Another wide-ranging anti-crime bill is moving forward in the Missouri Senate.

Senate Committee Substitute for SBs 754, 746, 788, 765, 841, 887 & 861 was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. Last year’s bill was vetoed by Gov. Mike Parson, in large part over concerns that it contained language that could have led to expunging criminal records of some sex offenders. Darrell Moore is Executive Director of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys.

“The original language was any offense that requires registration as a sex offender is not eligible, and we had changed that wording to ‘any offense that at the time of the conviction,’” Moore told the committee. “That created an issue for the governor, but that phrase is being removed and takes us back to what the law is (supposed to be).”

The omnibus bill also contains the proposed “Max’s Law,” which would make it a felony to kill or seriously injure a police dog or other police animal. Robert Shockey with the Missouri Police Chiefs Association said his group strongly support the proposal.

“These are police officers,” he said. “They go through rigorous training, probably more than most road officers. They put their lives on the lines to protect their handlers and other officers on the street, so this is way overdue.”

The proposal is named for Max, a St. Joseph Police K-9 that was killed in the line of duty in 2021 while he and his handler were serving a warrant. It would also cover horses or any other animal in service to a law enforcement agency.

Another provision would raise the minimum age for a juvenile to be tried as an adult from 12 to 14. It was sponsored by State Sen. Barbara Washington, D-Kansas City.

“Studies have shown that children that young just don’t have the capacity to know what they’re doing,” she testified. “Statistics show that we have not had a lot of 12-year-olds in the state of Missouri that have actually been certified (as adults). We do have…children who have psychological damage for the rest of their lives by just going through a hearing.”

Another section would stiffen penalties for celebratory gunfire. The portion known as Blair’s Law is named for Blair Shanahan Lane. She was eleven years old when she was fatally wounded by a falling bullet in her yard on the night of July 4th, 2011.

Other provisions include creating a dedicated fund for public defenders, and creating a conviction review unit to investigate claims of innocence among those convicted and sentenced to prison.

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