Annual Children’s Advocacy Day at the State Capitol

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) — As Kentucky’s lawmakers meet in Frankfort, various groups are rallying at the capitol to urge them to take up for their priorities.

Thursday, elected leaders joined youth advocates to rally for Kentucky children.

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Hundreds filled the Capitol Rotunda fighting for a brighter future for kids.

“Kid’s count! Kid’s count!”, chanted Kentucky Youth Advocates.

This was KYA’s message for legislators during the annual Children’s Advocacy Day.

Kids telling lawmakers what they need.

“I just want to see Kentucky be the best place that you can be a kid,” says Nellie Ellis, a senior at Whitley County High School.

This year, that means laws that emphasize health and safety.

During what many call a national vaping epidemic, KYA is pushing for vaping products to be taxed like tobacco products.

“We’re hoping that kind of curbs vaping for students everywhere,” says Ellis.

Students praised last year’s school safety bill, which passed overwhelmingly, but they say it needs more work.

“I think it included a lot of improvements that could help everyone feel more secure but there wasn’t really any funding attached to that,” says Ellis.

Governor Andy Beshear says he’s working on it.

“Well we’re looking at the school safety bill right now. We’re likely going to have to do that in steps to get to the ultimate full funding,” says Governor Beshear.

A teen who spent years in the foster system says there are too many kids like her with unaddressed trauma.

“We must prioritize children’s access to mental health services and give school personnel the training they need to help students,” says student Ana Polgheers.

Governor Beshear says his budget proposal he’ll announce later this month will reflect the need to protect Kentucky’s children.

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Christy Bollinger joined the ABC 36 news team as a reporter in March 2018. Christy comes from a little western Kentucky town called Cadiz. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in May 2017 with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Criminology. Christy is thrilled to be working at her dream job in her home state. She is passionate about storytelling and you can see her weekdays on ABC 36 News at 5 and 6 p.m. She's covered everything from visits from the sitting president and vice president, to high-profile murder cases. When not chasing stories, Christy loves nothing more than being at the beach and says life is just better with sand between your toes and waves crashing at your feet. She is also a big animal lover. She's a fur momma and her mini-Australian Shepherd, Milly, standard Australian Shepherd, Bennie, and her Maine Coon, Cheeto, are the loves of her life. Christy encourages you to send her any story ideas you may have. Find her on Facebook at Christy Bollinger ABC 36, tweet her @ChristyB_news, or email her at CBollinger@wtvq.com.