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Mo. House Democrats sponsor military bills

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – House Democrats are proposing a package of bills aimed at making life easier for Missouri's military personnel and their families.

One bill would allow some state employees, who also serve in the National Guard or Reserve, to receive part of their salary while on active duty for long periods of time.

It's sponsored by State Representative Stephen Webber (D, Columbia).

"It's a 2-tiered system...currently, if you're an elected official or you're a judge, you get your full salary...if you're a state employee, you get nothing, and we're trying to even that out," Webber said.

Webber is also a Marine reservist who served in Iraq.

State Representative Jason Kander (D, Kansas City) served in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. He's sponsoring a bill that would bar judges from making permanent changes in child custody while a parent is deployed out of state.

"When a service member is in a combat zone, one of the most dangerous things that can happen for them is the loss of focus on their day-to-day mission...some of the major factors that can distract a service member from the day-to-day mission often are family concerns," Kander said.

Kander is also sponsoring a bill that would bar payday lenders from opening new locations within a mile of a military base.