by J. Eggleston, Assitant Majority Floor Leader, State Representative District 2
In my last report, I outlined the Special Session that Governor Parson called to address the issue of violent crime, primarily in our big cities. Murder rates and violent crime have been on the rise, children have been shot in their homes, and recently a pregnant lady pushing a baby carriage was shot in broad daylight in inner Kansas City. Something has to be done.
The Special Session opened on Monday, July 27. Bills can start in the House and finish in the Senate, or vice versa. Legislative leadership decided it would be best to have the Special Session debate start in the Senate. Bills relating to the governor’s call were officially filed the 27th, and the Senate’s Public Safety Committee held a hearing on Tuesday the 28th.
While 45 different bills were filed in the House and Senate, the primary bill is Senate Bill 1. SB 1 contains legislation addressing all of the elements of the governor’s call: (1) allow St. Louis cops to live outside of St. Louis; (2) define when a juvenile may be tried as an adult; (3) establish protections for witnesses and their testimony; (4) criminalize giving a weapon to a minor without their parent’s consent and encouraging a minor to engage in any weapons offense.
In the hearing, testimony was taken from numerous law officers and prosecutors in favor of the bill. They felt the changes made in SB 1 would give them better tools to catch criminals and reduce future crime. Testimony was also heard from the ACLU and race-based groups opposing SB 1 who are against more people going to jail.
The Senate will resume action the first week of August. It is expected the House will then get their crack at the bill the second week of August. If the House passes the exact same language that the Senate passed, the bill will go to the governor for his signature. If the House amends the bill, it would have to go back through the Senate again for their final approval.
Until next time, health, happiness and prosperity to you and your family.
Please contact me at:
201 West Capitol Avenue, Room 302B
Jefferson City, MO 65101
Email: [email protected]
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PICTURES FROM THE DISTRICT
Olivia Owen (Maysville) receives the 2020 Twila Eggleston Memorial Scholarship
OTHER NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL
Special Session Begins to Curb the Increase of Violent Crime in Missouri (SB 1)
Monday, July 27 marked the beginning of a special legislative session called by the governor to address the growing problem of violent crime in Missouri. While the House of Representatives met briefly to officially open the session, House members will not begin work on the governor’s legislation until the week of August 10.
The Senate did begin work on the bill proposed by the governor. The Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee held a hearing Tuesday, July 28 to discuss the act. The committee took testimony on SB 1, which contains six key provisions meant to address the problem of violent crime.
The six provisions included in SB 1 would:
- Eliminate the residency requirement for St. Louis law enforcement so long as the officer lives within an hour of the city. It would also prohibit requiring any public safety employee for the city of St. Louis to be a resident of the city.
- Requirethe court to determine if a juvenile should be certified for trial as an adult for the offense of unlawful use of a weapon and armed criminal action.
- Allow certain statements to be admissible in court that would otherwise not be allowed under current statute.
- Createthe Pretrial Witness Protection Fund.
- Modify the offense of endangering the welfare of a child for a person who encourages a child to engage in any weapons offense.
- Increase the penalty for a person who knowingly sells or delivers any firearm to a child less than 18 years of age without the consent of the child’s parent or guardian.
The governor has said the legislature must act quickly to address the rise of violent crime in Missouri. He said the state has seen rapid increases in crime rates this year, and pointed to significant increases in homicides in the state’s urban areas.
Gov. Parson said, “These are just the grim numbers, but the effects of violent crime across our state are best measured in lives – lives lost, futures cut short, and families hurting. All of this is unacceptable. We are better than that in Missouri, and we must hold violent criminals accountable for their actions.”
The Senate committee plans to meet again on August 5 to vote on the bill and send it to the Senate floor for discussion. The House anticipates discussing the bill on the House floor on Wednesday, August 12.