Bill would affect parole eligibility for 14 offenders in Missouri

First- and second-degree nonviolent drug trafficking offenders, convicted before Jan 1, 2017, could be eligible for parole after serving 10 years of their sentences under a proposed piece of legislation.

House Bill 2780, sponsored by Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch, R-Hallsville, would create such an avenue for parole eligibility.

The bill is an addition to legislation that was passed in 2014, that went into effect in 2017, containing similar clauses that left out this specific group of individuals, Toalson Reisch said.

"These guys fell in the crack of this particular charge of a particular statute number, that should have been ... included in this 2014 law," she said.

If passed, the provisions in the bill would apply to 14 individuals, Toalson Reisch said at a public hearing discussing the bill.

"It's a very, very small number," she said. "These 14 people need that chance to at least hear their story if they've been rehabilitated, and we want them to become productive members of society."

Of those 14 offenders, four have already served 10 years or more of their sentence and would be eligible for parole in 2022 under this proposal, the bill's fiscal note states. The remaining 10 offenders would all be eligible no later than 2032.

The number of individuals the proposed legislation would affect was previously closer to 30, Toalson Reisch noted, however, Gov. Mike Parson has since commuted many of them.

"This bill passed out of this committee unanimously last year got all the way to the last day of session and was stripped off of Senate Bill 26," she said.

No opposition from lawmakers or witnesses was made at Tuesday's public hearing.

Click the link below to read the full bill:

• HB 2780: Parole eligibility

Sponsor: Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch


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