The Missouri General Assembly is working toward solutions that may help curb some of the violent crime we are experiencing in our state. We have completed the second week of the extraordinary session, which the governor called late last month.

Senate Bill 1 addresses six specific areas intended to combat a rise in certain crimes, mainly in our larger cities. While we often hear of violent crime occurring in our state’s urban areas, violent crime is certainly an issue in rural Missouri. According to the FBI, in 2018, Missouri ranked sixth in the country when it came to violent crime in rural areas. From where I stand, this issue affects all of us, not just our friends in Kansas City and St. Louis.

Senate Bill 1 was heard in a Missouri Senate committee at the end of July. The panel took a week to thoroughly comb through each piece contained in the measure, and then voted to send the proposal to the full Missouri Senate for its consideration. We then spent several hours on Aug. 6 going through not only the bill itself, but also discussing its potential impact on our state.

Taking time to delve into matters is what the Missouri Senate was designed to do, especially when you have matters that weigh as much as violent crime. It goes beyond the issue of residency requirements for St. Louis City police officers. We are also looking at ways to keep witnesses safe and able to testify in major cases. Each detail must be carefully examined, all the while knowing we only have 60 days in which to complete this work. This may seem like ample time, but these issues need to be properly discussed when they affect everyone in Missouri to one degree or another.

Now that the Missouri Senate has made its mark on this legislation, it goes to the Missouri House of Representatives for similar consideration. If the governor signs SB 1, it would immediately become law because the measure has an emergency clause in it.

Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby, represents District 12 in the Missouri Senate. His constituency includes part of Clay County including Kearney. Hegeman can be reached at (573) 751-1415 or dan.hegeman@senate.mo.gov.

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