Prohibition on Shackling of Pregnant Offenders Passes

With just two days left in the session, SB 870, sponsored by Sen. Dan Hegeman (R-Cosby), was truly agreed and finally passed. SB 870 modifies several provisions relating to emergency services and prohibits the shackling of pregnant and postpartum inmates in correctional centers.

Under the bill, physical restraints are prohibited from being used during the third trimester of pregnancy when the inmate is being transported, attends medical appointments, during labor and 48 hours post-delivery, unless extraordinary circumstances exist. The bill further states that when restraints are used, they must be the least restrictive and reasonable under the circumstances. The bill now awaits the governor’s signature.

“Raise the Age” passes!

It’s been a long journey, but “Raise the Age” legislation has finally passed! Once the governor signs the bill, 17-year-olds will no longer be tried in adult courts. Congrats to Sen. Wayne Wallingford (R-Cape Girardeau) and Rep. Nick Schroer (R-St. Charles) for their leadership on sponsoring the bills. And a big thanks to our MOCAN network for their dedication in contacting legislators to keep the bill moving!

The final saga of the bill started when the House of Representatives voted 139-4 to pass SB 793 on Monday. Several amendments were added to the bill. The bill then went to the Senate. The Senate could either have accepted the amendments or called for a conference committee. Sen. Wallingford decided to ask the Senate to accept the amendments. In a vote of 32-1 on Thursday, the Senate truly agreed and finally passed the bill.

Missouri was one of five states that had not raised the age of juvenile jurisdiction. Arrest records in Missouri in 2015 showed that 93% of 17-year-olds were accused of nonviolent or misdemeanor offenses. Raising the age will not prevent 17-year-olds accused of serious offenses from being prosecuted as adults. Keeping 17-year-olds in the juvenile system has been shown to promote public safety.

The bill now goes to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

Lawmakers Approve State Budget

This week, the Missouri General Assembly approved a $28 billion budget for fiscal year 2019, which begins on July 1, 2018. This budget represents an increase of $600 million over fiscal year 2018. Preparing the budget and debating how the state will allocate its financial resources is the one obligation lawmakers must fulfill during the legislative session.  

Included in the FY 2019 budget is $6.4 million for the Alternatives to Abortion program.  This funding is used by local pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes that provide women facing an unplanned pregnancy with material, educational and spiritual support to help them carry their babies to term. Also included is $15.7 million dollars to the Show-Me Healthy Babies program, which provides medical care to the unborn children of women without health insurance.  

The FY 2019 budget also includes $2.5 million for the healthy marriage/fatherhood initiative, a program which encourages participation of fathers in their children’s lives and upbringing. The budget also includes $1.4 million for a pilot program that extends coverage for drug treatment for postpartum women from two months to twelve months. It is hoped that this program will help women with drug dependency to break free of their addictions so that they can better parent their children.

Tour the Tuscan Countryside and Assisi

In this short episode of Rick Steves Europe, the world-renowned traveler takes us on a tour of Tuscany and Assisi. Steves’ visit includes seeing how prosciutto is made and enjoying the region’s world-famous wines. The tour concludes in Assisi where we visit the little Chapel St. Francis built as part of his effort to reform the Church, calling it back to a simple life of prayer. Enjoy Assisi and Italian Country Charm.

Pro-Life Tax Credits Stymied by Vocal Minority

An overwhelming majority of state legislators support the work of pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes, but legislation to assist these agencies is being blocked by opponents. The stymied legislation, which is included in a number of pending bills, would reauthorize the tax credits now available when people donate to pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes. The credits allow the agencies to raise more funds, thereby serving more women facing crisis pregnancies. Please read this MCC Alert and send the pre-composed message to your state senator and state representative immediately!

House Passes Minimum Sentencing Bill

This week the House of Representatives passed HB 1739 by a vote of 148-0. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Cody Smith (R-Carthage), would allow a judge to depart from minimum sentencing requirements for offenders if they met certain criteria. It is unusual for a bill about criminal justice reform to receive unanimous support from a legislative body. This bill is seen as way to help alleviate the overcrowding in Missouri’s prisons. If the upward trend does not reverse, Missouri will face the construction of two new prisons in 2020. The bill was sent to the Senate for further consideration.

“Raise the Age” Moves Forward

This week, the House Rules Committee voted out SB 793, sponsored by Sen. Wayne Wallingford (R-Cape Girardeau). Known as “Raise the Age”, the bill would raise juvenile certification from 17 to 18 years old. The search for funds to pay for the extra juvenile services needed to treat 17-year-olds had previously held up the bill. Now the bill includes funding mechanisms such a $3.50 surcharge on civil court filings and a $2.00 surcharge on traffic violations. Missouri is one of five states that still treats 17-year-olds as adults under the law. The bill now goes on the House calendar for debate.

President Pro-tem Ron Richard’s Farewell Address

President Pro-tem of the Missouri Senate, Senator Ron Richard (R-Joplin), is serving his final weeks in the Missouri General Assembly. He has been a State Representative, the Speaker of the Missouri House and has served as the President Pro-tem in the Senate, directing much of the business of the upper legislative chamber. This week, he gave his farewell address and it is worth reading. Click Senate Journal; the speech begins on the bottom of page 1112.