Missouri State Senate

Senate Committee Substitute

SCS/SB 1167 - This act modifies various provisions relating to members of the military forces and their families. The act:

Adds the chair of the Missouri Veterans' Commission, or a designee, as an ex officio member of the Missouri military preparedness and enhancement commission, and provides that the Military preparedness and enhancement commission's duties include developing methods to improve the prosperity and employment opportunities of retired military members and the families of former military members. Section 41.1010.

Adds the chair of the Missouri military preparedness and enhancement commission, or a designee, as an ex officio member of the Missouri veterans' commission, and provides that the Missouri military preparedness and enhancement commission shall assist all veterans who are legal residents of Missouri. Section 42.007.

Allows military dependents who do not meet our state's age requirements to enter kindergarten or first grade if the child has completed an accredited prekindergarten or kindergarten program in another state. Section 160.053.

Requires the state board of education to develop recommendations for alternate assessments for military dependents who relocate after the commencement of a school term, in order to accommodate the student while ensuring he or she is proficient in the knowledge, skills, and competencies adopted by the state board of education. Section 160.518.

Requires the State Board of Education to establish rules allowing a provisional certificate of license to be issued to any spouse of a military member stationed in Missouri, who relocated to this state within one year of application, who had to complete a criminal background check in another state in order to be issued a certificate of license from another state, and who otherwise qualifies. Section 168.021.

Allows school districts to accept a course in state government completed in another state, for purposes of satisfying Missouri's graduation requirements, when a student transfers to a Missouri high school in ninth to twelfth grade. The act also deletes provisions in current law that require the state commissioners of education and higher education to make arrangements to carry out the provisions of this section, and to prescribe a list of suitable texts, and deletes provisions that provide that neglect by any superintendent, principal or teacher to observe the provisions of this section shall be sufficient cause for termination of his or her contract. Section 170.011.

Establishes a tuition grant program for spouses and children of war veterans who die, or who become eighty percent disabled, as as the result of injury or illness sustained while serving in combat. Within the limits of amounts appropriated therefor, the Coordinating Board for Higher Education shall provide up to twenty-five tuition grants to the surviving spouses and children of any member of the military who served in armed combat and who was killed in the line of duty and who was a citizen of Missouri at the time of enlistment and at the time death or injury occurred. The grants shall pay an amount not to exceed the actual amount of tuition, the actual cost of books up to five hundred dollars per semester, and up to two thousand dollars per semester for room and board. The grant will continue to be awarded annually to eligible recipients as long as the recipient achieves and maintains a cumulative grade point average of at least two and one-half on a four point scale, or its equivalent. The grant may not be used for graduate study, and is not available to surviving children who are twenty-five years of age or older. The act delineates specific eligibility criteria for both the recipients and the higher education institutions. The provisions of this section shall automatically expire six years from the effective date of this act. Section 173.234.

Modifies the Guard at Home program by renaming it the "Hero at Home" program, and by providing that services under the program shall continue to be available to national guard members and their families, as well as reserve component service members and their families, during the one year period following a national guard member or any reserve component member's discharge from deployment. The program shall also assist returning national guard or reserve component service members to find employment in situations where the individual cannot return to employment held prior to deployment. Also, the act allows the Department of Economic Development to operate the Hero at Home program by utilizing existing programs, or by entering into contracts with qualified providers. Section 620.515.

Provisions of this act are similar to SB 663 (2007), HB 135 (2007), SCS/SB 12 (2007), SB 1036 (2008) and HCS/HB 2062 & 1518 (2008).

ALEXA PEARSON

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