Lee's Summit State Rep Jeff Grisamore Leads Mock Session at Capital for Students with Disabilities
Lee's Summit State Rep. Jeff Grisamore Leads Mock Session At Capital For Students With Disabilites.
Missouri Youth Leadership Forum convenes young people with disabilities from throughout state as part of Governor’s Council on Disability
Submitted Photo: Representative Jeff Grisamore (far left) with the Missouri Youth Leadership Forum Class and Governor Jay Nixon.
In late July, Rep. Jeff Grisamore (R - Lee’s Summit/Greenwood) led a mock session in the Capitol Senate Chamber for the Missouri Youth Leadership Forum (MYLF). The MYLF is a part of the Governor’s Council on Disability.
Young people with disabilities from throughout the state participated in the mock session with Rep. Grisamore. Participants ranged in age from 16 to 21. During the 90-minute mock session participants considered real disabilities-related legislation (House Bill 1047) that would establish a Disabilities History and Awareness Month.
Rep. Grisamore led the MYLF participants through the committee hearing process in which students testified both for and against the bill.
“The students serving on the committee hearing the bill displayed an impressively high level of sophistication. When we took the roll call vote, two students voted present instead of yea or nay and the final vote was four to three,” Rep. Grisamore said.
The mock session was conducted in the Senate Chamber at the Missouri State Capitol building in Jefferson City where students engaged in a lively debate before passing the bill. Rep. Grisamore explained to the participating students the legislative process and parliamentary procedure.
Following the mock session, Rep. Grisamore led the students to the governor’s office where he and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon addressed the group and posed for a picture.
Rep. Grisamore explained to the students the governor’s commitment to serving those with disabilities; having been involved with the Special Olympics and having helped as a former Senator to start SB 40 Boards - county boards for developmental disabilities services named after Senate Bill 40 which formed them.
In Jackson County, the SB 40 Board is known as EITAS—Developmental Disabilities Services of Jackson County. In April, Rep. Grisamore received the 2009 Public Official/Legislator of the Year Award from EITAS.
Governor Nixon applauded Rep. Grisamore’s passion and leadership on disabilities-related issues and told the students the representative has become—in a short time—a leader in the General Assembly on disabilities-related issues.
Caitlin Bartley, a participating student, said of the disabilities history and awareness month legislation (HB 1047) the students considered during the mock session, “I believe educating children about disabilities is important because it will help them learn to accept people's differences, and acceptance leads to inclusion.”
Bartley related her own personal experiences as an example of how awareness can lead to acceptance. “When I was in 2nd grade, I got up in front of my class and explained my disability to them. Once they understood what was going on with me, they accepted me and included me in their games at recess,” she said.
She also commented on the potential beneficial outcome that could result from the passage of such legislation. “If this bill is passed and children are educated at an early age, more kids and adults with disabilities will feel more included and understood,” said Bartley.
This was the 2nd consecutive year that Rep. Grisamore has led the mock legislative session for the MYLF under the Governor’s Council on Disability.
“I believe that individuals with disabilities should receive the first portions of government funding and services,” said Rep. Grisamore.
The students of the Missouri Youth Leadership Forum class of 2009 were thrilled to be able to participate in the mock session in the Senate Chamber with Rep. Grisamore and be hosted by the governor in his office, who challenged them to continue to provide leadership in disabilities advocacy.