(The following is from a press release)
The 62-member Youth & Government delegation from the Miller Family YMCA of Newbury Park presented, debated and voted on 13 legislative bills on a variety of topical issues during “Bill Night” on November 18 at Sycamore Canyon School. The bills were then pared down to three by a panel of judges that included Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin, Josh Ebby, Newbury Park High School principal and Nathaniel Jones, La Reina High School AP history teacher.
The selected bills’ topics were 1) providing tax exempt status for feminine hygiene products, 2) requiring single-stall, gender-neutral bathrooms in public schools and 3) placing a ban on pesticides that are shown to be harmful to bees. The three bills will be debated in committees and then on the State Assembly or Senate floors during the Model Legislature & Court Conference in February in Sacramento. The conference attracts more than 90 Youth & Government delegations and 3,000 delegates from throughout California. While the actual state legislature is in recess, the delegates take over legislative chambers and state capitol conferences rooms to debate bills and pass laws.
Miller YMCA Youth & Government delegates attend Newbury Park High School and La Reina High School. “The delegates came up with their own ideas for issues that they would like to see addressed in California,” says Veronica Rodarte, lead advisor to the Miller Y’s Youth & Government program. “They then write and debate the bills during Bill Night before parents and community members. The teens did an amazing job debating for and against these bills. The process gives them a real understanding of how government works and builds amazing team and public speaking skills that will be valuable throughout their school years and beyond.”
Youth & Government delegations form at the start of every school year. It is for high school students in grades 9 through 12. For information, contact the Miller Family Y at 805-480-0309, or email Veronica Rodarte at [email protected] Other Youth & Government delegations are at Triunfo YMCA (serving Oak Park, Agoura Hills and Westlake Village) 818-707-9622 and the Conejo Valley YMCA (serving Thousand Oaks, Moorpark and Santa Rosa Valley), 805-523-7613.