Owensboro Legislator Files Financial Literacy Bill in 2010

19 11 2009

Representative Jim Glenn urges financial literacy, files bill in 2010 General Assembly

James Mayse, Messenger-Inquirer Published: Monday, October 26, 2009

Rep. Jim Glenn

Rep. Jim Glenn is hoping the third time is a charm for his financial literacy bill. Earlier this month, Glenn, an Owensboro Democrat, prefiled a bill for the 2010 General Assembly session that would encourage universities to give incoming students information on financial literacy.

This will be the third time Glenn has introduced the bill. The bill managed to pass the House of Representatives in both 2007 and 2008 but died for lack of action in the state Senate. Glenn, who is a professor at Owensboro Community & Technical College, said students entering college — and the general population — need education on matters such as debt management, credit cards and saving for retirement. “I teach finance, and it’s always something that’s needed in our society,” Glenn said Friday. “Our society has changed in how we look at finance, and our students need to be up to speed.” The bill is not a mandate. Rather, the bill encourages universities to provide incoming freshmen with materials on debt management and credit cards and to conduct seminars on financial matters during orientation. “The way it is structured, it’s asking the colleges — when the freshmen come in — to give them a week of financial literacy,” Glenn said.

The sessions and material would be for every freshman, regardless of their major. “This is to help protect them,” Glenn said. “Credit cards … they give you a $1,000 credit limit just with your signature — and if you overrun it, they require you to pay it back immediately.” Glenn said his concern is that credit card debt among college students forces some to take jobs and switch from being full time to part-time students — with the end result of some of those students not finishing their degree requirements. “We have to make sure we don’t have any more barriers to prevent them from getting a college degree,” Glenn said. “It costs the state no money,” Glenn said of his plan. “The banking system is on board and said they would help. They’re interested in making sure students are financially literate because it helps (the banks) in the long haul.”

Glenn’s goal for the upcoming legislative session is to find a member of the Senate who will help champion the bill. “On the House side, I’ve passed the bill two years in a row,” he said. “I have to get the Senate side on board.” With legislators’ focus surely to be on the state’s financial troubles, gaining attention for the bill will be a challenge. “Anything that’s not state budget or budget-related is going to be put on the back burner,” Glenn said. “I have to push (to show this is) a priority item for the state of Kentucky.”

James Mayse, 691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com

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