Missouri’s second “Jessica’s Law” has gone into effect. The first Jessica’s Law got tough with sex offenders. It’s based on a Florida law. This one increases the penalties for manslaughter involving drun drivers. And, it makes the punishments even stiffer if the driver has a previous DWI record. It’s named for Jessica Mann, a seven-year-old girl who was killed, along with her grandfather, when a drunk driver hit them as they went to the roadside mailbox. The driver had a blood alcohol two-and-a-half times the legal limt. Jessica Mann’s father, Mike, says it’s a law Missouri badly needs. Mann says it’s a miracle the bill was passed in its first legislative session. The sponsor, Senator Gary Nodler of Joplin, says drunk drivers turn vehicles into lethal weapons that are used too often. He says punishment, up to now, has not been justice. The law, however, has a flaw. It’s one of two drunk driving laws passed this year. But the bills refer to different criminal statutes. The Governor signed the bills although admitting the situation is confusing. He has asked the Legislature to straighten out the matter during the special session that starts next week.
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