Representatives return to Jefferson City to try again with anti-crime bills

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri lawmakers are back in Jefferson City for the third week of the governor’s special session on violent crime.

Monday was the first day back after House leaders announced they want to take up Governor Mike Parson’s provisions in separate bills. Three committees met to discuss residency requirements for St. Louis City Police Officers, witness protection, unlawful use of a weapon, certification of juveniles as adults, and endangering the welfare of a child.

Parson expanded his call for the special session last Monday when he said he wants lawmakers to discuss concurrent jurisdiction for St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office. Since Parson’s announcement, House leaders said they want to look at each provision individually.

This means that it’s back to square one for the special session.

The House Judiciary Committee voted bills pertaining to residency requirements and witness protection out of committee during Monday’s discussion. The House General Laws Committee also passed two bills related to child endangerment and illegal transfer of a firearm, but not before lawmakers voted to amend the minimum age from 14 to 16. The Senate previously voted to increase the age to try a juvenile as an adult from 12 to 14 during their discussion on Senate Bill 1.

“While this still might not be ideal in my view or in the view of others, it at least protects more of our juveniles from the consequences of adult certification,” said Rep. Shamed Dogan (R-St. Louis).

The governor said Thursday he is disappointed House leaders are taking the time to separate the provisions into individual bills, but lawmakers said they just want to make sure the legislation is done right.

Concurrent jurisdiction was the only want of the governor that was not brought up during Monday’s committee hearings. That’s because that bill has not yet been referred to a committee.

The rest of the bills now head to rules committee for more discussions.

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