April 12, 2024 Less than a minute read

Senate committee hears crime prevention legislation supported by Missouri Chamber

A comprehensive public safety bill passed by the Missouri House in February is now making its way through the Senate.

HB 1659 is sponsored by Rep. Lane Roberts (R-Joplin). The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry testified in favor of the bill during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. The bill includes several provisions to improve public safety in Missouri, a key factor when business leaders and potential employees are considering moving to the state.

Similar legislation passed both the House and Senate last year before being vetoed by the governor. Roberts said those vetoed elements have been removed in this latest iteration of the bill.

“There are a number of important provisions in this bill,” said Kara Corches, vice president of governmental affairs for the Missouri Chamber. “These include enacting ‘Blair’s Law,’ which addresses the issue of celebratory gunfire, and strengthening criminal penalties for repeat and violent offenders.”

Businesses throughout the state are impacted by rising crime rates. In the Missouri Chamber’s annual business leader survey, 90% of respondents said they are concerned with public safety and 70% believe crime is hurting the state’s economic competitiveness.

The Missouri Chamber’s Safer Missouri Stronger Missouri report contained the following recommendations, which are strongly supported by the business community:

  • Deploying evidence-based and hot-spot approaches to crime reduction
  • Increasing and protecting tools to support policing
  • Addressing substance misuse and mental health
  • Reducing recidivism
  • Improving training and employment opportunities for incarcerated individuals
  • Increasing public safety staffing
  • Increasing prosecutorial consistency and transparency

For more information, contact Corches at kcorches@mochamber.com or 573-634-3511.

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