The Missouri House Committee on Crime Prevention and Public Safety has approved HB 301, legislation with several provisions to address the multi-faceted and complex issue of rising crime. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Lane Roberts (R-Joplin).
“We are encouraged by lawmakers’ quick action on this growing problem,” said Dan Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “Our crime rate is holding our state back. The negative national attention stalls economic growth. But most importantly, the day-to-day impacts on Missouri lives and communities are unacceptable. Something must be done.”
One prominent provision of the bill allows the governor to appoint a special prosecutor in certain regions with a designated high rate of homicide cases to initiate and prosecute violent offenses.
Requiring more prosecutorial transparency and accountability was one of the recommendations in a report issued by the Missouri Chamber during the summer. Safer Missouri, Stronger Missouri highlighted the critical role that prosecutors play in controlling crime.
Other provisions in the bill include:
– Establishing universal factors for setting bail;
– Establishing minimum prison terms for all classes of felonies for offenders with prior felony convictions;
– Establishing a law enforcement training tuition reimbursement program to help increase public safety staffing; and
– Requiring the Dept. of Corrections to provide guidance to offenders on how to obtain birth certificates and government-issued IDs. This will aid offenders in gaining employment after release.
HB 301 now awaits debate by the full Missouri House.
Addressing crime is a leading priority of the Missouri Chamber this legislative session. Nearly 500 businesses and business leaders have signed the Missouri Chamber petition urging lawmakers to act on public safety measures this legislative session.