Senator Jill Schupp’s Priority Legislation Reflects District’s Values
Reducing Gun Violence, Helping Survivors of Domestic Abuse and Making Voting Easier
JEFFERSON CITY — State Sen. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, has pre-filed her first three bills for the 2021 legislative session based on top issues heard from district constituents. Senator Schupp’s legislation includes violent history checks to help prevent dangerous criminals from acquiring firearms; the Victims’ Economic Security & Safety Act to give survivors of domestic violence the tools they need to leave dangerous situations; and absentee voting legislation to provide Missourians secure and convenient voting options in future elections.
“My legislative package for 2021 will benefit people regardless of party affiliation, income level, race or gender. During the times in which we are living, it is essential to make sure the safety and well-being of all Missourians is put first,” said Sen. Schupp. “As we work to address health, education and economic issues created by the pandemic, we must continue to tackle the ongoing problems facing our communities ̶ including gun violence, domestic abuse and outdated barriers to voting.”
Reducing Gun Violence
To help prevent dangerous criminals from accessing deadly weapons, Sen. Schupp has filed Senate Bill 15 to make it illegal to buy or transfer a firearm in Missouri without the recipient passing a violent history background check conducted by a licensed firearms dealer.
“We must support and protect our law enforcement officers by keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals,” Sen. Schupp said. “Requiring violent history checks for gun purchases and transfers would uphold lawful Second Amendment rights while preventing those with a violent criminal history from accessing deadly weapons.”
Senator Schupp’s Violent History Checks Act would make the sale or transfer of a firearm without a background check conducted through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System a misdemeanor, subject to a fine up to $1,000, or six months imprisonment. Prior to 2007, Missouri required local law enforcement officials to conduct background checks on all transfers of handguns. The nonpartisan John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research reports that Missouri’s firearm homicide rate increased 23% after that law was repealed in 2007.
Helping Victims of Domestic Violence
Senate Bill 16, the Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act, would require certain employers to allow an employee up to two weeks of unpaid leave per year to address domestic or sexual violence perpetrated against themselves or against a close family member. Reasons for unpaid leave would include attending hearings, accessing the courts, addressing physical or mental health issues and finding new living quarters.
“This legislation protects the economic well-being of survivors,” Sen. Schupp said. “When domestic violence has forced a survivor to take measures to overcome a dangerous situation, unpaid leave is a way to support the survivor, any children and to also be mindful of the needs of the person’s employer.”
According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, there were 45,548 incidents of domestic violence reported statewide in 2018. Nationwide, domestic violence results in more than $725 million in lost productivity each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
After an election in which Missouri demonstrated it can successfully and securely handle an increase in absentee voting, Sen. Schupp has filed Senate Bill 17 to allow no-excuse absentee voting.
“Record numbers of Missourians cast absentee ballots in November,” Sen. Schupp said. “Voters liked the flexibility, safety and convenience that came with an expanded absentee voting option. There is no reason Missouri voters should have to revert to an outdated, restrictive system that requires unnecessary excuses to cast an absentee ballot.”
If Sen. Schupp’s legislation is approved, Missouri would join 29 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing no-excuse absentee voting.
Pre-filing of Senate bills for the 2021 legislative session officially begins on Dec. 1. The 101st General Assembly will convene on Jan. 6, 2021.
For more information on Sen. Schupp’s legislation, visit her official Missouri Senate website at www.senate.mo.gov/schupp.