The Our Children, Our Future 2016 Policy Platform

The Our Children, Our Future Policy Platform represents the concerns and hopes of West Virginia’s children and families, and is their call to the state’s legislators to address the real challenges they face.

The Our Children, Our Future coalition’s goal now is for state legislators respond to these issues with real and impactful policy solutions during the 2016 legislative session and beyond.

Since 2012, this process has resulted in 18 new pieces of legislation being passed by the legislature to address the Our Children, Our Future campaign’s overall goal of ending child poverty in West Virginia. We aim to add to that number in 2016.

The 2016 Our Children, Our Future Legislative Platform

1. Mental Health Matters: Establish a Statewide Strategy for Combating Child Mental Illness

Responding to a Department of Justice report claiming that West Virginia is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we call on the legislature to pass legislation that would create a comprehensive mental and behavioral health plan for West Virginia’s children.
Do you think mental health matters? Contact Kelli Caseman at kelli@wvmh4kids.org.

2. Protecting Quality Child Care Centers

Because of funding cuts and extensive regulations, Child Care Centers are in jeopardy. The state should not mandate 5-day pre-K and child care, which would hurt centers. Instead, counties should have the freedom to create their own models. We oppose all efforts to reduce child care benefits that would effectively close these businesses.
Help protect child care options in WV: contact Jeanette Barker at jbarkerplaymates@aol.com.

3. Right to Work is Wrong

So-called Right to Work states have a 54.4 percent higher on-the-job death rate than states without Right to Work legislation, and workers in those states make $5,971 less per year in salary. Additionally, 7 of the 10 highest unemployment rates in the country are in states with these laws. We oppose efforts to pass Right to Work legislation in West Virginia.
To help support this effort, contact Josh Sword at jsword@wvaflcio.org.

4. Second Chance for Employment Act & Driver’s Licenses

Thousands of West Virginians can’t find work because they have non-violent felonies on their records, some more than 10 years old. Every year 55,000 West Virginians lose their driver’s licenses only because they can’t afford to pay citations. These two bills would remove barriers for West Virginians who want to work and to pay back their debt to society.
To advocate for legislative support for this issue, contact Amber Miller at brweyez1983@gmail.com, or Sara Whitaker at saranwhitaker@gmail.com.

5. Tax Reform to Protects Roads, Children, Seniors and Jobs

We urge that tax reform guard our investments and add a State Earned Income Tax Credit.
Add your voice by contacting Ted Boettner at tboettner@wvpolicy.org.

6. Juvenile Justice: Redirect and Reinvest

West Virginia is poised to save $20 million as the result of last year’s juvenile justice reforms. But those dollars should go to community-based programs proven to reduce recidivism rates and enhance life outcomes, not to expensive new incarceration facilities. Communities can do it better!
Be an advocate for juvenile justice reform by contacting Jennifer Meinig at jmeinig@acluwv.org.

7. Stop Meth Labs

We want all drug stores to follow the lead of the major pharmacies that require all single-ingredient pseudoephedrine products sold in West Virginia to be conversion-resistant.
Want to help stop meth labs in WV? Contact Judy Crabtree at judy.crabtree@camc.org.

8. Increasing Local Food Access and Profitability

Our three proposed three policy changes (a Cottage Food law, a food sourcing law and a tax incentive), would put locally-grown, healthy food in the hands of more West Virginians, while also increasing market opportunities for local food producers.
Get involved with these issues by contacting Jeremy Grant at jgrant.wvfma@gmail.com

9. Afterschool Opportunities for All

We call for legislation that expands academically enriching out-of-school programs, and keeps West Virginia’s schools and playgrounds open and available for community use. The state legislature this year should start with a modest outlay to expand the state’s shared use program, and turn dozens of West Virginia schools into after-hours community centers.
Help boost after school programs in West Virginia by contacting Chris Kimes at ckimeshkfc@gmail.com

10. Expand Broadband Access

We support an $80 million investment in broadband internet.
Create jobs. Retain talent. Revitalize West Virginia.
Be an advocate for better broadband: contact Natalie Roper at natalie@generationwv.org