Missouri lawmakers spar over how to handle spike in violence

Regional News

FILE – In this March 31, 2016, file photo, State Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake Saint Louis, left, works at his desk in the Senate chamber in Jefferson City, Mo. Onder, a Missouri lawmaker pitching a tough-on-crime bill, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, directed blame for a surge in violence in the state’s biggest cities at factors including the sometimes violent protests in Ferguson and St. Louis’ prosecutor. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP)– A Missouri lawmaker pitching a tough-on-crime bill Tuesday directed blame for a surge in violence in the state’s biggest cities at factors including the sometimes violent protests in Ferguson and St. Louis’ prosecutor, the city’s first black circuit attorney.

That spurred a black Democratic senator from the city to call out her Republican colleague for looking at the issue of crime through the perspective of a “privileged” white man.

The dispute highlights a divide among lawmakers over how to address an uptick in violence in the state’s biggest cities.

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