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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed seven bills dealing with the military and veterans.

Nixon was promoting four of the measures Wednesday during events in Springfield and Cape Girardeau.

One of the bills could help veterans qualify for lower in-state tuition rates at Missouri's public colleges and universities immediately after they leave the military.

Veterans with an honorable or general discharge will be required to "demonstrate presence and declare residency" to receive in-state tuition. Students currently must live in Missouri for 12 consecutive months, obtain a Missouri driver's license and earn at least $2,000 during a 12-month period.

Other newly signed measures are designed to help the state treasurer identify the owners of military medals that are unclaimed property and deal with voting by those overseas and in the military.

 

Published in Local News

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) - Lawyers representing a U.S. Army general facing sexual assault charges are asking a military judge to force prosecutors to turn over any e-mails related to the case sent or received by former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

 

   A court martial is set to begin at Fort Bragg next month for Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair on charges including forcible sodomy, indecent acts and violating orders.

 

   In a motion filed Tuesday as part of a pre-trial hearing, lawyers for Sinclair argue top Pentagon brass were receiving regular updates last year on the investigation and may have encouraged subordinates to make an example of Sinclair. It is unlawful in the military justice system for senior commanders to interfere in criminal cases.

 

   Two of Sinclair's commanders testified earlier this month there was no such pressure.

Published in National News

NEW YORK (AP) — Sexual assault occurs in many settings, and the perpetrators come from every part of U.S. society.

Yet as recent incidents and reports make clear, it's a particularly intractable problem in the military, with its enduring macho culture and unique legal system.

Advocates for change say one significant factor is the perception by many victims in the military that they lack the recourses available in the civilian world to bring assailants to justice.

The military insists it takes the problem seriously and has implemented numerous policies and programs to reduce the assaults.

But the problem persists.

A recent Pentagon report estimates that 26,000 service members were sexually assaulted last year, up from 19,000 in 2011. Victims reported 3,374 incidents in 2012, and there were convictions in 238 of those cases.

Published in National News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill returned to Missouri to push for tougher punishments of military sexual assaults.

 

The Democratic senator and former Jackson County prosecutor met Wednesday with top officials from the Missouri National Guard at the Guard's Jefferson City headquarters.

 

Her appearance came one month after senior military leaders were chastised at a Senate hearing because an Air Force commander dismissed the conviction of a lieutenant colonel for sexually assaulting a civilian employee at Aviana Air Force Base in Italy.

 

McCaskill has introduced legislation to revise the Uniform Code of Military Justice to prohibit commanders from overturning jury verdicts in military tribunals. Those leaders would also have to explain in writing any decisions to reduce sentences after guilty verdicts in court martials.

 

Published in Local News

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