(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.) Wednesday, Missouri Governor Mike Parson's special session, focused on fighting violent crime in the state, ending abruptly.
Bills were passed, but fewer than what state senators were hoping for. Lawmakers passed two out of six bills proposed.
“It was a little disappointing that all of those didn’t pass,” said Missouri Senator, Tony Leutkemeyer.
However, Parson said he's pleased with the outcome of the special session.
“Ya know, look. You’re not going to hit a homerun every time in this building. We’re very content in what we got moving,” said Missouri Governor, Mike Parson. “I don’t keep score on how many bills pass or how many I don’t. It’s about making things into law for everyday people.”
While less than half the bills will be signed into law, Parson said it's a win for the state.
“Here’s the thing, we got the two main pieces that we wanted. The main priority for St. Louis was the residency piece and the main piece for Kansas City was the witness protection program which we’ll be able to use all over the state,” said Parson.
One of the pieces of legislature passed, a witness protection fund.
House Bill 66, sponsored by Senator Leutkemeyer, meant to help solve violent crime like in the case of Raelynn Craig.
“That story of the 2-year-old child being shot in St. Joe is just a terrible tragedy. The witness protection fund is designed to help police officers solve cases just like that one,” said Leutkemeyer.
Similarly how St. Joseph police officers were struggling getting the public to talk in Raelynn's shooting death, this bill is meant to combat witnesses' fears of retaliation.
“It would give the St. Joseph Police Department and the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Department the ability to go to the state of Missouri and say, ‘we have an important witness that we need to bring forward and testify in order to solve this case.’ They can ask for money out of the fund to have that witness relocated. Maybe they move them to hotel in a different town. Get em’ out of harms way, so that person feels safe and comfortable coming forward and testifying at trial and helping get that dangerous individual off the street,” said Leutkemeyer.
Governor Parson wants $1 million for the witness protection program which will be paid for by the state legislature, said Luetkemeyer.
The second bill passed, House Bill 46, aims to fill the officer shortage in St. Louis.
St. Louis Police Department is down 150 officers. HB 46 hopes to fill the gap by allowing police officers to live outside city limits.
“The city of St. Louis is one of the most dangerous cities in America. It’s very difficult to recruit police officers. We’re hoping that by removing that residency requirement, by allowing police officers in St. Louis to choose where they and their family is going to live, that’s going to help them recruit more qualified officers,” said Leutkemeyer.
Senator Leutkemeyer said the bills not passed in the special session can be discussed in the next regular legislative session in January.