Backers of a plan to rewrite Missouri’s criminal laws plan to spend the months before January solidifying support for the plan. It’s big and it’s complicated and it just ran out of time in the 2013 session. The House passed the bill but the Senate didn’t want to consider a one-thousand page bill in the closing days.
The rewrite is the first re-ordering of Missouri’s often-disorganized list of criminal laws in more than 35 years. Stakeholders in the legal profession are united in support–the prosecutors and defense lawyers including the public defenders.
The head of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, Eric Zahnd of Platte County, says this is a time when professional rivals come together.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Dixon of Springfield hopes to hold some hearings before next January. Senate Sponsor Jolie Justus hopes to travel throughout the state to meet with senators on the fence.
Legislative leadership has promised to make the criminal code rewrite a top priority in 2014.