providers for essential care services.
“This bill came directly from talking with childcares across the state,” explained Senn. “At a time when families need more childcare options and small business childcares are struggling, this is a commonsense bill to help provide business security and childcare access.”
House Bill 1199 will go into effect immediately, providing much-needed relief for childcares and families across the state. With this new law in place, licensed family home childcare providers and licensed child day care centers can operate without fear of unreasonable restrictions, fines or threat of eviction, ensuring more childcare options for families.