West Virginia University students members of Students Advocating for Legislative Advancement (SALA) met with Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer to ask for help on three issues. They walked away with an agreement to introduce legislation on all three.
“Everything the students requested was reasonable and unusually well-researched,” said Fleischauer. “I am pleased to try to help them.”
The student group is focusing on three issues: restoring the Promise scholarship to full tuition, requiring landlords to address mold in student housing, and proposing Medical Amnesty or Good Samaritan policies on college campuses. Medical amnesty policies provide protections for those who report alcohol poisoning or drug overdoses.
Returning the PROMISE to its full benefit is SALA’s priority initiative. SALA members interviewed staff at the WV Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) for cost information and staff at the Governor’s Office, who pointed the students to the proper code section which would need to be changed. The result was House Bill 2581, with Delegate Fleischauer as lead sponsor, which would fund PROMISE at the full level for one year. A companion PROMISE bill, Senate Bill 339, was introduced by Senator Bob Beach.
The mold bill, HB 2449, was introduced on February 14, 2013 and assigned to the Judiciary Committee and referred to a subcommittee.
Delegate Fleischauer intends to introduce the medical amnesty provision as a study resolution. “Because members are unfamiliar with this concept, which has been enacted in other states,” she explained, “ it makes sense to do more research and try to get consensus.”
SALA members will travel to the Capitol on March 12, 2013, where they have made appointments to meet with over 20 Senators and Delegates, and hope to met with Governor Tomblin.
SALA is in its third year at WVU. During it’s first year, SALA helped pass a law to improve the process of getting security deposits returned. According to SALA member Randy Jones, “The issues we work on center around the student body, the University, and the Morgantown community, which is my hometown. It was great to see Delegate Fleischauer dig into what we asked her to help with and get bills introduced as she promised,” said Jones
Another active SALA member, Chair Kristen Pennington, observed that sometimes students and younger people are not taken seriously. In this case, however, SALA members have been pleased with the respect they have been shown. “The Governor’s staff, the HEPC staff and Delegate Fleischauer all met with us and followed through with action.” she said. “ But the job is not finished,” she observed. “Now it is SALA’s turn to convince other policy makers to take us seriously by passing legislation,” she added.
To follow the progress of the above bills, or any other legislation, consult with the West Virginia Legislature’s webpage, www.legis.state.wv.us.
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