WE WON! The unanimous verdict is in - the Missouri Supreme Court secured our spot on the November ballot! Click here to read the opinion. Statement below from Yes On 3 attorney Jane Dueker: Victory for Amendment 3; Victory for Kids We are extremely pleased by the Missouri Supreme Court’s decision to affirm the will of the more than 200,000 Missourians who signed petitions supporting “Yes on 3 for Kids.” Voters know that we must start investing in Missouri kids by expanding early childhood education, and Amendment 3 provides an unprecedented opportunity to do just that. Missouri has failed to invest in early childhood education for far too long. Once again, opponents of Amendment 3 were defeated in the courtroom, as the state’s highest court chose to uphold the constitutional rights of citizen-proponents. Now is the time to stop these frivolous lawsuits. Now is the time for politicians to stop putting special interests above kids, and to recognize that Amendment 3 is the only plan that will expand early childhood education in our state. The people of Missouri overwhelmingly believe they should be able to vote on this critical amendment, and their right should not and now will not be denied by these companies and special interests. Missouri lags our neighboring states, and most of the country, in providing access to state-funded early childhood education. In 2014 only 3% of our 4-year-olds were enrolled in these programs, compared to 76%in Oklahoma and 60% in Iowa. That is unacceptable. Amendment #3 is the right way to close this gap. With the amendment written into the Missouri constitution, it will ensure that all the money it raises will go directly to early childhood education and healthcare, and that Jefferson City politicians will not be able to get their hands on these funds or divert them to other programs. It is the best and only proposal on the table to expand early childhood education and ensure that we make Missouri stronger. For these reasons, and many others, Amendment 3 is supported by a broad coalition of respected groups from all areas of the state, including the Missouri School Boards’ Association, Associated Industries of Missouri, Missouri State NAACP, the Missouri Retailers’ Association, Children’s Mercy, Child Care Aware of Missouri, Nurses for Newborns, the Maternal, Child & Family Health Coalition, the Missouri Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators, SSM Health Care and many others; the Amendment also has strong support from St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and Kansas City Mayor Sly James. The people of Missouri overwhelmingly believe they should be able to vote on this critical amendment, and that right was ensured today by the Missouri Supreme Court. We thank the Court for its ruling, and we look forward to the passage of Amendment 3 this November and to a brighter future for all Missouri kids and communities.read moreMaternal, Child & Family Health Coalition Strongly Supports a YES Vote on Amendment 3 Organization Devoted to Improving Birth Outcomes and Building Healthy Communities Endorses the Early Childhood Health and Education Amendment ST. LOUIS (September 19, 2016) – Today Vote Yes on 3 for Kids, the diverse coalition supporting passage of the Early Childhood Health and Education Amendment this November, announced another major endorsement from a key community organization. The Maternal, Child & Family Health Coalition represents more than 200 agencies and consumer groups, and provides a vehicle for examining issues related to the health care of women and children in the St. Louis region. “We believe that all families have the equal right to barrier-free access to health and wellness programs,” said Kendra Copanas, Executive Director of the Maternal, Child & Family Health Coalition. “If Amendment 3 passes, our state would receive $300 million every year in guaranteed funding. That would be a tremendous win for the health of moms and babies, particularly in the area of infant mortality, thanks to the millions of dollars going to smoking-cessation programs for pregnant mothers.” With the November election drawing near, many groups and individuals are voicing support for Amendment 3. The Maternal, Child & Family Health Coalition joins the Missouri Budget Project, the St. Louis Regional Early Childhood Council, Nurses for Newborns, Associated Industries of Missouri, Vision for Children at Risk, the Missouri NAACP, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, and Kansas City Mayor Sly James, among dozens of other endorsers. This widespread support shows an understanding of a basic fact: Missouri faces an early childhood education funding crisis. In 2014, only 3% of Missouri 4-year-olds were enrolled in state-funded pre-K, compared to 60% of 4-year-olds in Iowa, and 76% in Oklahoma. In addition to trailing every single border state, Missouri also trails the majority of states across the nation. Amendment 3 offers a common-sense solution to this crisis, and is the only proposal that will create such a significant increase in early childhood education funding. Missouri has the nation’s lowest cigarette tax, at only 17 cents a pack compared to $1.29 a pack in Kansas and $1.98 a pack in Illinois. By raising the tax by just 60 cents over the next four years, Missouri will have new, constitutionally-guaranteed funding to bring early childhood education and health programs to kids all across the state. “We know that in order to provide a promising future for children and families, we must start early,” said Copanas. “A child’s brain is 90 percent developed by his or her fifth birthday. In order to improve kids’ lives for decades to come, we should all vote YES on Amendment 3.” ###read more
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