Jefferson City, Mo., (July 17, 2013) – Several new laws were passed by the Missouri Legislature in the 2013 session that will help Missouri military families and veterans with child custody procedures, higher education provisions, professional licensing and absentee voting.
A bill co-sponsored by Reps. Stanley Cox (R-Sedalia) and Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg) allows individuals who are leaving the military to have in-state resident student status for admission and tuition purposes at public institutions of higher education. It was incorporated into Senate Bill 117 and has been signed into law by Governor Jay Nixon.
Rep. Cox, a U.S. Army veteran, commented, “It’s important to provide career opportunities for our veterans as they return from service to our country and to encourage their continuing education.” Rep. Hoskins, a Missouri Army National Guard veteran, added, “I was proud to co-sponsor this bill and work for unanimous support in the House and Senate. It will encourage military families to stay in Missouri following their service.”
Representative Charlie Davis (R-Webb City) sponsored House Bill 148, which prohibits courts from entering a final child custody order while a parent who is a member of the military is deployed. It was also signed into law by Governor Jay Nixon. Davis, a U.S. Navy veteran, stated, “Many of our laws don’t always take into consideration the special circumstances of our military families. That’s why I sponsored this bill to bring more fairness to the difficult process of child custody issues.”
Additional legislation to help military families was guided by Senate Majority Whip, Mike Parson (R-Bolivar). Senate Bills 106, 116 and 118 will:
• Authorize the creation of courts to handle cases involving substance abuse or mental illness of current or former military personnel.
• Require public postsecondary institutions to accept credits for military training if the courses meet certain standards for academic credit.
• Ensure that members of the armed forces with health-related professional licenses or certificates that are in good standing when entering active duty will remain in good standing while on active duty and dues will be waived.
• Enable the Missouri Secretary of State to establish an electronic transmission system through which members of the military may do voter registration and absentee voting.
Sen. Parson, a U.S. Army veteran, stated. “I’m very supportive of these efforts to help members of our military keep connected to their communities while they are serving our country. Their ability to receive college credits, retain professional licenses and vote are important aspects of their lives.”
These bills have also been signed by the Governor and all will become effective on August 28, 2013.
The Whiteman Area Leadership Council (WALC), founded in 2004 to work on issues that help sustain and grow the long-term viability of Whiteman Air Force Base, is very supportive of this legislative effort in Missouri. WALC Chair Elaine Horn stated, “We are proud of our legislators across the state for their overwhelming support of these laws. We must continuously look for ways to improve our state as a place where the military wants to do business and their families want to live.” –Submitted by Whiteman Area Leadership Coumncil.