The citizens behind the Our Children, Our Future campaign have been aggressively working the marble steps at the West Virginia State Capitol over the past six weeks in support of bills that would help West Virginia’s children and families be happier, healthier and more prosperous.
We have had our share of both victories and defeats.
The Right to Work is Wrong team unfortunately faced a tough battle at the beginning of the session to stop this piece of legislation, and despite rallying to urge Governor Tomblin to veto the Right to Work bill, a simple majority veto in the Legislature in the end proved more powerful than the voices of thousands of working West Virginians.
Additionally, the Stop Meth Labs proposal to limit the availability access of single-ingredient pseudoephedrine products, and a proposal to make school’s fitness facilities available to the general public both hit hurdles raised by the state’s looming budget crisis.
The Juvenile Justice proposal to redirect money spent on building detention centers into community-based programs to reduce recidivism rates is currently being examined by the Senate Judiciary committee.
The proposal to create a statewide mental health advisory group, Mental Health Matters, received the most support in this year’s Our Children, Our Future platform vote. Thanks in part to that groundswell of grassroots support, that bill – SB 286 – is moving through the Senate committees and is currently before the Finance committee.
Second Chance for Employment, SB 411, a bill that would help nonviolent offenders reenter the workforce, passed the Senate Judiciary committee on Tuesday. As did SB 634, the Second Chance Driver’s License Act, that would allow a person with unpaid fines to be issued a provisional driver’s license so that they can drive to work while paying off their fines.
Both bills now await passage by the full Senate.
And there was terrific news for supporters of child care centers this week. SB 146, allowing child care centers and counties the flexibility to choose between a 4 and 5 day Pre-K week, made its way through both chambers and is now on its way to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
Thank you to everyone for your continued dedication and response to helping our policy teams! Together we will help to end child poverty in West Virginia!