The Missouri Legislature passed a wide-ranging crime package that awaits a possible signature of approval from Gov. Mike Parson. The bill sponsored by Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville, would create a criminal offense for celebratory gunfire, known as Blair’s Law, and increase the punishment for harming or killing law enforcement animals, known as Max’s Law.

“Under current law, right now, it’s actually a more serious crime to break the window out of a police car, which is admittedly a serious crime,” he said. “That has a stiffer penalty associated with it than killing a law enforcement K9. So, that, to me, just doesn’t seem right.”

The proposal was vetoed last year, in part, over a provision that would have authorized reimbursements for people who are wrongfully convicted and jailed in Missouri.

“The governor had some objections that principally, he viewed this as a local government issue because prosecutors who prosecute and put people initially in prison are county elected officials. And so, he believed the county should pay for it, rather than the state,” Luetkemeyer explained.

That provision was eliminated in this most recent version of the legislation, so Luetkemeyer expects Parson to sign the bill into law.

“One of the things that he said was while he was vetoing it on the restitution provision, he specifically said I’m very supportive of both Blair’s Law and Max’s Law and, if given the opportunity on a different bill, would want to sign those into law,” he added.

The plan would also increase the minimum age from 12 to 14 years old for a minor to be charged as an adult for any felony. Additionally, it would create the offense of aggravated fleeing a stop or detention of a vehicle if a person flees at high speeding, knowing that a law enforcement officer is attempting to detain the person.

Last year’s bill was also vetoed because of a subsection dealing with record expungement and removal from the sex offender registry. Parson said at the time that the bill would have allowed for expungements for sex offenses that did not require registration at the time of conviction, which could have allowed some offenses to be removed from the registry.

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