House Takes Up Luetkemeyer’s Senate Bills
As we approach the end of the 2021 session, each legislative chamber will spend more time working on bills drafted by the other body. This week, I presented my Senate Bill 53 to the House Judiciary Committee. This important police reform bill passed out of the Senate two weeks ago, and now must clear the lower chamber before heading to the governor’s desk.
Senate Bill 53 relaxes residency requirements for the Kansas City Police Department, allowing police officers to reside up to 30 miles from the city limits. This bill is similar to legislation the General Assembly passed last fall that allows police officers in St. Louis to live outside the city. My legislation is intended to address ongoing recruitment challenges within the KCPD. Providing police officers with greater flexibility to live where they prefer and send their kids to schools of their choice should make a job with the KCPD more attractive to recruits and encourage existing officers to remain on the job.
The measure also makes it a felony to publish personal information about a police officer for purposes of harassment or intimidation. The practice of “doxing” has become increasingly common in the Internet age, since it has unfortunately become so easy to disseminate private information. Police officers willingly face danger every day when they’re on the job, but they shouldn’t have to fear retaliation or protests at their homes or be concerned for their family’s safety. This bill protects the brave men and women of law enforcement and their families from harassment.
SB 53 also includes important bipartisan provisions regarding officer conduct, which were widely supported by law enforcement entities statewide. I’m proud it passed the Senate 30-4, and hopeful the House will send it on to the governor’s desk.
Also moving onto the House this week is a measure I sponsored to keep criminals from profiting from federal pandemic relief payments. Senate Bill 212 includes a provision requiring any COVID-19 stimulus checks sent to inmates at Missouri prisons to go toward paying back victims. My legislation applies to all of the pandemic-related stimulus payments Congress has authorized – from the initial $1,200 included as part of the CARES Act, up to and including the most recent $1,400 checks, and any subsequent COVID-19 stimulus in the future. This money is intended to help people reeling from job loss and economic devastation. It is unacceptable for criminals to benefit while their victims wait for restitution.
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.