Randy Yohe Published

Patriotic Societies In Schools And Teen Parents Covered In House Bill Proposals

Two men in suits talking.
HB 4863 sponsor Del. Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson, talking with WVPB Government Reporter Randy Yohe.
Perry Bennett/WV Legislative Photography

In the House of Delegates on Wednesday, eight bills on third reading were advanced to the Senate. The list includes bills that help provide for pregnant and parenting teen mothers and fathers, getting dentures while on Medicaid, and patriotic societies recruiting in West Virginia schools.   

There were some not so obvious reasons for proposing House Bill 4863, the Patriotic Access to Students in Schools Act. The bill provides patriotic societies the opportunity to speak and recruit at public schools.

The question was, what patriotic societies can recruit in West Virginia schools? The lengthy list of patriotic societies is defined in Title 36 of the U.S. Code and includes groups such as Little League Baseball, Future Farmers of America and the Boy and Girl Scouts. It all sounds benign, but WVPB was told there are challenges from many West Virginia school principals.

Del. Rick Hillenbrand, R-Hampshire, and a long time Boy Scout leader, said the issue for some school principals was not who is on the federally approved list, but one of convenience, or perhaps inconvenience.

“I think honestly, it’s a fear that the principals typically have with regards to ‘Gee, if I let this group in, am I going to have to let every group in?’” Hillenbrand said. “Something the U.S. government dealt with a long time ago with Title 36. So there really doesn’t need to be that fear.”

The bill passed 95-0  

House Bill 4933 makes it so dentures are not counted toward the $1,000 yearly limit provided by the Medicaid program for diagnostic preventive and restorative dental service. With the measure, an adult 21 years or older would be able to purchase dentures without it counting against their Medicaid dental coverage. The bill passed 94-0.

House Bill 5179 creates “Jaycie’s Law,” offering support for middle and high school young women who get pregnant, and young women and men who become parents. The bill provides at least eight weeks of excused absences for a mother for the birth of the student’s child. It offers two weeks excused absence for the father of the child, and medical and academic support for both. Jaycie’s Law passed 96-0.