Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rep. Jason Grill Outlines Legislative Package Aimed at Improving Missouri’s System of Education

Jefferson City – Representative Jason Grill, D-Parkville, recently introduced several education-based pieces of legislation for the 2009 legislative session. The three education bills are part of an aggressive package of legislation filed by Rep. Grill covering issues ranging from job creation to tax reform.

One piece of legislation would establish the “Missouri Books from Birth Program.” Under the program, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, along with a nonprofit partner, would develop a statewide program to distribute a book each month to children in Missouri from birth to age five. Rep. Grill indicated the bill was similar to one passed in Tennessee and would be an important step toward giving children an educational head start.

“The Books from Birth Program is a great way to promote literacy and a love of reading to children at a very early age that will not only prepare them to meet future academic challenges but also to become productive members of the workforce. I am hopeful my colleagues will work with me this session to make this idea a reality in Missouri,” said Rep. Grill.

Another piece of legislation filed by Rep. Grill would require school board members to have lived in a school district for one year prior to serving on the board for that district. According to Rep. Grill, the bill represents a logical change that would ensure school board members are knowledgeable about the issues facing the school district they serve.

The final piece of education related legislation offered by Rep. Grill, known as the Missouri Diploma and Transcript Act, would create the crime of selling a fraudulent diploma or transcript if a person knowingly sells or offers for sale a diploma or transcript from an educational institution without the express written authorization of the institution or uses a fraudulent diploma when applying for a job or to a higher education institution. The bill is similar to a piece of legislation filed by Rep. Grill in 2008 that received committee approval but did not receive final passage by the Missouri General Assembly before the end of session.

“All of the legislation I have filed this session address issues important to maintaining the integrity of our system of education. We must make certain our children are reading at an early age; that our school board members are qualified to make decisions that will positively impact the lives of students; and that a college diploma and transcript is a protected document. We have an ambitious agenda ahead of us this session, but I am hopeful we will find time to address educational issues,” said Rep. Grill.

The education bills represent a portion of Rep. Grill’s legislative efforts. In total, he has filed 25 pieces of legislation for the 2009 session.