State employees called to active duty want same pay
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State employees called to active duty want same pay

Date: March 17, 2009
By: Brian Jarvis
State Capitol Bureau

Intro: In this lousy economy, putting food on the table is hard enough. But what if you're called to active military duty and suddenly your salary is cut in half? 

Brian Jarvis has more from Jefferson City.

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OutCue: SOC

During the week, Democratic House Representative Jason Kander represents Kansas City in the Missouri legislature.

But on weekends, Kander trains with the National Guard.

He could be called back to active duty at any time.  

More than 100 Missouri employees are in the same boat.

And they're not just worried about their safety. 

They're worried about their money.

Columbia Democratic Representative Stephen Webber.

 

Actuality:  WEBBER3.WAV
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Description: "When they're activated, pulled from their day job to go serve active duty in the U.S. military, they sometimes lose money because they're making less in the military than they were working for the state. So what our bill tries to do is make up the difference. So if your military pay is less than your state pay, we try to provide a steady income stream for military families."

 
Webber served in the Marine Corps Reserve in Iraq until just three months ago.

Kander served overseas as an Army Reserve intelligence officer in Afghanistan. 

Together they are sponsoring a bill that would keep salaries in place for Missouri employees who serve Uncle Sam.

 

Actuality:  KANDER2.WAV
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Description: "What I don't want to see is people who are volunteering to be public servants both in their military life and in their civilian life be placed in that situation. I think that we want to make sure we're recruiting some of the best talent on both sides. So for military families I think it's extremely important. Representative Webber and myself being recent veterans obviously have heard from a lot of these people. They know we're going to have a sympathetic ear, and we want to do our best for them."


Kander says more than one hundred Missouri employees stand to benefit.  

Total cost? 

At least one million dollars.

But the money is already in the budget.

 

Actuality:  KANDER3.WAV
Run Time: 00:18
Description: "This is actually funds that we appropriate every year anyway because these are salaries that we anticipate paying. The budget committee never sits down and says, well, these hundred people are going to get deployed so we won't have to pay this part of their salary. We plan every year to pay these people's entire salaries. And sometimes it just works out that they're not there for part of the year. So this is just regular appropriations."

Both Kander and Webber say the time to get this done is now.

 

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Description: "With so many Missourians deployed overseas and so many military families being affected directly now, I don't think we can overemphasize the importance of getting this done as quickly as possible. Every year we let this go by, there's a hundred or two hundred Missouri military families that potentially can be hurt, can potentially lose income. This can be done this session."

Webber says Blue Springs Republican Representative Joe Smith is sponsoring a similar bill.

And yet a third bill in the works would compensate military service men and women in the private sector.   

From the State Capitol, I'm Brian Jarvis.