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( J.R.H. 32)

Offered by: Representatives Cillo of Hardwick and Fox of Essex.

Whereas, there are many children living in poverty in the state of Vermont, and many more whose lives are stunted by social and economic injustices, and

Whereas, the state of Vermont has embarked upon social welfare reforms which lead the nation in their attention to the needs of children, and

Whereas, the state of Vermont has made a continuing commitment to the education of our children, and

Whereas, local and statewide religious, charitable, labor and business groups have made considerable commitments to assist in the alleviation of childhood poverty, and

Whereas, the federal government has devolved greater and greater responsibility for childhood poverty and other social needs to the states, and

Whereas, pressing changes in the national and international economy are placing greater stress on the economic and social climate of our state, as well as the fiscal integrity of state government, and

Whereas, families, local communities and both public and private institutions are being placed under continued stress that weakens the social fabric of our society that protects and nurtures the lives of children in Vermont, and

Whereas, questions of public policy, private business and activities are often reduced to simplistic terms that only value economic factors, at the expense of those values contained in our Vermont Constitution that lead to social, economic and governmental actions that strengthen our families and communities and create the cultural environment that nurtures children into healthy, socially responsible and productive adults, and

Whereas, a reconsideration of the vital questions of our day in light of the ways in which alternative resolutions will affect the lives of Vermont’s most vulnerable children may lead to a stronger economy, social fabric, and quality of life for all Vermonters, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That there is created a Commission on Childhood Poverty in Vermont, and be it further

Resolved: That the commission shall consist of one member of the House of Representatives to be appointed by the Speaker, one member of the Senate to be appointed by the Committee on Committees, one representative from both Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility and of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, and three representatives from both the Kids First and the Low Income Advocacy Advisory Board, and be it further

Resolved: That all agencies of state government shall cooperate with the commission, and be it further

Resolved: That the commission shall hold public forums to learn of the problems of childhood poverty in Vermont, and be it further

Resolved: That the commission shall, in a cooperative and respectful manner, seek to develop consensus among the public and private sectors to identify resources that can be redirected, actions that can be taken, and partnerships that can be developed and nurtured to end childhood poverty in Vermont, and be it further

Resolved: That all members of the commission shall serve without compensation, and that clerical support for the commission shall be provided by the Kids First organization, and be it further

Resolved: That the commission shall present an interim report to the citizens of Vermont, and to the General Assembly, by January 1, 1998, and shall present a final report by January 1, 1999 when this commission shall be terminated.