Bipartisan Dolly Parton Imagination Library bill gains House approval

CENTRALIA — Legislation to expand the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program across Washington passed the House on Tuesday by 89 votes, with only seven dissenting.

The program, which was established in Lewis County by the Lewis County Rotary Foundation and United Way of Lewis County in 2019, provides age-appropriate books to children between the ages of 0 to 5 at no cost to the families enrolled.

The bipartisan House Bill 2068, co-sponsored by Rep. Peter Abbarno, R-Centralia, and Rep. Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver, expands the program across Washington, through the state selecting a qualified nonprofit to operate it locally by county.

“About five years ago, I made a commitment as a father to do a better job of reading to my children every night,” Abbarno said this week while thanking the House for supporting the bill. “Not only is reading good for kindergarten readiness and increases cognitive, learning and language skills, but it builds stronger families. It really encourages that precious quality time parents can have with their children. It’s a special time in my life that I’ll always remember as I create this tradition with my children.”

According to a news release from House Republicans, Abbarno said around that same time, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program was established in Lewis County and he “got involved in helping to get that off the ground.”

The bill will now go to the Senate for consideration.

Article Source: The Columbian