PARKERSBURG, W.Va. -- After months of meetings and discussions, the "Our Children, Our Future Campaign to End Child Poverty" coalition's approved 2014 state legislative agenda focuses on issues ranging from increasing the minimum wage to adding 30 minutes of physical activity to each school day.
The coalition will also support the creation of 'Future Fund' from a portion of state severance taxes and call for legislative action on the availability of pseudo ephedrine, which is diverted to make meth.
The field of policy issues that make up the coalition's 2014 platform was narrowed from 20 to six at the organization's annual meeting here on Dec. 13 and via online voting that ended Monday Dec. 16. More than 900 religious, business, union, youth, community and school leaders from across the state voted on the platform, according to coalition officials.
"The vote only matters as much as what we do after the vote," Stephen Smith said at the annual meeting. Smith is executive director of the West Virginia Coalition for Healthy Kids and Families and is the leader of the "Our Children, Our Future" coalition.
"If your issue wins, you're committed to a whole lot of stuff," he said, including getting supporters to the state Capitol to meet with lawmakers and finding people affected by the issue who will testify at legislative hearings.
The issues that received the most votes, the lead sponsoring organization or organizations, and contact information are as follows:
- Implement a multi-year plan for statewide expansion of in-home family education programs. Prevent Child Abuse WV, Team for WV Children, Partners in Community Outreach. Jim McKay, ...@teamwv.org
- Increase the minimum wage. WV Center on Budget and Policy, WV Alliance for Sustainable Families, WV AFL-CIO. Alyson Clements, acleme...@wvpolicy.org
- Preserve funding for Family Resource Networks and Starting Points Family Resource Centers. WV Alliance of Family Resource Networks, WV Family Resource Centers Association, Prevent Child Abuse WV/Team for WV Children. Robin Brown, nicholas...@frontier.com and Maria Short, startingpoi...@hotmail.com
- Add 30 minutes of physical activity to each school day. Dr. Jamie Jeffrey, Keys 4 HealthKids, Emily Murphy. Laura Dice, laura.D...@camc.org
- Create a 'Future Fund' from a portion of state severance taxes. WV Center on Budget and Policy, American Friends Service Committee, AFL-CIO, WV Council of Churches. Rick Wilson, rwil...@afsc.org
- Address pseudo ephedrine, which is diverted to make meth; provide funding for peer-based substance abuse recovery; remove barriers to employment for those in successful long-term recovery. Partnership of African American Churches, United Way of Southern WV Inc. Rev. James Patterson, patter...@paac2.org