From Meredith Hartery, President of the WV Chapter National Organization for Women
Things are heating up and we need everyone to take these urgent actions and hop on the 📞 and start making calls! Now is the time to get 📢! Those actions that require immediate action are marked with ⏰
Issue: Protection of Marginalized People 🔥⏰
Initiative: Ensuring child custody decisions are child-focused 🔥⏰
- SB 463 is up for a floor vote in the Senate this week and will impact child custody cases in WV by requiring judges to order 50/50 custody split in all cases where parents cannot agree on a custody plan. While there are some exceptions, it would be difficult to overcome these in many cases.
- While the bill is titled the “best interest of the child” it was actually created to address perceived unfairness toward parents without actually addressing what is best for children.
- Each custody case is unique and judges should have the leeway to work with families to ensure the best outcome. Currently WV family court judges can and do order 50/50 custody in cases where individual family situations support this.
- This bill is opposed by WVNOW and the WV Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Prevent Child Abuse WV for its detrimental effects on women and children in WV
- 🔥⏰ Action 🔥⏰
- We want to stop this bill in its tracks. Ask Senators to vote “no” on SB 463 and keep WV kids first in custody cases by sending this email.
Initiative: Eliminating Child Marriage
- Eliminating child marriage by raising the minimum age of marriage to 18 without exception. West Virginia has the 9th highest per capita rate of child marriage in the nation and current state law allows any child (no minimum age) to enter into a marriage with permission from a parent and a judge. Child marriage is often the result of entrenched gender inequality, as statistically, 86% of child marriages will happen to girls.
- Bills: Setting the age of consent for marriage at 18 SB 224, HB 4435
- 🔥ACTION 🔥
Initiative: The CROWN Act
- The CROWN Act HB 4741 which protects against discrimination by adding to the WV Human Rights Act traits commonly associated with race like hair texture and protective styles including brains and twists.
Issue: Economic Justice 🔥⏰
Initiative: Childcare subsidy payment by enrollment HB 4792 🔥⏰
- Research shows one of the biggest issues for parents to get jobs is access to quality childcare. A bill has been introduced to change subsidized child care funding from attendance to enrollment!
- What exactly does this mean? Child care centers have always been paid for families who receive publicly funded child care based on attendance and only get paid if the child shows up for care.
- This bill would allow for payment based on enrollment to increase the financial stability of child care centers and ensure that WV child care centers continue to provide service to the most vulnerable West Virginians
- 🔥⏰ Action 🔥⏰
- Send an email to House Health Committee Members asking them to support HB 4792.
Initiative: Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughn Fair Pay Act HB 3247
- In WV, women on average make $0.76 for every dollar paid to men; the gap for women of color is even worse. These lost earnings, on average, equate to women providing two years’ worth of food on her family’s table or paying the tuition for two years at a West Virginia community college for herself or one of her children. This has a significant impact on West Virginia’s economy. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the poverty rate for women in WV would be reduced by 1/3 if they were paid the same as comparable men. A reduction of this magnitude in our poverty rate would have far reaching economic benefits for West Virginia
- 🔥ACTION 🔥
Issue: Equitable Health Care for All West Virginians
Initiatives: Preserving a patient’s right to abortion, HB 4382
- Thank you Delegate and National NOW Board Member, Danielle Walker; Delegate Evan Hansen; and Senator Bob Beach for taking a strong stand for abortion rights!
- 🔥ACTION 🔥
- Urge legislators to oppose abortion bans.
Issue: Equity and Representation in WV
Initiatives: Combating racist and homophobic bills
- A series of bills have been introduced seeking to ban the discussion around sexism, racism, discrimination, etc. in publicly funded institutions. These bills prohibit important and necessary discussions in workplaces and in curriculum regarding the racial history of the United States, implicit bias, and privilege.
- SB 498: Creating Anti-Racism Act of 2022
- HB 2595/SB 45: Prohibit “divisive concepts” from schools, state agencies and any groups receiving state funding
- SB 182: Prohibiting teaching of divisive acts and critical race theory in public schools
- HB 2157: Forbidding displays relating to sexuality in public school facilities and forbidding the teaching of sexuality in public school
- 🔥ACTION 🔥
- Urge legislators to vote no on House Bill 4011!
⏰🔥IMPORTANT ACTIONS 🔥 ⏰
- Tell WV Legislators: No More Tax Cuts for the 1%– Invest in WV!
- Urge WV Legislators to Reject Cuts to Unemployment Insurance!
- Did you know that there are more than ONE MILLION library card holders in WV? And yet public libraries have not received an increase in state funds in a decade! Reach out to your representative TODAY and implore them to increase Grants to Public Libraries by $1.00 per capita! (Check out this sample email for what you can say!)
- SB 488 is a strong bill that would eliminate voting restrictions for those WVians on probation or parole. It’s up for a vote in the Senate this week– urge your Senators to support it.
- HB 2257 would extend supervision for up to 10 years for people convicted of certain drug felonies– this bill does nothing to address the addiction crises in WV and instead would drive up recidivism and put more strain on struggling families and our state budget. Take action here.
February 27, 2022: Bills have to be out of committee
March 2, 2022: last day to consider bill on third reading in house of origin aka Cross Over Day
Let’s do this!