Florida lawmakers are doing their part to try to ease the financial burden on members of the military and their families. They've proposed several bills to let those called to duty out of contracts, and to acknowledge the sacrifice so many have made. The bills are among the few major topics this year that seem to have unanimous support.
A Floridian shot down during the first Gulf War, for years thought dead, but he's now believed alive and held captive in Iraq.
State representatives are rushing through a bill demanding congress do what's necessary to find out Captain Speicher's fate, and another requiring more information on any Floridians believed Missing in Action or Prisoners of War.
Another major bill would let military members called to active duty out of contracts on apartments, cell phones, car insurance, even contracts to buy a house.
Representative Kevin Ambler, an Air Force reservist, sponsored the measure.
"These are the types of things that can actually put a family into bankruptcy when a member has been activated from their civilian job, takes a pay cut to go ahead and enter the service, and they now no longer have the ability to make ends meet," said Ambler.
Mary Anna Mohr's husband served more than 37 years with the National
Guard. She's grateful legislators want to help families and soldiers anything that she knows that the family's able to make their payments on time, they're able to buy the groceries, once in a while get a pizza or take the kids to the movies, it's very important.
Ironically the House version of the budget eliminates the legislative liaisons for state agencies, including the Department of Military Affairs. These are the very people who advise lawmakers on what bills can help the military.
But while lawmakers remain far apart on the budget, bills aimed at easing some of the challenges facing Florida's military appear headed for speedy passage.
House members also approved a bill that would provide property tax exemptions to surviving spouses of disabled veterans and members of the military killed in action. The bill faces one more House vote before it can move to the Senate.