JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are considering an overhaul of the state's criminal laws this year that would include the creation of new felony and misdemeanor classes.
But within the 1,100-page bill is a more substantive change in the state's drug policy.
The Senate measure, endorsed by a committee this week, would reduce the penalties for first-time marijuana possession offenders. Instead of facing a year in jail and a $1,000 fine, offenders would only be subject to a maximum $500 fine. The bill would also reduce the maximum prison sentence for other drug possession charges.
Similar House legislation, however, would leave the penalties the same as current law. Its sponsor says the criminal code overhaul should be separate from changing Missouri's drug policy.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - With time running out on the legislative session, The Missouri Bar and state lawmakers are acknowledging that an overhaul of the state's criminal laws won't cross the finish line.
But that group pledged on Wednesday to push for the criminal code revision next year when lawmakers have more time.
The measure is the product of a Missouri Bar committee charged with updating the criminal code for the first time since 1979. It would create new classes of felonies and misdemeanors and give judges more flexibility in sentencing.
Democratic Sen. Jolie Justus, of Kansas City, is one of the overhaul's sponsors. She says time ran out to pass the 1,000-page bill this year.
Missouri lawmakers end their annual session at 6 p.m. Friday.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House has given preliminary approval to the first overhaul of the state's criminal code since 1979.
The measure endorsed on Monday would create new classes of felonies and misdemeanors and give judges more flexibility in sentencing.
Sponsoring Republican Rep. Stanley Cox, of Sedalia, said the measure would provide more clarity in sentencing.
Democratic Rep. Rory Ellinger, of St. Louis, said the bill could have done more and reduced sentences for some crimes, But he said it was important to keep the measure non-controversial so it could pass.
The overhaul would also increase fines to reflect inflation. It needs one more vote before moving to the Senate.