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Why the Missouri Chamber of Commerce is backing a Republican crime bill

missouri_house_on_budget.jpg
Carlos Moreno
/
KCUR 89.3
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry is praising the Missouri House for passing a bill it says would address business owners' concerns about rising crime.

A crime prevention bill supported by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce passed through the House of Representatives this month. But most Missouri Democrats say it will do little to actually prevent crime and gun violence.

Earlier this month, Missouri Republicans passed a controversial anti-crime bill in the House of Representative by a vote of 109-35.

House Bill 301was introduced by state Rep. Lane Roberts (R-Joplin) and includes several provisions Republicans say would combat crime in the state, including one that would allow the governor to appoint a special prosecutor in regions with high homicide rates.

But Democrats say the bill does little to nothing when it comes to providing mental health treatment and funding for social services. The bill also doesn’t mention guns, even though Missouri has thefourth-highest rate of gun fatalities in the country.

Several of the bill’s provisions come from recommendations from a public safety report by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. According to the report, almost three quarters of Missouri business leaders believe crime negatively impacts the state’s economy.

“Missouri is always going to be a state that upholds the rights of the Second Amendment,” Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dan Mehan told Up To Date on Friday. “We're not threatening that at all. But we've got to try to find a solution.”

Mehan joined Up To Date to discuss the impact crime has on the state’s economy and how he believes HB 301 will help solve the problem.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
Claudia Brancart is an Up To Date producer for KCUR 89.3. She graduated from Pitzer College in Los Angeles where she majored in World Literature and Studio Art. You can reach her at claudiab@kcur.org.
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