Dear Citizens: 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. Require the 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. Create the 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 by mid-August.
Recovery Grant Programs Available to Offset COVID-19 Impact: As Missouri continues to manage the health impact of COVID-19, the state also continues to move forward with its recovery from the economic damage inflicted by the virus. The state unemployment rate fell by more than two percentage points in June and is now at 7.9 percent, which is significantly lower than the national rate of 11.1 percent. The state has also seen other strong signs of recovery including a steady increase in consumer spending.
To help further facilitate the state’s recovery, the governor and the legislature have worked together to allocate vital federal CARES Act funds for programs that will assist workers and businesses in the state’s most important industries. Over the last few weeks the governor has announced a number of programs that will keep Missouri’s economy trending upward. Small businesses, nonprofits, PPE retooling, destination marketing and more can find helpful grants at showmestrong.mo.gov.