Schmitt pushes for tougher laws on carjacking and the removal of residency requirements
Schmitt, up for a full term in 2020, unveiled his two main legislative priorities at an event in St. Louis Tuesday flanked by legislators and law enforcement officials. Of the two efforts, one was introduced during last year’s session but was unsuccessful; the other proposal is St. Louis-centric.
Although these are Schmitt’s two main priorities for the upcoming session, there’s always the possibility he could advocate for additional efforts, should an issue arise, a spokesperson told The Missouri Times.
Here’s a look at what the attorney general proposed.
Creation of carjacking offense
Schmitt called for a statewide, uniform offense for vehicle hijacking — making the crime a class B felony with the possibility for an increase to a class A offense if a “special victim” (a minor or a person with special needs) or a deadly or dangerous weapon was involved.
The former would result in a minimum of five years in jail; the latter would carry the weight of 10 years to life in prison, a spokesperson said.
Now, individuals could be charged with first or second-degree robbery or stealing — which results in varying sentences.
Republican Sen. Bob Onder and GOP Rep. David Gregory plan to pre-file legislation for the upcoming session. The pair had pushed a similar effort in the General Assembly last year, but it was unsuccessful.
A uniform charge would make it easier to track carjacking statistics throughout Missouri and bring “clarity and simplicity to charging and sentencing,” Schmitt said.
“For those who feel emboldened to take another’s property, to commit a violent act against another one of our citizens, we must send a clear message: You will be prosecuted and will go to jail for 10 years or more,” Schmitt said.
“Crime has skyrocketed in the city of St. Louis, and one of the most vicious crimes is carjacking,” Onder said. “It is imperative that we take action to protect law-abiding citizens and bring these criminals to justice.”
Residency requirements for St. Louis officers
Additionally, Schmitt is pushing for the removal of residency requirements for police officers in the city of St. Louis as a way to ramp up recruiting. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, which mandates its officers live within city limits, has said it was down more than 120 officers this year.
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and SLMPD Chief John Hayden Jr. both supported the removal of the residency requirements in statements Tuesday.
Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz and Republican Rep. Derek Grier have committed to introducing legislation to eliminate the requirement.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn is the editor of The Missouri Times. She joined the newspaper in early 2019 after working as a reporter for Fox News in New York City.
Throughout her career, Kaitlyn has covered political campaigns across the U.S., including the 2016 presidential election, and humanitarian aid efforts in Africa and the Middle East.
She is a native of Missouri who studied journalism at Winthrop University in South Carolina. She is also an alumna of the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C.
Contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.