Thursday, March 22, 2007

Grill pushes first legislation for stay-at-home parents

Bill could provide access to income tax credits

By: Jared Hoffmann
Wednesday, March 14, 2007 4:29 PM CDT

Parkville native and state Rep. Jason Grill, D-District 32, is pushing for state legislation that, if passed, would provide income tax credits for stay-at-home parents.

The bill, House Bill 932, marks the first legislative effort for Grill, who was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives during the 2006 general elections. If approved, the bill would allow parents who stay home with their children from birth to 24 months of age to apply for a tax credit equal to 25 percent of their annual salary up to $100,000. The bill also stipulates that the parent must have been gainfully employed prior to the birth of the child and ceased to maintain that employment during the first two years of the child’s life.

Grill said the bill would allow parents to temporarily forgo working in order to stay home with their children during crucial years of development.

“If we could do anything to further a parent staying home with a newborn, I think that would be a good thing,” Grill said. “I realized the way to do that was through a tax credit.”

In its current form, the bill would allocate $2 million worth of tax credits statewide. Grill said although amendments could alter the amount and other provisions of the bill, he kept the number modest to give the program better odds of approval.

With an estimated 5.8 million stay-at-home parents reported by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2005, 5.6 million mothers and 143,000 fathers, he said getting the legislation approved would be a catalyst to providing greater financial assistance to stay-at-home parents in the future.

“I think this is a really good bill for Platte County because of our demographics,” Grill said. “It’s something that I campaigned on, and I’m trying my best to fulfill that.”

Kansas City resident Doug Wilson said the option to file for tax credits would have been useful while his wife Stacie remained home after the birth of their daughter Makenna, who was born October of 2004. He said his wife was able to stay home and tend to their newborn daughter for 12 weeks, but had to return to work shortly thereafter.

“She would have like to have stayed home longer, but we just couldn’t make due,” Wilson said. “It seems like the cost of living today requires a two-income household just to make ends meet. I think the bill is a step in the right direction to allow parents more time with their children in critical years.”

The bill was working its way through several house committees last week and if approved would have to gain the approval of the senate.

“I just think it’s extremely important for our area,” said HB932 co-sponsor and Rep. Trent Skaggs, D- District 31. “For very little money, we can keep people at home with their children. I would like to see the amount increased from $2 million eventually, but keeping it low could help get it passed.”

Staff writer Jared Hoffmann can be reached at 389-6636 or

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Rep. Jason Grill’s Legislation to Streamline Driver’s License Renewal Moves Forward

Jefferson City – Rep. Jason Grill’s legislation to make it easier for deployed Missourians to renew a driver’s license was given unanimous approval by the House Special Committee on Veterans this week. Rep. Grill, D-Parkville, sponsored the legislation with strong bipartisan support including that of House Speaker Rod Jetton, R-Marble Hill, who signed on as a co-sponsor.

The legislation states that an application for a driver’s license or renewal would be sufficient when signed by person who holds a general power of attorney executed by the currently deployed member of the U.S. Armed Forces.

“The support I have received for this legislation has been overwhelming and I am glad to see it is moving through our legislative process so quickly,” said Rep. Grill. “I know this is the right thing to do to help the brave men and women who are serving our country overseas. I look forward to this bill making it to the House floor and eventually being signed into law.”
The House Special Committee on Veterans approved House Bill 933 by a vote of 8-0. HB 933 was also reviewed by the House Committee on Rules, which gave its unanimous support by a vote of 8-0. The legislation is currently on the House perfection calendar where it will will sit for 5 days before it can be put on the House Third Reading calendar for discussion and a vote.

Rep. Grill represents southern Platte County (District 32) in the Missouri House of Representatives. He was elected to the House in November 2006. In addition to his legislative duties, Rep. Grill is currently an attorney as well as a professor at Park University.

Rep. Jason Grill Meets With VFW Members to Discuss Veterans Affairs

Jefferson City – Representative Jason Grill, D-Parkville, recently spent time with area VFW members to listen to their input and offer some insight on legislation he is working on at the state capitol.

Rep. Grill attended a weekly VFW meeting at VFW Post 7356 on March 10 where he met with local veterans to discuss various veterans affairs issues. He also spent time discussing his legislation, House Bill 933, that would make it easier for currently enlisted members of the Armed Forces serving overseas to renew or obtain a driver’s license. That legislation recently received committee approval and will soon come up for a vote in the House.

“It’s important that we do everything we can to make life easier for the brave men and women making sacrifices to protect our way of life,” said Rep. Grill. “It was nice to be able to share some of these ideas with our veterans who I know appreciate the efforts we make to help the members of our Armed Forces.”

During his visit with VFW members, Rep. Grill enjoyed breakfast and presented a plaque to District 3 Commander Phillip M. Duncan and local Platte County veteran Mike Vogt. The plaque featured the words to the famous military bugle call, Taps. The back of the plaque detailed the history of the music.

Rep. Grill particpates in "Family University" at Park Hill High School

Rep. Grill participates in "Family University" at Park Hill High School

Jefferson City – Representative Jason Grill, D-Parkville, last week took part in the Park Hill Community Drug Task Force’s free program for families and students on topics that included bullying, behavioral disorders, college planning, diversity and personal safety and substance abuse. Rep. Grill participated as a celebrity server and helped serve breakfast to all the parents and students attending the event.

“I was thrilled to take part in this important “Family University” event,” said Rep. Grill. “These are great topics that all families and students should discuss and educate themselves on.”

The event was broken into four different divisions. Elementary students learned about risk taking, bullying and personal safety and how to avoid danger. Middle school students took part in programs addressing alcohol usage as well as tobacco and drug use. High school students were given information on diversity, leadership, and college planning and personality typology. Parents attended a session that discussed Internet safety, being a “love and logic” parent, and autism.

“I want to thank the Park Hill Drug Task Force and Park Hill High School for inviting me to be a part of this event and I look forward to next year,” said Rep. Grill.

Representative Grill views Truman State University students’ undergraduate research at Capitol

Representative Grill views Truman State University students’ undergraduate research at Capitol

Kirksville, Mo.- Representative Jason Grill visited with Truman State University students who presented a poster outlining their research project as one of 20 examples of undergraduate research showcased by Truman State University students at the Missouri Capitol Building in Jefferson City. The poster display provided legislators, Capitol employees and the public an opportunity to discuss the research projects with Truman students from throughout Missouri and elsewhere.

Kristen Overson, Rachel Goldammer and Steve Webb presented research titled "Putting Learning into Practice: The Practicum in Agriculture at Truman State University". Their faculty mentor is Dr. Michael Seipel.Known for its commitment to undergraduate research, Truman has more than 1,200 additional students involved in research, affording them the opportunity to work closely with faculty mentors. These research projects are often presented at various national conferences.

Overson is from St. Charles. A senior communication disorders major at Truman, and the daughter of Karen Schulte, Overson attended Francis Howell High School. At the University she is involved with Alpha Sigma Alpha, Tau Lambda Sigma and Farm Bureau.

Goldammer, of Raytown & Kansas City, is a senior agricultural science major, the daughter of Steve & Pam Goldammer, and attended Raytown High School. Her activities at Truman include Sigma Alpha and Student Ambassador.

Webb of Edina, Mo., formerly lived in Plainfield, Ill., is the son of Paul and Phyllis Webb, and a graduate of Plainfield High School.

Truman State University, founded in 1867 and located in Kirksville, Mo., maintains one of the highest graduation rates for Missouri public institutions. More than 40 percent of Truman’s graduates pursue an advanced degree immediately upon receiving the bachelor’s degree. Truman enrolls approximately 5,800 students.