In this 2019 photo, State Rep. Steven Roberts, D-St. Louis, shared news of the successful passage of a criminal justice reform bill. Several criminal justice reform measurers have been introduced for this year's session.

The 2022 Missouri legislative session began on Jan. 5. Here’s a look at some of the pre-filed bills senators and representatives are hoping to pass this year that may be of particular interest to our readers:

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

One Missouri legislator pre-filed bills that would help those who have been wrongly convicted. State Rep. Mark Sharp (D-Kansas City) pre-filed a bill (HB 1569) that would allow any individual found guilty of a felony in Missouri and later determined to be innocent as a result of any evidentiary method to be paid restitution. This bill allows $100 per day restitution for each day of incarceration.

Under current law, only individuals who are exonerated based on DNA evidence may receive wrongful conviction restitution from the state. We saw this with wrongly convicted Kevin Strickland, who was released last November but could not be compensated by the state.

Rep. Kimberly Ann Collins (D-St. Louis) pre-filed a bill that would change minimum prison terms. Currently, state law establishes mandatory minimum prison terms and requires a person convicted of a dangerous felony to serve at least 85% of their sentence. Collins’ bill would change the minimum to 66% of the sentence if the individual does not have a previous prison commitment. If the offender has one or more previous commitments, they must serve at least 85% of the sentence imposed.

Rep. Yolanda Young (D-Kansas City) pre-filed a bill (HB 2021) that would require the courts to explain the consequences of pleading guilty before a plea may be accepted.

LAW ENFORCEMENT

Rep. LaKeySha Bosley (D-St. Louis) pre-filed a bill that would require the Attorney General to create a law enforcement officer misconduct database containing names of law enforcement officers who have committed violent acts.

EDUCATION

Sen. Barbara Anne Washington (D-Kansas City) pre-filed SB 718 to designate the third week of September as “Historically Black College and University Week” in Missouri.

Rep. Ian Mackey (D-St. Louis) pre-filed a bill (HB 1899) that would prohibit schools from suspending students in preschool to third grade. The bill also requires school districts and charter schools to document school suspensions and report them to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education annually. It also requires school boards to consider reasonable alternative measures to suspension.

Mackey also pre-filed a bill (HB 1939) to require public and charter schools to offer breakfast after the bell if 70% or more of the school’s students are eligible for free or reduced meals. The bill specifies that schools can decide a model that best suits their students, including breakfast in the classroom or breakfast after the first period.

Rep. Alan Gray (D-St. Louis) pre-filed a bill that would allow school districts to offer instruction on the criminal justice system in grades seven to 12. Emphasis will be on how the system works and career opportunities in law enforcement. Input may be sought from local law enforcement organizations.

URBAN FARMS

Sharp pre-filed a bill (HB 1570) that would allow a tax credit for urban farms located in food deserts.

HOUSING

Washington pre-filed a bill (SB 719) that would create a $5,000 tax credit for a first-time home buyer who purchases an eligible blighted property.

Collins pre-filed a bill (HB 1920) that would create civil rights for homeless people. This bill specifies that a person’s rights, privileges or access to public services may not be denied because someone is homeless. The bill also specifies that a person experiencing homelessness has the right to move freely in public spaces, to camp in outdoor public spaces, to equal treatment by city and state agencies, to emergency medical care, to a reasonable expectation of privacy for personal property and the right to vote.

MARIJUANA

Washington pre-filed a bill (SB 793) that would expunge marijuana offenses if the person has been convicted after Dec. 31, 1997, and before Aug. 28, 2022, of marijuana possession of 35 grams or less.

Mackey pre-filed a bill (HB 1867) that would prevent an officer’s probable cause to conduct a warrantless search of a motor vehicle, home or other private property as a result of the odor of marijuana.

SALES TAX EXEMPTION

Sharp pre-filed a bill that would authorize a sales tax exemption for diapers.

Washington pre-filed a bill that would create a sales tax exemption for feminine hygiene products.

Jazzlyn Johnson

Jazzlyn "Jazzie” is the former senior reporter for our team, who joined the company in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, through the Report for America service program. For the past two years, she covered...

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