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Robertson backs bill to protect rights of active-duty military parents

Our servicemen and women shouldn't have to worry about retaining their custody rights while serving our country overseas.

I recently supported a Senate bill to make sure that active military parents are not punished for not appearing in court over custody disputes while serving overseas. SB 1015 would mandate that-unless the best interests of the child are being violated-the court shall not modify the current parenting time order if one of the parties has filed a motion of stay under the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

The legislation was introduced after a Michigan judge held a service member in contempt of court and ordered his arrest after failing to appear in court for a custody hearing - even though he was on duty aboard a submarine in the Pacific Ocean! The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Families, Children and Seniors.

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month

Along with being safe and secure online, many parents want to protect their children from unwanted and inappropriate advertising on their electronic devices.

You can register your family's e-mail addresses, instant messenger IDs and mobile phone numbers at the Michigan Children's Protection Registry. The free do-not-contact service helps protect kids from receiving messages for an adult service or product, such as alcohol, tobacco, pornography or gambling. Find more information and access the registry at https://www.protectmichild.com.

New Michigan veterans program centralizes resources

More than 650,000 veterans call Michigan home. I am pleased to say a new state program will better connect our veterans to the services and benefits available to them.

The Michigan Veteran Resource Service Center, a partnership between the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency and the Michigan 211 system, provides veterans and their families access to federal benefit programs, state services and local, community resources. Veterans can contact the service center at 1-800-MICH-VET (1-800-642-4838).

2014 fuelwood permits available

With cold weather around the corner, the Department of Natural Resources reminds Michigan residents that fuelwood permits are available for the 2014 season, which runs through Dec. 31. Permits cost $20 and are for use on designated state forest land. Find more information at www.michigan.gov/fuelwood.