“Highlights with Hegeman” for the Week of March 14: Making Law, and Life, Easier

Among the things that amaze me in the Missouri Legislature is how we can come up with laws. Sometimes, it can take years to craft and hone legislation that sets out to make sweeping changes for decades to come. Other times, a law can be written in a single sentence, and was brought about by one person asking one question. For me, the latter is the better way to make things easier for Missourians.

A prosecutor in northwest Missouri approached me about making a small change to rules that govern someone on probation or parole who escapes custody. In response, we came up with Senate Bill 799, a measure that would add to the offense of escape from custody. The new law would be a Class-A misdemeanor, unless the person was under arrest for a felony. As it stands now, charges cannot be brought against a person on probation or parole who escapes.

This has been a source of frustration for both prosecutors and law enforcement alike. If SB 799 moves through the Missouri House of Representatives and is signed by the governor, the new law would take effect on Aug. 28. We were able to pass this proposal out of the Missouri Senate on March 10, and I would like to thank my colleagues for doing so in a rather quick manner.

This week, the Legislature is in its annual mid-session recess. This gives lawmakers a chance to go home to their districts, meet with constituents and recharge before the final eight weeks of the 2022 legislative session. The second half of session tends to move rather quickly, with more legislation moving from one chamber to another. In addition, work will continue on the Fiscal Year 2023 state operating budget. I will continue in my role as chair of the Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee, which will mean a lot more time pouring over thousands of line items in next year’s budget. I will keep you updated on our progress.

As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is dan.hegeman@senate.mo.gov and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.