Last week, we talked about our progress with SB 1050, which was just passed by the House Transportation Committee on Monday. This week, I want to update you on another big bill of mine—HB 1355. Just like SB 1050, HB 1355 is special because it’s a larger bill that is an accumulation of many smaller bills. Larger bills like this emerge late in session because many of the smaller bills cannot garner much debate time as we near our constitutionally-mandated adjournment date of May 18. House Bill 1355 primarily addresses provisions pertaining to law enforcement and public safety. It’s currently placed on the informal calendar, but I expect we could debate it and put it to a vote on the Senate Floor, this week.
Originally, the purpose of HB 1355 was to allow for retired police officers to work during emergencies. In the wake of a declared disaster or emergency, any law enforcement agency may supplement its workforce with retired police officers. These officers are expected to work voluntarily, but may be compensated through the agency that calls upon them.
Other bills added to HB 1355 include:
- Senate Bill 662 alone is packed with a number of different provisions. Broadly speaking, this bill requires the inclusion of information on traffic stops and constitutional rights in driver training programs and information provided to first-time license recipients. It also includes penalties for filing false documents, enhancements to public safety education and provisions to peace animal training programs.
- Senate Bill 616 prohibits law enforcement and emergency personnel support specialists from disclosing confidential information. Exceptions to this rule include cases where there is a threat of suicide, information of spouse, child or elderly abuse, admission of criminal conduct and disclosure of information that has been granted consent to be disclosed. The Fraternal Order of Police has requested this legislation to help our police officers receive counseling when and if they need it.
- House Bill 2062 allows law enforcement agencies located in the Joplin area to request assistance from agencies in other jurisdictions, including some jurisdictions located in Kansas and Oklahoma. If an officer makes an arrest or apprehension outside his or her home state, the offender will be delivered to the first officer who is commissioned in the jurisdiction in which the arrest was made.
- Senate Bill 586 creates the Joint Committee on Disaster Preparedness and Awareness. The purpose of this committee is self-explanatory—to make a continuous study and investigation into disaster preparedness and awareness into various areas. One subject that was considered while this bill was debated was the potential for a large earthquake from the New Madrid Fault.
House Bill 1355 looks to improve the efficiency of our law enforcement and enhance the safety of our state. I’m excited to see the product of the Senate’s deliberation and hope to pass along good news of the passage of this bill in next week’s letter. For more information on HB 1355 or to track the progress of other developing bills, visit the Senate website at, https://www.senate.mo.gov/BTSSearch/Default.aspx.
I enjoyed working closely with law enforcement and their representatives at the Fraternal Order of Police on this bill and I am looking forward to its final passage.
Also, the Missouri Department of Conservation is looking for public feedback as they begin reviewing the regulations regarding gigging on Ozark streams. Please visit https://mdc.mo.gov and click on “Gigging Feedback,” to fill out the short survey, before the commenting period ends June 15.
Thank you for reading this weekly column. Please contact my office at (573) 751-3678 if you have any questions.