|
|
The Daily Guide - Waynesville, MO
  • Mo. House and Senate pass separate criminal code bills

  • The Missouri House and Senate passed separate bills Thursday to reorganize the state's criminal laws, and now lawmakers are focused on resolving differences between the two versions.
    • email print
      Comment
  • The Missouri House and Senate passed separate bills Thursday to reorganize the state's criminal laws, and now lawmakers are focused on resolving differences between the two versions.
    House members sent the Senate their bill with a 130-24 vote and senators followed suit by passing their own measure 29-3. Both proposals would create new classes of felonies and misdemeanors, and reorder various crimes to fit the new punishment scale.
    Lawmakers last overhauled the criminal code in 1979 and lawmakers have since created several additional crimes, which bill supporters say has created confusion and legal ambiguities.
    "This is something that is past time and going to be very important for the state of Missouri," said Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, and one of the bill's sponsors.
    Both the House and Senate legislation would create a new felony punishment range that carries a 3- to 10-year prison term for certain crimes, bridging the gap between existing felony classes that carry an authorized jail term between 5 and 15 years and one that stipulates a maximum four-year prison stint.
    The measures, HB 1371 and SB 491, would create a new misdemeanor class for which jail time wouldn't be an option. Under current law, all misdemeanor offenses carry possible sentences of up to 15 days to one year. Fines would also be raised under both bills.
    Supporters now must work out differences between the two versions and agree on an identical measure before lawmakers adjourn in mid-May.
    One of the major differences is a dispute over whether the legislation should reduce the penalty for those convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana for the first time.

        calendar