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Wiemann: Witness protection a priority for special session

Missouri’s witness protection fund will be a priority of the upcoming special session, according to House Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann

“The governor did put a call out and tried to make it extremely narrow as far as what he wanted to address,” Wiemann said. “Basically violent crime issues that we didn’t get to deal with during regular session thus year because of COVID and the shortened session. I think his plan is for us to go back and try to address some issues that he thinks will be helpful with addressing violent crime in Missouri, specifically in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas. One issue that comes to mind off the top of my head is witness protection.”

Wiemann appeared on Sunday’s episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” along with Democratic attorney general candidate Elad Gross and Democratic consultant Taylor Jackson. The panel discussed the upcoming special session on violent crime and the provisions and priorities that will be addressed.

“Witness protection I think is extremely important, we need to fund that,” Gross said. “We also need to have a plan in place to make sure the program works. For so many folks I’ve worked with, especially in north St. Louis City, if folks don’t think they’re protected they won’t come forward.” 

Gross said he hoped for more attention to be paid to the overall program and contended the General Assembly would also take a look at the causes of violent crime in large cities.

“There’s a lot of root causes of crime,” Jackson said. “People don’t have educational opportunities, we’re seeing housing issues, people don’t have places to live; I would be interested in seeing [Gov. Mike] Parson address some of those issues as we come toward the election.”

“I think [voters] want to see a more comprehensive plan moving forward,” she said.

The panel also discussed the McCloskey couple in St. Louis, the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, predictions for the upcoming elections, and the Medicaid expansion ballot initiative. 

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

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