A wide-ranging crime package is another step closer to the finish line. The Missouri House has given initial approval to a bill that would:

•Create mental health treatment courts

•Toughen penalties for suspects who run from police

•Increase the minimum age a minor could be charged as an adult for any felony from 12 to 14 years old

•Raise the daily rate the state reimburses local jails for incarcerating state prisoners up to $45 per day per prisoner

Rep. Ron Copeland, R-Salem, who is sponsoring the bill, said another provision would require those convicted of DWI to pay child support if they kill a child’s parents while driving intoxicated.

“I think that’s just a common-sense thing. If a DWI person actually killed somebody, they should have some liability in that,” he said during debate on the bill.

House Bill 2700 would also increase jury duty pay.

“I don’t know if anybody knows how much compensation a juror gets,” said Copeland. “It’s minuscule. I think it’s somewhere $8 to $16 a day, which is very hard for people to get off work.”

In addition, the bill would put convicted murderers on a registry if they are out on parole.

“We’re wanting to make sure if a violent criminal moves into the state and committed first or second-degree murder, that the neighbors actually know about that. It’s kind of somewhere like the offender list,” said Copeland.

Under the legislation, tougher punishment would be ahead for people who fire a gun into the air to celebrate. Rep. Sherri Gallick, R-Belton, said it’s time to pass the provision, known as “Blair’s Law.”

Blair Shanahan Lane died at the age of 11 after a bullet from celebratory gunfire struck her in the neck in her Kansas City backyard on July 4, 2011.

“For 12 years, this body has been trying to get something done. Firing random bullets often results in death or injury for people that are hit by falling bullets,” said Gallick. “The chance of death is higher than other shootings due to the likelihood of being struck in the head.”

If the House votes in favor of the bill one more time, the legislation goes to the Senate for more work.

For more information on House Bill 2700, click here.

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