JEFFERSON CITY, MO (STL.News) The Missouri Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony in support of two separate bills aimed at combating violent crime. The bills, sponsored by committee chairman Missouri State Senator Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville, drew support from numerous groups representing law enforcement professionals and prosecutors.
Senate Bill 600 expands the list of offenses not eligible for probation to include second-degree murder and using a deadly weapon in the commission of a dangerous felony. Persons previously convicted of dangerous felonies would also be required to serve time in prison. Senate Bill 602 creates the Missouri Criminal Street Gangs Prevention Act and strengthens the ability of prosecutors to put organized criminals behind bars.
“These two bills say that violent criminals belong behind bars, not roaming our streets,” Sen. Luetkemeyer said. “One bill will ensure that violent offenders serve time in prison for their crimes. The other strengthens Missouri’s street gang law, and creates a tool that prosecutors can use to combat organized crime.”
The two measures are part of a slate of legislation sponsored by Sen. Luetkemeyer that address rising crime in Missouri’s cities. A recent USA Today study ranked St. Louis and Kansas City as the No. 5 and 6 most dangerous cities in America.
Law enforcement organizations testifying in support of Sen. Luetkemeyer’s legislation included the Missouri Police Chiefs Association, the Missouri Sheriffs’ Association, the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and the Kansas City Police Department. The office of the mayor of Kansas City also testified in support.