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Document: Senate Substitute for Senate Bill No. 1

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The Missouri Senate bill containing Gov. Mike Parson's anti-crime agenda for the special legislative session underway passed by a large margin in the Senate on Friday and was sent to the House of Representatives.

A Senate substitute for SB 1, a bill sponsored by Sen. Doug Libla, R-Poplar Bluff, passed 27-3 on Friday.

The votes against the bill came from St. Louis Democratic state Sens. Jamilah Nasheed and Karla May, as well as state Sen. Brian Williams, D-University City.

State Sen. Jeanie Riddle, R-Mokane, was absent.

Parson called the special session for lawmakers to enact an agenda he has said will help address a surge in violent crime this year, especially in the state's largest cities:

Eliminate and prohibit the requirement for St. Louis law enforcement officers to have to live in the city, though an officer would still be required to live within an hour's response time of the city.

Require courts to determine if a juvenile should be tried as an adult for unlawful use of a weapon and armed criminal action charges.

Allow certain statements by witnesses to be admissible in court that would otherwise not be allowed under current law.

Create a Pre-trial Witness Protection Fund.

Criminalize knowingly encouraging, aiding or causing a child younger than 17 years old to engage in a weapons offense.

Increase the penalty for a person who knowingly sells or delivers a firearm to a child without the consent of the child's parent or guardian.

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Critics of the agenda have especially taken issue with the juvenile certification piece, out of concerns that children as young as 12 would be tried as adults and that Black youth would be targeted.

Courts can already choose to have a hearing on whether a child 12-17 years old who has been charged with a felony may be tried as an adult, but courts are not required to do so with charges of unlawful use of a weapon and armed criminal action — unlike other felonies such as first- or second-degree murder, first-degree assault, or first-degree robbery that do require that hearing to be held.

The substitute for the original bill raises the lower end of the age range from 12 to instead 14 years old. The compromise would also remove distribution or manufacture of drugs from the list of felonies that mandate a juvenile certification hearing.

The compromise also would require the state courts administrator's office to collect data annually on the number of certification petitions filed, the disposition of those petitions, offenses for which certification petitions are filed, the race of juveniles for whom certification petitions are filed, and the number of juveniles who waive their rights to counsel.

The data would have to be shared each year with juvenile officers, juvenile court judges and commissioners, the president pro tem of the Missouri Senate and the speaker of the House.

Offenders under age 18 would have to be housed in correctional facilities separated from adult offenders, and the young offenders would have to be provided access to educational programs that award a high school diploma or equivalent.

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As a further compromise, the elimination of the St. Louis residency requirement would expire Aug. 31, 2023.

After its business Friday, the Senate adjourned until noon Aug. 13.

Hearings on the crime bill are scheduled before the House's Judiciary and Rules-Administrative Oversight committees Monday afternoon.

The bill is set to be heard before the House Fiscal Review Committee Wednesday morning before the House convenes that day.

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