A bill before a Missouri House committee would require anyone convicted of killing someone while driving intoxicated to pay child support to any surviving children. It’s sponsored by House Speaker Pro Tem Mike Henderson, R-Desloge.

The bill is named Bentley and Mason’s Law, after two siblings whose parents were killed by a drunk driver and who are now being raised by their grandmother.

“She has made it her crusade to say we’re going to take care of these kids who are orphaned by people who are careless enough and callous enough to drive drunk and take away parents,” Henderson said.

If it becomes law, the child support payments would begin one year after the person gets out of prison and would last until the orphaned child turns 18.

“When they get out, they get one year to get their life together before they have to start making payments. They still have to pay those payments in arrears, but they have a year to try to get (it) together because you don’t want them to go back into prison,” Henderson said. “By the way, most of these people go to jail for less than nine months, if they go to jail at all. Most people think they spend years in jail, but they do not.”

The proposed law would also apply to children who lose one, but not both, parents or guardians in a traffic crash caused by an intoxicated driver.

A Missouri House committee could vote soon on the measure.

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