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Concurrent jurisdiction could derail special session, Democratic senator warns

  

Democratic state Sen. Karla May says she would fight against a possible provision that would give the attorney general authority over the case if it were proposed during special session.

At the start of special session Monday — which was called to address violent crime in Missouri — Republican Sen. Andrew Koenig introduced a bill to establish concurrent jurisdiction provision, giving the attorney general the authority to hear and make decisions on homicides in St. Louis. 

“That bill will not go anywhere if I have anything to do with it,” May said. “People have elected their prosecutor, all across the state. They have elected the person that they want to serve as their circuit attorney. We have an election coming up Aug. 4; the people have an opportunity to unelect or re-elect the person that has been elected for that office. You cannot silence the voice of the people, and that’s where we get it all confused. The attorney general, if he wanted to be prosecutor, he should have moved to the city of St. Louis and ran for the office.”

May appeared on Sunday’s episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” to discuss the special session and issues that have led to high murder rates in St. Louis this year. 

“I do agree that we need to do some criminal justice reform,” May said. “But to try to do it in this window, to me, wouldn’t be productive, because you have this window right before primary elections, everybody is in the middle of an election, and I think that we haven’t had time to process what is the right criminal justice reform, you know, what can we do. And I think that we can work on that in the interim and I think we can pick it up in January.”

May said the focus on crime is too narrow, and St. Louis has not spent enough on economic development or poverty prevention over a 30-year period. 

“You got to look at the history of St. Louis city and the violent crime, and people act like they want to compact it over these four years,” May said. “The violent crime has perpetuated over a period of time, but you have to look at the reasons why that crime has begun.”    

May also discussed the governor’s COVID-19 response and the reopening of schools in the fall. 

Elections

This week’s panel was made up of former state Sen. Jim Lembke and political consultant David Barklage. The panel debated the upcoming primary elections, particularly in tight races such as the contest between state Reps. Kathy Swan and Holly Rehder for SD 27 and the race between state Rep. Elaine Gannon, Kent Scism, and Josh Barrett in SD 3 

Watch the full episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” below.

Kaitlyn Schallhorn contributed to this report. This story has been updated.


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