Questions on day care quality
State Representative Mary Lou Freeman and Senator Steve Kettering discussed efforts to expand the bottle bill and a daycare rating system, among other issues, Saturday at a legislative coffee at Abner Bell's in Storm Lake. The Storm Lake Chamber of Commerce sponsors the event.
"I'm willing to look at anything," Kettering said regarding efforts to go beyond the current bottle bill. "But I haven't figured out the system that works yet. That's my reason for not expanding it."
Freeman said she had wanted a 10-cent deposit and a five-year plan for more stringent curbside recycling.
Diane Hamilton said public awareness of what is recyclable and what is not remains an issue.
Freeman agreed that the current system is not working.
"All we have is an anti-litter bill right now that isn't working because people walk right past the plastic and pick up the cans," Freeman said.
The issue of rating daycare centers also came up. The proposal by Governor Tom Vilsack would rate daycares similar to a restaurant rating system. Marilyn Monson, who serves on the board of the Newell Daycare Center with her husband Paul, said the home daycare provider would not be covered under the plan.
Kettering noted that the rating system was voluntary.
"We have to maintain quality in our daycares and the private ones don't," Paul Monson said.
"I don't know how the state can know what's going in in every home in every town in every county," said Marilyn Monson. "It seems like the state regulations make sure we don't make money," she said of public daycares. "The ratio of staff to children is ludicrous. These standards need to be reevaluated. The state's against children's centers being successful because of the ratio," Monson said of the requirements for public daycares.
Paul Monson clarified that daycares of over six children had to be licensed.
Regardless of state regulations, Marilyn Monson said it was impossible to get the state to enforce regulations against private daycares. "If you turn that into DHS, nothing happens," Monson said. "It's a very disgusting situation."
"Low-income people are going to find cheaper places to drop their kids off," said Paul Monson.
"So it's going to be a price issue," Kettering clarified. "It's not going to be a quality issue at all."