Five of the six bills that made it out of rules committees early last week were perfected, albeit with no mention of the HB 12 on the floor. The contentious bill, sponsored by Rep. Nick Schroer, would allow a court to order a hearing for children from the ages of 16 to 18 to be certified as adults.
Schroer’s other bills, HBs 11 and 16, made it through as drafted. HB 11 would elevate the crime of endangering the welfare of a child from a misdemeanor to a first-degree felony. The bill was perfected as drafted despite debate over an amendment proposed by Rep. Peter Merideth to ensure that minors could not be convicted of the charge.
Other bills, including the unlawful transfer of a weapon to a minor (HB 16), creation of a witness protection fund (HB 66), and ending residency requirements for safety officials in St. Louis (HB 46) were perfected without amendments attached. However, Rep. Cody Smith, the House Budget chairman, warned another special session would be needed to address the funding of the witness protection fund should it be fully OK’d.
Just passed the bill to establish a witness protection fund. The bill sponsor acknowledged the bill does literally nothing until we pass a corresponding appropriation to fund it. This is arguably one of the more impactful bills on crime in this emergency special session on crime.
— Peter Merideth (@PeterforMO) August 24, 2020
HB 2, sponsored by Rep. Barry Hovis, covered witness tampering and intimidation: An otherwise inadmissible witness statement could be used if the court finds evidence that the defendant attempted to prevent the witness from testifying and the witness failed to appear despite requests from the court. The bill was perfected with one amendment added by the handler to clarify the language.
The five bills plus HB 12 make up the original call issued by Gov. Mike Parson for the special session. Parson ultimately expanded the call to include concurrent jurisdiction, but no bills on the subject have been assigned to a committee and the issue wasn’t addressed on the floor Monday.
The five bills to be brought up for a third read Tuesday are the remainder of SB 1, which caused contention in the Senate and was split into individual bills in the lower chamber.