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.