Starting Monday, July 27, legislators will convene at the State Capitol for an extra legislative session to address the violent crime that is wreaking havoc on Missouri’s families and communities. During a July 15 press conference with some of our state’s top law enforcement leaders, the governor outlined six priority issues for lawmakers to address when they return to their prospective chambers next week.
These six priorities were also spelled out in a proclamation released the same day and include several calls to enact legislation or add new sections to our current statutes. The topics include changing the residency requirements for police officers in St. Louis City, certifying juveniles to be tried as adults in crimes involving the unlawful use of a weapon or armed criminal action, allowing certain witness statements to be admissible in court proceedings, creating a pretrial witness protection fund to safeguard witnesses from the possible repercussions of standing up to crime, criminalizing persons who coerce a child under the age of 17 to commit offenses involving weapons and increasing the penalty to a class E felony for persons who knowingly deliver or sell a weapon to a child under the age of 18 without parental consent.
As you can see, the Legislature’s task at hand will require abundant diplomacy, expert advice and ample time to decipher the best practices to uphold law and order while protecting our citizens. This call to address violent crime comes at a pivotal time in our state as our largest cities are on pace to break last year’s records of homicides. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Missouri’s largest metropolitan areas ranked in the top ten of the most violent cities when compared to the rates of 454 other US cities: St. Louis placed 6th, Kansas City placed 7th and Springfield ranked 16th. The term “violent crimes” refers to the offenses of murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
I believe that all legislators comprehend the gravity and timeliness of these issues and will work together to create lasting, mutually beneficial changes to our current criminal justice system.
Don’t Forget to Vote in the Primary Election
On August 4, registered voters will be able to weigh in on some key issues and reserve a spot for selected candidates on the general election ballot this November. Missouri’s secretary of state’s website is a great hub for all things election, including this helpful fact sheet on absentee voting. Every vote counts, so be sure to cast yours in 11 days!
State Fair Returns to Initial Roots in Agriculture
Due to the recent surge of new COVID-19 cases, the organizers of the Missouri State Fair recently announced that it will forego the customary large crowds of visitors and return to its roots as a showcase of our agricultural products. The traditional “fair” will be reduced to a youth livestock show to allow our hardworking students in FFA and 4H an opportunity to display the fruit of their labors and show their prized animals to a panel of judges and limited fair attendees. Visit the MO State Fair website for an updated schedule and additional information about the youth expo.
Reminders about Constituent Services
Please take advantage of the multiple resources that are posted on my Senate webpage. In addition to the Community Services Directory that my staff has created for your benefit, you may also reference several COVID-19 related guides and the interactive MoDOT map.
I also want to remind you to share this image on your social media channels. Aside from the scheduled extra session starting next week, I will be stationed in the home district. Meeting with the residents in our communities helps me to better represent you in Jefferson City.