The legislature will be asked next year to start only the second re-write of the state’s criminal laws in about 175 years.
Mount Vernon Senator Jack Goodman wants a joint legislative committee to recommend the first comprehensive overhaul of the state criminal code since the mid-1970s. That was when the legislature overhauled the state’s crime and punishment laws since the 1830s.
Goodman says a lot has changed in crimes and punishments in the last three and a half decides.
“With the rampant onset of methamphetamine crimes—that’s not something that was anticipated in Missouri culture in 1974….and we’ve seen a lot of other socioeconomic changes…that have brought new crimes to our state,” he says.
He says it’s important the state not address criminal conduct piecemeal. But Goodman says that’s what has happened since the last code rewrite in the 70s. He says laws might deal with certain behaviors but lawmakers are tempted to come out with a law that appears to be tougher. But he says the result can be something prosecutors lack the resources to enforce.
He says the code needs to be rewritten to provide prosecutors with a comprehensive, consistent set of rules.