JEFFERSON CITY — Legislation championed by Sen. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, protecting police department budgets and creating tougher penalties for harming law enforcement officers and violent protestors who target statues and monuments passed the Missouri Senate today.
Senate Bill 26 originally included what is known as the Law Enforcement Bill of Rights, which creates due process protections for officers. Senator Brattin was able to add key provisions from his Senate Bill 66 to the bill and helped pushed the bill over the finish line.
“Our men and women in law enforcement are on the frontline of our communities, keeping us safe and protecting our families,” Sen. Brattin said. “The Defund the Police movement is a dangerous experiment that will lead to more violent crime and hurt the very communities it claims to help. Our law enforcement are vital to the safety and security of our state and that’s why I am fighting back against these efforts to gut our police departments.”
Senator Brattin’s legislation allows citizens in any community that cuts its law enforcement budget by more than 12 percent to sue for injunctive relief meaning the cuts could be immediately halted and reversed under Missouri law. Another measure pushed by Sen. Brattin made its way into the bill: tougher penalties for violent protestors who block traffic and destroy statutes or monuments.
“The right to peacefully protest is a vital constitutional protection,” Sen. Brattin said. “But, destroying property and violating other citizens’ constitutional rights is not peacefully protesting. It creates dangerous situations and is often used to intimidate and silence others who disagree. We’ve all seen the images of law-abiding people driving home from work attacked in their vehicles or statues of American leaders such as George Washington and Ulysses S. Grant torn down by violent mobs. These behaviors are not expressions of free speech. It’s criminal and should be treated as such.”
Senate Bill 26 now moves to the Missouri House of Representatives for consideration.