Nixon: State should not penalize soldiers

Chris Rizo Oct. 2, 2008, 12:43pm

Jay Nixon (D)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline)-National Guardsmen and reservists should not suffer financially because they are deployed overseas, Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon said Thursday.

Citizen soldiers who leave state service to serve their country should continue to receive their full salaries, said Nixon, who is running for governor in November against Republican Kenny Hulshof.

The Democratic attorney general said in a statement that the Show Me State should make employee-soldiers whole by making up the difference between their military pay and what they earn in their work for the state.

"It is shameful that Missouri hasn't followed the lead of most other states in supporting the Missourians and their families who are making sacrifices for state and country to protect us," Nixon said.

"These citizen-soldiers did not hesitate to go to dangerous places on the other side of the world when their country needed them. We should not hesitate any longer to support them and their families with full pay," he added.

The attorney general state current state law only provides paid leave for the first 120 hours when state employees are called up for military service. After that, they only receive military pay that is often substantially lower than their state salaries.

Nixon called on the state Legislature to amend the law to provide for compensation to state employee-soldiers in the amount of the difference between state pay and guard pay or said the governor ought to issue an executive order that provides for the difference in compensation to be made up.

"We shouldn't ask these men and women to spend many months away from their families to protect our country and then shortchange them on payday," Nixon said. "Action can and should be taken to meet this obligation, and is long overdue."

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