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.
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.