Eye On Boise

‘Parents would still make the choice’

Rep. George Sayler, D-Coeur d'Alene, explains the day care licensing bill to the Senate Health & Welfare Committee on Wednesday afternoon. Sayler has proposed such a bill every year for five years in a row. Last year's version didn't get a hearing; this year's committee hearing on SB 1112 drew a full house. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)
Rep. George Sayler, D-Coeur d'Alene, explains the day care licensing bill to the Senate Health & Welfare Committee on Wednesday afternoon. Sayler has proposed such a bill every year for five years in a row. Last year's version didn't get a hearing; this year's committee hearing on SB 1112 drew a full house. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

As the hearing on SB 1112, the day care licensing law, gets under way this afternoon in the Senate Health & Welfare Committee, the room is full and everyone's paying close attention. It's the fifth year in a row such a measure has been proposed. Sen. Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home, read off a list of things Idaho now doesn't require for day cares that have 12 or fewer children: Criminal background checks, first aid and CPR training, a functioning telephone on the premises, smoke alarms, fencing around water hazards, and basic ratios of the number of adults to children. The ratios, Corder said, are based on  "a simple premise - if there is an emergency, how many children can that adult get out of the building?"  Idaho went with four, but Corder said the national standard is three.

Rep. George Sayler, D-Coeur d'Alene, co-sponsor of the bill, told the committee, "Parents would still make the choice ... that's their right and responsibility." But he said the state should provide some basic resources to families, including "the assurance that there are some consistent safety standards in place." The bill requires licensing and sets minimum safety standards for day cares that care for four or more  children unrelated to the operator. Sayler noted that in Coeur d'Alene, which has its own city day care licensing law, "As they've stepped up enforcement, people have moved out of the city into the county where this is no regulation."




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