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Missouri special session on violence not expected to address policy issues

Topics will relate to violent crime in state
Posted at 4:43 PM, Jul 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-20 17:43:46-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Policy issues will not be discussed during a Missouri special legislative session, according to Gov. Mike Parson.

After meeting with elected officials and law enforcement in Kansas City, Missouri, on Monday, Parson said the Second Amendment and police policy are not items that can be tackled in a “short period of time.” Those issues, he said, would be “taken up” in general session.

"Those are major things, major changes, you're making,” Parson said. “I don't think you're going to see that happen in special sessions, one because I think there needs to be public hearings. I think there needs to be public input, to be able to talk about those issues and go through the process and I think that's exactly why the legislative process works so good. So right now, this special session is about homicides. It’s about violent crime.”

Kansas City, Missouri, Police Chief Rick Smith said another homicide occurred in the city ahead of the Monday meeting about violent crime, and action must be taken.

“There's a sense of urgency right now,” Smith said, “and I hope that we as a state in Missouri can capitalize on that and bring safety to our communities, Kansas City included.”

Parson also discussed Operation LeGend, in which federal agents are assisting KCPD with unsolved violent crimes. The endeavor is named after 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed last month.

“I'm fine with whatever help I can get to protect a child's life,” Parson said, “so is the value of something like that worth more than a child's life? So, anytime we can get that here, I think, at the end of the day, that's the most important thing we could think of.”

The session is expected to cover the following topics:

  • Residency requirements for officers in St. Louis.
  • Juvenile certification.
  • A witness protection plan.
  • Endangering the welfare of a child for those who encourage children to “engage in a weapons offense.”
  • Increasing the penalty for unlawful transfer of weapons to a child less than 18 years old from a misdemeanor to a felony.

Funding will be addressed by the legislature in the next budget, according to Parson.

Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas had urged Parson to call a special session to discuss violence throughout the state.