Today was a good day for the kids of West Virginia.
Today, Senate Republicans and Democrats united to help address our twin crises of child abuse and child incarceration, with the resounding passage of two major pieces of legislation that will make life a little bit easier for troubled kids in our state, some of our most vulnerable kids.
The first bill passed today, HB2550, is a truancy reform measure that would help reduce the massive influx of kids entering the criminal justice system – instead getting them help sooner from their school principals and counselors. This bill passed 31-2, with one abstention in the Senate.
The second bill, HB2527 – commonly referred to as “Erin Merryn’s Law” – would establish a statewide task force to improve child abuse prevention practices in schools and communities. West Virginia becomes the 21st state to take this important measure. This measure was passed unanimously, 34-0.
Delegate Pasdon, Delegate Cowles, and Sen. Walters deserve a lot of credit for working with their constituents and reaching across the aisle to find compromises and keep these bills moving.
Both pieces of legislation were officially endorsed by Our Children, Our Future – the campaign to end child poverty in West Virginia. Our Children, Our Future is a statewide coalition of over 177 partners that unites around issues affecting vulnerable children and families. Now in its third year, the Campaign has already helped to lead the charge on 12 statewide policy victories – from raising the minimum wage to expanding school breakfast and lunch programs to restoring children’s funding.
If you are interested in being a part of positive and inspiring victories like the one we celebrate today, and in working toward new victories for West Virginia’s children, reach out to me.