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Mid-Missouri lawmakers discuss pending issues

A cleaning crew member spot sweeps a second floor walkway Tuesday afternoon in the State Capitol. Missouri lawmakers return to the building today as the 2012 Legislative Session kicks off.

A cleaning crew member spot sweeps a second floor walkway Tuesday afternoon in the State Capitol. Missouri lawmakers return to the building today as the 2012 Legislative Session kicks off. Photo by Kelley McCall.

The 2012 General Assembly session begins at noon today.

Its first-day action includes leaders’ speeches pronouncing this year’s leadership priorities — and the introduction of bills for lawmakers to consider.

State Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, wants fellow lawmakers to authorize Missouri’s circuit courts to establish special treatment programs for veterans, similar to the drug courts and DWI courts already operating around the state.

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“Missouri is a national leader in alternative courts for persons who have a problem that leads to crime, but who are good people underneath it all,” Barnes explained. “With military veterans, we know that — even though some of them come home and commit crimes — they might be for reasons other than that they’re a bad person.

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