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BLMS group gets taste of legislature in KYA event

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By Stephen Thomas

  SHEPHERDSVILLE - Local middle school students earned an opportunity to bend the ears of the Kentucky state senate.

A group from Bullitt Lick Middle School was selected as one of 31 state schools to participate in the 2011 Junior Kentucky Youth Assembly in Louisville, hosted by the Kentucky YMCA Youth Association.

Bullitt Lick eighth grade US History instructor Stephanie Vittitoe acted as adult representative for six students, including Samantha Frank, Stephanie Jarmillo, Melissa Kays, Candice Kinser, Sarah Noble and Chris Wright.

“They did outstanding,” said Vittitoe. “We got an award for best first-time delegation.”

The students presented a proposal to change the penalty for child abuse in Kentucky Revised Statute 620.990 from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class D felony.

The Bullitt Lick proposal was selected along with 10 to 15 other entries out of more than 100 to advance forward to the Kentucky Senate and House of Representatives for further review.

“The (Youth Assembly) regional director said to pick something important to our community and the state,” said Vittitoe. “The students went into the child abuse process and decided to make a harder penalty for it. It was such a good issue that they received a lot of votes.”

Along with presentations, students participated in workshops designed to further educate on the lawmaking process of the state government.

“They discussed topics such as Parliamentary procedure and how to address speakers,” said Vittitoe.

“I enjoyed learning how bills were voted on and how they got passed.” Wright said.

With their proposal headed to Frankfort, Vittitoe said the school will try to find a way for the students to follow their proposal in person, watching state lawmakers discuss their ideas.

“The main thing is they get to see the process of how many bills are passed,” she said.

The students agreed that the youth assembly was a worthwhile experience that they would recommend to other students.

“It was a great learning experience,” said Kinser. “I recommend this to anyone interested in learning more about how bills get passed.”

Vittitoe mentioned that the school’s administration offered much support and hope to turn the assembly into an annual event for students.

She also mentioned another program offered by the state in the spring, similar to a version of how the Untied Nations assembly works.

For more information on the Kentucky Youth Assembly go to www.kyymca.org/KYA.html.