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Media Advisory: Juvenile justice bills drawing groups to Capitol today

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Representatives of the “Our Children, Our Future Campaign,” a non-partisan effort to end child poverty in West Virginia, and the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia are expected to visit the Capitol today to discuss juvenile justice issues.

The Our Children, Our Future Campaign expects more than 100 teens, parents, and community leaders unite today to fight for kids on multiple fronts.  This advocacy day is part of the campaign’s statewide effort to end child poverty in West Virginia. 

The campaign’s platform includes 10 issues.  Advocates will focus on the contrast between rising youth incarceration rates and the need for better early childhood education.  Some highlights:

  • Introduction of historic Early Childhood Education bill (SB540) alongside Senator Bob Plymale and Senator Mike Hall, which would begin to enact the ambitious Governor’s Early Childhood Planning Task Force recommendations (see details below)
  • Advocates will also urge passage of Truancy Reform (SB256/HB2550) to stem youth imprisonment (West Virginia’s youth prison rate nearly doubled the last decade, the fastest increase in the country)
  • And also support passage of APRN reform (SB516), so that nurses can practice to their full level of training and start to meet the desperate rural health needs in our state

 The advocates will include teenagers wearing truancy reform signs, testimony from teens and parents. They will march , at 12:20 p.m to the Senate Health Committee for Nurses hearing 

The ACLU of WV will also speak at a press conference sponsored by Our Children Our Future for Kids and Family Day at the Legislature in the Lower Rotunda of the Capitol Building at 12:15 p.m. 

ACLU of WV Policy Director, Cassie Burdyshaw will provide insight and an update on current legislation regarding juvenile justice and truancy law – specially Senate Bill 393, Senate Bill 256 and House Bill 2550. Jen Meinig, Executive Director of ACLU of WV, will be on hand following the presser to answer additional questions.

The ACLU of WV  is a non-partisan, non-profit membership organization whose mission is to ensure the Bill of Rights and rights guaranteed by the Constitution are preserved for each new generation. The ACLU-WV accomplishes these goals through legislative advocacy, litigation, grassroots organizing, and public education.

 The Our Children, Our Future Campaign is a non-partisan alliance of 177+ churches, community organizations, businesses, unions, schools, and advocates – devoted to ending child poverty in West Virginia.  The campaign has fought and won 12 policy victories in two years by engaging new voters and families in the political process. The Campaign will share the 10 items on its 2015 Policy Platform with lawmakers during Kids and Families Day.  More than 3400 West Virginians participated in the creation of the above platform.

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