Senator Cunningham’s Legislative Column for July 14, 2017

Cunningham Updated Banner March 2017

This is the time of the year when the laws legislators worked hard to create and pass before the General Assembly are signed by the governor. I am proud to say the governor has signed several measures that I sponsored that are important for all Missourians, especially those in the 33rd District.

Senate Bill 34 makes Missouri the 29th state in the nation to enact a Blue Alert System. The Blue Alert System notifies the general public in instances in which law enforcement officers are killed or injured.

When I first drafted this bill, its sole intent was to make illegal re-entry into Missouri a crime. Each year, across our state and nation, there are countless crimes committed by those who are in our country illegally. With the passage of this law, previously deported immigrants who come back into the state and commit assaults or other dangerous felonies will face three to seven years in prison. I sponsored this legislation with a goal to crack down on criminals.

Senate Bill 34 also modifies and creates new provisions for certain criminal offenses. Some of the changes under Senate Bill 34, include:

  • Adding prior state or local convictions as penalty enhancements for subsequent state convictions for fourth degree domestic assault and second degree harassment;
  • Making the crime of leaving the scene of an accident a Class D felony if someone dies as a result of the accident;
  • Requiring court orders, and allowing the Secretary of State to intervene, in cases seeking the street addresses of participants in the Safe at Home address confidentiality program;
  • Allowing for the expungement of prior criminal non-support felony offenses after the convicted person pays the back child support or after probation/parole is concluded; and
  • The creation of a new Class E felony offense convictions in requirements for payment of Crime Victims’ Compensation fines upon conviction.

The governor signed this bill on July 6, and it will become law on Aug. 28.

Making sure a bill becomes a law and is signed by the governor can be a lengthy process. Research, creating the appropriate language for the legislation and getting it passed can take years. Even when the Legislature is not in session, lawmakers and staff are still working hard to draft laws that matter to citizens and make the most difference in our state.

As always, I appreciate it when groups from around Missouri and from our community back home come to visit me at the Capitol. If you would like to arrange a time to come and visit me in Jefferson City, or if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my Capitol office at (573) 751-1882.