COLUMBIA, MO. — Missouri lawmakers will return to Jefferson City Monday for a special session on violent crime.
Governor Parson is spending this week touring the state talking to city leaders and law enforcement officers about violent crime and the special session.
Parson said there has been more than 200 homicides between St. Louis and Kansas City so far this year, but those aren’t the only cities being affected. He said there are many issues that need to be discussed in the state, but the issue on violent crime can’t wait.
“Whether they may look like they are in St. Louis or Kansas City, they affect the entire state,” Parson said. “We want to do everything that we can to give those officers and prosectors around the state the tools they need to do this.”
For the third day in a row, Parson met with law enforcement officers and city officials. He’s traveling the state to explain why he is calling the special session on Monday.
“Most of the legislation we will be talking about during special session was in session last year,” Parson said. “It just didn’t make it across the finish line.”
Parson met with Columbia city leaders and police officers Thursday while dozens of protestors stood outside of city hall and the council chambers.
“I would just like to see some communication with other local agencies to work together for the betterment of our community, not just hard-handing policing going on,” protestor Tara Bailey said.
Bailey is a school teacher at Derby Ridge Elementary School in Columbia. She said she is standing up for police reform and for the safety of her students during this pandemic.
“I don’t feel like enough has been done to make it safe for students to go back to school,” Bailey said.
While standing outside city hall, Bailey held a sign that read, ‘I listen to Drs. and science – not Trump and Parson.’
Parson said he’s focused on giving prosectors and law enforcement the tools they need to keep communities safe in Missouri.
“I realize there are campaigns going on,” Parson said. “I realize COVID-19 is out there. The easiest thing woud be to delay all of this until a later day, but the reality of it is that people are dying in the streets everyday in the state of Missouri.”
Parson has not indicated how long session will last, but looking at the calendars for both the Senate and the House, it looks like lawmakers could still be in session during primary election week and possibly until the middle of August.
The special session will focus on six different provisions:
Police and Public Safety Employee Residency Requirements for St. Louis – The proposal to be considered would eliminate the residency requirement for St. Louis law enforcement so long as the officer lives within an hour of the city. This proposal would also prohibit requiring any public safety employee for the city of St. Louis to be a resident of the City.
Juvenile Certification – This proposal requires the court to determine if a juvenile should be certified for trial as an adult for the offense of unlawful use of a weapon and armed criminal action.
Witness Statement Admissibility – This proposal would allow certain statements to be admissible in court that would otherwise not be allowed under current statute.
Witness Protection Fund – This proposal creates the Pretrial Witness Protection Fund.
Endangering the Welfare of a Child – This proposal modifies the offense of endangering the welfare of a child for a person who encourages a child to engage in any weapons offense.
Unlawful Transfer of Weapons – This proposal would increase penalty for a person who knowingly sells or delivers any firearm to a child less than 18 years without the consent of the child’s parent or guardian.