© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Missouri governor signs Blair's Law banning celebratory gunfire, named after killed Kansas City girl

Gov. Mike Parson signs legislation into law during a signing ceremony on July 9, 2024. Parson signed 9 bills into law Tuesday. He is scheduled to sign 7 more on Thursday.
Sarah Kellogg
/
St. Louis Public Radio
Gov. Mike Parson signs legislation into law during a signing ceremony on July 9, 2024. Parson signed 9 bills into law Tuesday. He is scheduled to sign 7 more on Thursday.

Gov. Mike Parson on Tuesday also signed an expansive law that includes a ban on eviction moratoriums by local governments and new penalties associated with squatting.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed nine bills passed by the legislature into law Tuesday that included expansive measures centered on public safety and property.

Within the public safety bill is Blair’s Law, which creates state penalties for celebratory gunfire. The bill includes greater penalties for harming or killing a police dog and the establishment of a cybercrimes task force.

Under Blair’s Law, a first offense would be a class A misdemeanor, with felony charges on further offenses.

The law is named for a Kansas City girl, Blair Shanahan Lane, who was killed in 2011 by a stray bullet during the 4th of July.

Rep. Mark Sharp, D-Kansas City, has sponsored the bill for several sessions.

“I believe over 10 years have gone, and they say sometimes Mr. Governor not to be married to a bill. But I'm sure glad we stuck to it and didn't give up,” Sharp said.

Blair’s Law was in a different public safety bill the legislature passed in 2023. However, Parson vetoed that bill over a separate restitution policy he disagreed with.

Parson spoke to Shanahan Lane’s family during the signing ceremony on Tuesday.

“I’m sure they were disappointed a couple of times when I vetoed a bill that was very dear to them and very personal to them. So, I thank you for staying the course, to do what is right because you’re going to help somebody else out,” Parson said.

Another expansive bill Parson signed into law dealt with issues related to property.

Some of the measures include a ban on eviction moratoriums by local governments and new penalties associated with squatting.

“Now in the state of Missouri, after the governor signs this, the state legislature and the governor through his emergency powers are the only entities within the state that could enact a halt on evictions,” said Rep. Chris Brown, R-Kansas City.

The law also contains policies allowing St. Louis County and others across the state to establish land banks.

Land banks allow for public entities to acquire, manage and develop vacant, abandoned or foreclosed properties.

Rep. Kevin Windham, D-Hillsdale, said that policy will positively affect Missouri for generations. “I’m extremely proud to know that this bill will be a part of my legacy,” Windham said.

Parson also signed into law a bill that fixes another law passed in 2023.

Missouri lawmakers passed legislation that would allow for counties and municipalities to enact property tax freezes for seniors.

St. Louis and St. Charles are two counties that have already approved the tax freeze. The City of St. Louis has also passed the freeze.

However, the original law only allowed seniors who have Social Security to qualify. This means any retiree who solely pulled from a pension couldn’t have their property taxes frozen.

The new bill broadens who qualifies to anyone 62 or older, including those with pensions.

“We've seen out-of-control real estate assessments around the state, particularly in our metropolitan areas, and it risks many seniors who are on fixed incomes being taxed out of their homes. And so this will make sure that those seniors are protected,” Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville, said.

Parson says he believes the fix will cause more counties to approve the tax freeze.

“I think the citizens will probably demand that. And I think they should. I mean, there's been a lot of things said over the last year. that it wasn't clear, there was confusion. Hopefully that's off the plate now,” Parson said.

All laws will go into effect Aug. 28 except one, HB2134, which has an emergency clause. That bill deals with Missouri fertilizer and clean water laws.

They are among the last bills signed during Parson’s administration, which ends this year.

“It's kind of a bittersweet in a way … but it's great to be here and great to be able to finish this up,” Parson said.

Parson is scheduled to sign seven more bills into law Thursday.

Copyright 2024 St. Louis Public Radio

Sarah Kellogg is St. Louis Public Radio’s Statehouse and Politics Reporter, taking on the position in August 2021. Sarah is from the St. Louis area and even served as a newsroom intern for St. Louis Public Radio back in 2015.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.