JEFFERSON CITY - Corey Webel is an 18-year-old senior at Rock Bridge High School. He's eligible for a Bright-Flight Scholarship and plans to use the money at Truman State University.
But if one Missouri lawmaker has his way, Webel would be denied his scholarship -- because he has not registered with the Selective Service.
The bill would forbid men who are eligible for the selective service and haven't registered from receiving a government job or state-supported scholarships, financial assistance or state-insured loans.
"I don't think that anyone wants to get out of it (registering). I think it's more like they did what I did and forgot to do it," Webel said.
Men between the ages of 18 and 26 are required by federal law to register with the Selective Service.
If men don't register then they're not eligible for federal loans or most federal jobs, according to Donald Hiatte, Missouri's state director for the Selective Service.
"What we're really concerned about is that young men don't jeopardize federal benefits by not registering," Hiatte said. "If they should of registered and haven't they're out of luck."
Supporters describe the bill as an awareness bill, one that would help men realize the benefits they would lose if they don't register with the service.
"It's less of a chance to fall through the cracks," said bill sponsor Rep. Carl Vogel, R-Jefferson City.
Webel, like many other men, received a registration notice in the mail after his 18th birthday, but not everyone gets one.
"Through the license bureau (Missouri's driver's license agency) we're trying to get as many names as we can," Hiatte said. "But not everyone can be reached that way."
Vogel said the state would check if men are registered by putting a check-off box on applications where respondents could answer yes or no. Men wouldn't be required to produce documentation.
Twenty-one other states have similar laws, Vogel said.
The Senate Elections, Pensions and Veterans' Affairs Committee is scheduled to vote on the bill this week.
Men can register with the Selective Service at their local post office.
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