First Quarter Down
We’ve passed the first quarter mark in the 2020 legislative session, and we continue to make progress toward the goal line. This week we moved a number of bills out of the Senate and prepared for future floor action as we took testimony on more bills during committee hearings.
Among the legislation that made it through the Senate this week, and now on its way to the House of Representatives, is my Senate Bill 600. This measure combines several separate pieces of legislation all relating to violent crime. Persons convicted of second-degree murder and other violent offenses will no longer be eligible for probation once this bill becomes law. It’s hard to imagine, but far too often violent offenders have been found guilty, only to receive a slap on the wrist and be sent right back out onto the streets. This bill requires offenders serve time in prison. It will send a strong message that if you do the crime, you must do some time.
Senate Bill 600 also makes enhancements to Missouri’s criminal street gang statute and revises the state’s conspiracy law. These reforms will increase the ability of prosecutors to bring members of organized crime to justice. Finally, the measure increases penalties for armed criminal action and felons in possession of a firearm.
The Judiciary Committee, which I chair, also heard testimony on Senate Bill 824. This legislation requires children who are charged with unlawful use of a weapon or armed criminal action to appear before a judge to determine whether the minor should be charged as an adult. The measure does not require offenders be tried as an adult, only that a hearing is conducted. The committee took testimony from experts, including a retired judge from St. Louis, who said that the hearings required by this bill will help convey the seriousness of the crime and send a message that violent behavior will not be tolerated.
WELCOME BACK CHAMPIONS!
The most exciting part of the past week was receiving news that the Kansas City Chiefs’ training camp will return to St. Joseph. I was at Missouri Western State University presenting a resolution of recognition to the MWSU Griffons football team when I learned the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs had renewed their commitment to hold training camp at the St. Joseph campus. This is great news for northwest Missouri and all of Chiefs Kingdom. I’m thrilled the Chiefs are coming back to St. Joseph. It’s huge for my district, and I couldn’t be more excited.
It is my great honor to represent the citizens of Platte and Buchanan counties in the Missouri Senate. Please contact my office at (573) 751-2183, or visit www.senate.mo.gov/mem34.