(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.) – Similar measures to revise Missouri’s Criminal Code today gained approval by both the House and Senate. The bills, Senate Bill 491 and House Bill 1371, sponsored by Sen. Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, and Rep. Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia, respectively, now move the other chamber for similar consideration. Senators advanced SB491 by a vote of 29-3 while HB1371 passed in the House by a vote of 130-24.
Both measures are the result of four years of cooperative work of The Missouri Bar Criminal Code Revision Subcommittee comprised of experienced prosecutors and defense attorneys, as well as representatives from the judiciary and the legislature. First introduced in the Legislature in 2012, lawmakers have held more than two dozen public hearings that elicited thoughtful input from all stakeholders. To date, the effort to revise the Criminal Code has the support of many Missouri prosecutors, victims’ advocates for children, victims’ advocates against domestic and sexual violence, public defenders, defense attorneys and the fraternal order of police.
“This seven year effort to revise Missouri’s criminal code has resulted in a comprehensive and thorough bill that will better protect the people of Missouri,” said Missouri Bar President Jack Brady, of Kansas City. “We appreciate the leadership of the sponsors and the vast, bipartisan support of lawmakers to update and reorganize Missouri’s Criminal Code to make us safer, create an even fairer system and make better use of taxpayer funds.”
The Criminal Code includes statutes that pertain to crimes and punishments, sentencing provisions, defenses, and principles of liability. Since its enactment, some statutes have become outdated, new crimes have been defined and some punishments have become inconsistent.
New penalty scales outlined in the measures would allow for punishment to better correspond with the nature of the crime. The proposal also would increase fine amounts that have not been adjusted since the Code was enacted in 1979.
Each year, The Missouri Bar drafts and endorses a variety of legislative proposals designed to improve the law on behalf of the public. The Missouri Bar is a statewide organization that is dedicated to improving the legal profession, the law and the administration of justice for all Missourians. Created in 1944 by order of the Supreme Court of Missouri, it serves all 30,000 of Missouri’s practicing attorneys. To achieve its mission, The Missouri Bar provides a wide range of services and resources to its members, as well as the media, educators and the citizens of Missouri. To learn more about The Missouri Bar, visit www.mobar.org.