Tuesday, Jan. 08 2013 4:54PM
Kraus proposals to make Missouri “military friendly”
State Sen. Will Kraus has filed several bills in the 2013 legislative session to make Missouri more “military friendly.”
Kraus, a Lee’s Summit Republican, is a 20-year veteran and a Major in the Missouri National Guard.
Senate Bill 116 would create a new system for allowing military members stationed overseas to vote.
“It is too easy for service members serving overseas, particularly in war zones, to miss the window to vote by absentee ballot,” Kraus said. “I voted from overseas while in Iraq, and I know that even a few days delay can invalidate your ballot. We need to make it easier and be more flexible in counting the votes of those who are serving their country.”
Senate Bill 117 would waive residency requirements for in-state tuition at Missouri colleges and universities for veterans recently returning from service. Often, veterans returning to Missouri, or veterans stationed here who wish to stay, have to pay the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition under the G.I. Bill.
“Missouri can be a state that welcomes new veterans to our higher education system,” Kraus said. “Once they attend school here, they are likely to stay in Missouri and be a productive part of our economy.”
Senate Bill 118 would authorize veterans’ treatment courts and allow jurisdictional transfers so veterans who don’t live in an area with a veterans’ treatment court can move their case. Much like the very successful drug court program, veterans’ treatment courts can focus on the real issues and give the defendant an opportunity to leave the court system in better shape.
“Often, the problems facing veterans who find themselves in the legal system are very specific and very easy to treat,” Kraus said. “Veterans’ treatment courts have worked well throughout the country and in some areas of our state. This legislation will help create more of these courts and allow those who don’t live near one to easily seek one out.”
Kraus is vice chairman of the Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission.
For more information on Kraus’ bills for 2013 go to: www.senate.mo.gov/kraus.