Missouri’s governor wants special session on violent crime to be done as quickly as possible

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Law enforcement officers from across Missouri joined Governor Mike Parson for his special session call about violent crime on July 15, 2020 in Jefferson City (photo courtesy of the governor’s Flickr page)

(Missourinet)– Missouri’s governor will travel to Kansas City and to Springfield on Monday afternoon, to discuss the upcoming special session on violent crime.

Governor Mike Parson (R) will be joined at both visits by state Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Sandy Karsten.

During Thursday’s Capitol media briefing in Jefferson City, Governor Parson said that he wants the upcoming special session to narrowly focus on violent crime, and wants it to be completed as quickly as possible.

“Hopefully they’re (state lawmakers) going to be prepared, they’re going to know exactly what the (special session) call is, and hopefully they’re going to be able to take up those bills as soon as possible,” Parson says.

The special session begins next Monday, July 27. The governor notes not every lawmaker will need to be in the Capitol each day. The bills will be heard in committee, before they head to the floors of the Missouri House and Senate.

Governor Parson tells Missourinet that the only reason he’s calling a special session is for violent crime and the homicide rates in the state.

There have been 133 homicides in St. Louis this year, while Kansas City has had 102, a 35 percent increase from last year. Springfield has had 15 homicides this year, and the “News-Leader” reports the city is on pace to break its previous yearly record of 16.

While Missouri Legislative Black Caucus Chairman State Rep. Steven Roberts, D-St. Louis, wants the governor to add police reform to the special session, Parson says that’s an issue that needs more time.

“But reform is not going to be something that’s going to be easily done in a short session. One, there’s a lot of things that’s going to to have to go a lot of work into that to see what that looks like, whether it’s in St. Louis, whether it’s in Kansas City or whether it’s statewide,” says Parson.

While Parson says police reform is an issue that needs to be discussed “at some point,” he says the best place to do that is during a regular legislative session, which gives more time for lengthy committee hearings.

Kansas City Police Chief Richard Smith and Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams joined Governor Parson for his special session announcement on Wednesday in Jefferson City.

While witness protection will be a key part of the special session call, so will eliminating the residency requirement for St. Louis police officers. Another key provision includes juvenile certification.

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