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Too Late To Revise Missouri's Criminal Code?

A Missouri Senate committee has wrapped up nearly a full month of hearings into a bill that would revise the state’s criminal code.  It would create a new class of felonies and misdemeanors, give judges more flexibility in sentencing, and modernize the language used in the criminal code. 

The bill is sponsored by Senate Minority Floor Leader Jolie Justus.

“For the past 30-plus years we’ve just enacted new crimes, and they’re just all over the statute,” says Justus.  “What we want to do is bring it all under one roof.  We’re just trying to make sure that we have gender-neutral language, that we’re taking into account modern technology changes.”

Republican Bob Dixon of Springfield chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee.  He says Senate members may need more than six weeks to decide whether to pass the bill.

“It depends on what response we get from members, but something of this magnitude I’m very hesitant to rush,” says Dixon.

Justus says similar legislation was introduced last year and that Missouri’s criminal code has gotten a lot of attention since then, but there’s just a month to pass it before the end of the session. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee took no action on the criminal code bill…a House committee passed a similar bill last week.

Marshall Griffin is the Statehouse reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.
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