My hat is off to Missouri House Rep. Jason Kander, who represents a district near me and who I am proud to call a friend.  He has had a hell of a freshman year, and experienced several legislative achievements in spite of the fact that he is a member of the minority party and the majority is well and truly insane, but I am going to single out one specific piece of legislation to sing his praises for.

The people who serve this country in uniform have my undying devotion, and I am thrilled with Representative Kander for getting the following, HB 504, attached to an Omnibus bill, SB 427 that moments ago passed both chambers and is on to the Governor for his signature.  

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:

            Section A. Section 452.412, RSMo, is repealed and one new section enacted in lieu thereof, to be known as section 452.412, to read as follows:

            452.412. 1. A party’s absence, relocation, or failure to comply with custody and visitation orders shall not, by itself, be sufficient to justify a modification of a custody or visitation order if the reason for the absence, relocation, or failure to comply is the party’s activation to military service and deployment out-of-state.

            2. For a party in active military service and deployed out-of-state, any court order issued or modified regarding child custody or visitation during the time of such out-of-state military deployment of the party shall be temporary in nature and shall not exceed the length of time of such deployment. Upon such party’s return from out-of-state military deployment, the party shall be given an opportunity to be heard on the child custody and visitation order prior to a permanent order being entered by the court.

I have been up in arms for a few years now, railing about military parents deploying, only to return to expensive custody battles once back home because a judge decides that he or she has the authority to nullify a military Family Care Plan.  

The FCP is sacred.  It gives parents who are separated from their children one less thing to distract them with worry while they are deployed to mission-critical positions in the war zone.  

Thank you, Rep. Kander – (or should I say 1Lt. Kander?) for authoring and shepherding through this critically important legislation for Missouri’s Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, and the families they leave behind when they deploy.  Your legislation assures that when they call Missouri home, that FCP is, indeed, sacred.

UPDATE: Kander graciously shares the credit:

@erichoffpauir Nice of you to say. Had assist on the bill from @shaneschoeller 20 minutes ago from TwitterFon in reply to erichoffpauir