Rep. Diaz announces agenda for 2019 House session

STATE HOUSE — In the wake of a successful 2018 session that saw many of her policies passed into law, Rep. Grace Diaz (D – Dist. 11, Providence) has announced her agenda for the new session and looks forward to developing policies that will continue to help the people of Rhode Island, including early learning, business opportunity, education, social justice and children’s safety.

“I am honored to once again be serving in the House of Representatives,” said Representative Diaz, who was first elected to the chamber in 2004. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to address my policy priorities.”

Representative Diaz, a longtime advocate for making early learning accessible to all Rhode Islanders, was successful last year in her efforts to overhaul the Rhode Island Child Care Assistance Program, which helps low-income working families pay for child care. The child care assistance rates in Rhode Island were well below the recommended levels to ensure equal access to high-quality child care. The General Assembly passed her legislation to establish a tiered child care reimbursement rate system.

“I am very proud of that legislation, and I look forward to building upon it until high-quality pre-kindergarten learning is accessible to every Rhode Islander,” said Representative Diaz. “As we discover more about the impact of early learning, the importance of its place in public policy cannot be overstated.”

She also plans to reintroduce legislation that would establish and require funding for a world language and dual language immersion program in Rhode Island. Dual language immersion is a method of instruction that promotes a student’s full proficiency in all aspects of English and another language. DLI programs educate students using both English and a partner language for academic instruction and may divide the day by language of instruction.

“With dual- and English-language learners becoming an increasingly large group of students, it’s important to craft legislation to increase funding for the support of their education,” said Representative Diaz. “Too often, these students fail to achieve the same level of academic success as their peers. They’re less likely to achieve in school and less likely to graduate and enroll in college. It’s time to close that gap.”

In addition, Representative Diaz looks forward to building upon social justice policy that ensures a fair deal for all Rhode Islanders, regardless of social background. Last year, she co-sponsored legislation that protects undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as minors by continuing the status quo relating to operator and chauffeur’s licenses to approved recipients under the DACA program.

“We will continue to work hard to even the playing field for all Rhode Islanders, guaranteeing them the education, business opportunity and equal protection under the law that they deserve,” said Representative Diaz. “It makes for a better society, a better workforce, a more educated citizenry and a healthier economy.”

This year, Representative Diaz will also focus on children’s safety, supporting legislation to protect children against sex offenders, including addressing the statute of limitation on prosecuting crimes against sex offenders.

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