State Rep. David Evans (R-West Plains) presented officials with Ozark Action, Inc. (OAI) and the local Head Start program with copies of legislation that were passed during this most recent session in Jefferson City and signed by Gov. Mike Parson.
Two of the pieces of legislation presented to Head Start officials – Senate Bill 53 and 60 – dealt with critical child and family safety issues, including changes to state law that closed a loophole that did not require motorists to stop for Head Start buses when those buses were loading and unloading passengers.
“The purpose of this new law is to protect kids,” stated Rep. Evans, “It provides the same protections to Head Start bus passengers as our laws provide to K-12 public school kids. Head Start students are some of the state’s youngest students and deserve the same protections.”
Evans began working on the legislation after being approached by staff at the West Plains Head Start location, which is under the purview of OAI.
“My office was contacted to help make this important change by the local West Plains Head Start program, and working together with local, state, and regional Head Start leaders, and Missouri Public Safety, we did. I’m excited we were able to get this change passed,” he stated.
“The families in our communities trust Ozark Action and our Head Start staff with their children and keeping every child safe is our most important task,” stated Terry Sanders, OAI Executive Director, “Picking up and dropping off these young preschoolers exposes them to one of the greatest dangers they face most days. Rep. Evans understood the problem, researched various options, and crafted and promoted the legislation giving us one more tool to protect the kids – stop signs and flashing lights.”
The new law was signed in July and will go into effect January 1, 2022.
The local Head Start program operates over a dozen facilities in Howell, Douglas, Ozark, Wright, Texas and Oregon counties. More information on the program and ways to apply can be found at www.oaiwp.org.
The presentation included Mary Holland, Danni Nodal, Alesha Hand, Terry Sanders, Rayetta Beach and Staate Rep. David Evans (R-154).
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