This week, Oklahoma Rep. Rick West, R-Heavener, won unanimous committee approval of a bill that would give students excused absences for 4-H activities and projects. House Bill 2991 bars schools from marking students absent when participating in approved 4-H activities, and must be allowed to make up any missed work. This bill will allow students to participate in 4-H activities without worrying about being marked absent or affecting their grades. “This bill is just saying that kids involved in 4-H programs can’t be penalized when they miss school for taking part in approved activities,” West said. “This is a terrific organization that serves students across the state of Oklahoma. Because it is not considered a school activity, however, participants have to rely on the goodwill of their individual schools or school boards to determine if they will be counted with an excused or an unexcused absence when they attend leadership programs, livestock shows, judging contests or one of the many other activities offered. This bill ensures across-the-board protection for these students.”HB2991 passed the House Common Education with a vote of 12-0. As a result, it is now eligible to be heard on the House floor.