The Senate on Thursday approved legislation that improves access to the State Children's Health Insurance Program for owners and employees of smaller firms.

The bill, with an amendment attached by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), will require the Small Business Administration to partner with the other federal agencies to better inform small-business owners and employees about the program. It will also create a task force to ensure more children have health-care coverage.

"Many of these children come from families who work for small business or are self employed," Snowe said in a statement. "It is imperative that the SBA and its resource partners actively work to reduce the number of uninsured children in this country."

- more briefs -