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House progresses legislation restructuring Capitol Police

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Representatives on the House floor perfected legislation that would restructure the Capitol Police Tuesday morning.

HB 1521, sponsored by GOP Rep. Ron Hicks, would create a Capitol Police Board. This board would be a committee consisting of the governor, Speaker of the House, President Pro Tem of the Senate, chief justice of the state Supreme Court, and chair of the State Capital Commission. 

Currently, the Capitol Police is under the Department of Public Safety. The new proposal would allow the board to hire a police chief and dictate the rules and regulations of the operation — making it its own commission rather than part of the larger department. The board’s administrative operations would be handled by the state House. 

Among the subjects of discussion on the bill was a proposed amendment by Rep. Wiley Price that would add the minority leaders of both the House and Senate, upping the committee to seven members. Another amendment from Rep. Shane Roden would put the attorney general in the position as head of the Capitol Police as well as all law enforcement in the state. 

Neither proposal made it onto the perfected version of the bill. 

The base concept of the bill has come up in past sessions. Last year, HB 982, also sponsored by Hicks, made it far enough to be second read by the Senate. This version had the Capitol Police under the Missouri State Capitol Commission rather than a board but was otherwise similar in language.