Governor Parson announces special session to address violent crime

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced a special session to address violent crime in Missouri. It will begin on July 27.

“None of us, no matter where we are from, want to see children being shot in the streets,” remarked Parson.

He pointed to rising crime in St. Louis and Kansas City. He said last night, four people were killed in St. Louis. There have been 130 homicides in the city so far this year compared to 99 this time last year.

He also mentioned that there have been 101 homicides in Kansas City this year. That’s an increase of 35% over last year.

St. Louis City Police Chief John Hayden was in attendance. He was joined by the police chief of Kansas city, Arnold, and several other cities across the state. They shared the stage with Gov. Parson who spent more than 22 years in law enforcement.

“We can not continue to let violent criminals to destroy our cities and get away with it. We are better than that in Missouri,” said Parson.

He went on to say we need to stop worrying about law-abiding citizens and start focusing on the real problem of violent crime.

Gov. Parson also explained law enforcement, prosecution, and sentencing all have to be working together on this issue or the whole system fails.

“The only way we can truly make a difference is by working together,” explained Parson.

Some lawmakers have asked Parson to discuss police reform during the special session, but he said it will only be focused on violent crime.

“Those issues will come, those conversations will take place but they need to take place in a legislative session, where there is time to deal with it, where there is time to have committee hearings and there is time to do the process of what the legislators do.”

During Wednesday’s press conference, the chief clerk for the House released two house staffers have tested positive for COVID19. Both employees are at home self-quarantining and are not working in the building.

When Parson was asked about lawmakers being tested when they return for a special session, he said he wasn’t against it.

The special session will focus on these 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.

“If we are to change violent criminal acts across our state, we must work together,” Governor Parson said. “We must do our jobs. We must support our law enforcement officers, and we must start prioritizing the prevention of violent crime.”

Earlier this month, Parson signed a new crime bill into effect.

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