At the beginning of February, the Missouri House passed HB 301 which has several provisions to address the multi-faceted and complex issue of rising crime in the state. The legislation was sent over to the Senate where it was heard this week in the Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.
Bill sponsor Rep. Lane Roberts (R-Joplin) told the committee, “This bill came out of a working group that met all summer long. The charge I was given in chairing that group was to craft something that dealt with crime in general, that did not leave out the urban areas and that was bipartisan in nature. In order to do that, we had a working group with three Democrats and three Republicans. We made an agreement that we would be open-minded to each other and we would listen to each other’s concerns.”
Testifying before a packed hearing room, other groups and individuals joined the Missouri Chamber in showing support for the legislation, including Missouri Fraternal Order of Police. Harrowing stories from family members of victims of crime and prosecutorial negligence were shared in support of this legislation.
Addressing crime is a leading priority of the Missouri Chamber this legislative session. More than 500 businesses and business leaders have signed the Missouri Chamber petition urging lawmakers to act on public safety measures.
The Missouri Chamber offered written testimony, including a copy of the petition, in support of HB 301 at the hearing. Missouri Chamber Vice President of Governmental Affairs Kara Corches cited some of the statistics from the Safer Missouri, Stronger Missouri report, stating how negative national attention on our rising crime rate is stalling economic growth.
“A recent poll we commissioned of about 600 CEOs and business leaders across the state really rang the alarm bells for us,” Corches said. “In this poll, we found that two-thirds of businesses believe that our rising crime rate is impacting the state’s economic competitiveness. Even more concerning, 60 percent of business leaders said public safety and crime is a growing concern with almost 25 percent feeling that crime and public safety is a top concern.”
“This is a rural issue, this is an urban issue and this is a suburban issue,” Corches added. “We hear from businesses from St. Louis, Kansas City, Branson, Waynesville and Versailles. Every business and community in this state is impacted by crime.”
For more information, contact Corches at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-634-3511.