Families Leading Change is one of several coalitions under the umbrella of West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families (WVHKF). As the January 2019 West Virginia Legislative session unfolds, WVHKF offers to help West Virginia families get involved in meeting with their state Delegates and Senator to share their view on issues of great interest and consequence to West Virginian communities.

Kristen O’Sullivan, with WVHKF, encourages all parents, youth, and community leaders to consider coming to the Capitol during one of the Tuesday sessions. January 22 is our first OCOF Tuesday at the Capitol,” and she urges everyone to register so his team can help you get the most out of your visit. We’ll meet in the Capitol cafeteria at 8:30 to share the latest info, then head to a public hearing on Foster Care/Managed Care. You can speak (we’ll help you figure out what to say) or just watch. The rest of the day will be spent meeting with legislators on clean drinking water, fair pay, clean elections, education, and other platform issues. You can focus on the issue that you’re most passionate about or meet with your own elected officials.

New to this? No worries! Organizers and experienced lobbyists will be with you every step of the way. All you need to do is be there to show your power. Thanks to generous donors, we are able to cover some costs for folks with limited means. Just request assistance when you register.

Below is a list of some of the 2019 Bills that WVHKF is following.

Foster Care: No Managed CareHB 2010 – We’re playing defense on this one! Here’s a great article from the Gazette-Mail about the consequences of switching foster care to a for-profit, managed care organization. It’s a big, expensive mistake that hurts our most vulnerable children. Speak out at the public hearing on Tuesday, 9am, in the House chambers. We’ll meet in the Capitol cafeteria at 8:30 to get everyone ready to say a few words. Betty Rivardbettyrivard@yahoo.com

Protect Our Drinking Water – Rule, rather than a bill – Here’s what Angie Rosser (arosser@wvrivers.org) from WV Rivers Coalition is asking us to do:

We expect the Senate Energy, Industry & Mining and Senate Judiciary Committees to vote on revisions to West Virginia’s water quality standards – the rules that protect our water – very soon. These committees have the opportunity to listen to citizens of West Virginia and update WV’s water quality standards with EPA-recommended human health protections.

It is critical that members of these committees hear from you! Ask them to protect public health and adopt the EPA-recommended human health criteria updates that strengthen our water protections. Send a letter here.

Other Platform Issues

*** Women’s Health EquityHB 2500 – This bill removes the tax on period products & was sent to the House Finance Committee. Alisa Clements alisa.clements@ppsat.org

*** WV Summer Feeding for All – HB ??? – It’s been introduced, but doesn’t have a number yet. Jenny Anderson janderson@ourfuturewv.org

*** Clean ElectionsHB 2169 – This bill will make it easier for third parties to get candidates on the ballot. It’s currently in House Judiciary Committee.  Julie Archer julie@wvcah.org

*** Restore SNAP Benefits for People in Re-Entry and RecoveryHB 2459 – Celebrate because this passed the House Judiciary Committee and is headed to the floor!  Lida Shepherd lshepherd@afsc.org

*** Debt-Free Higher Education – SB 1– was introduced by Senator Carmichael. While we’re glad that this is a top legislative priority, this particular bill has some parts we’d like to see changed.  Chris Kimes ckimeshkfc@gmail.com

*** Katherine Johnson Fair Pay ActHB 2308 – is sitting in the House Committee on Industry and Labor.  Rebekah Aranda aranda05@yahoo.com

If you want to know more about  SB 327 & HB 2483, which both provide alternative incentives for public school math teachers, get in touch with Families Leading Change director, Jenny Anderson, who is leading an effort to vocalize parent and teacher concerns about the approach suggested in these Bills.

Want to know more about the WVHKF Coalition?

Our VISION is for West Virginia to be the best place in the world to live, work, and raise a family - no matter who you are. The means: Great education and jobs, Healthy communities, and a government that invest in people, and people who invest in government.

The Healthy Kids Coalition (now known as the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition) was formed in 1998 to develop statewide support for the legislative creation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in West Virginia. Health care provider groups, the faith community, children’s advocates, social service providers and others came together to support expansion of health coverage for West Virginia children through CHIP. When WVCHIP was created, the Coalition promoted the program and developed strategies to reach out to eligible children and their families to enroll them in the new program and in Medicaid. With funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and the Sisters of Saint Joseph Charitable Fund, the Coalition developed grass roots outreach strategies in every county in West Virginia.