Our Missouri state legislators are already working hard in the brand new 2021 legislative session. One bill currently under consideration is Senate Bill 66. Overseeing this bill in the Missouri State Senate is the Committee on the Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence (CJCCJ). This Committee is tasked with all things relating to the judicial department of the state. This includes our courts, civil procedures and criminal laws, criminal costs and all related matters. In addition, this Committee’s work covers the arena of probation or parole.
In other words, this is one powerful committee, and its decisions could impact every Missourian.
Senate Bill 66
One particularly controversial bill under consideration by the CJCCJ is Senate Bill 66, sponsored by Republican Sen. Rick Brattin from Harrisonville in SD 31. At first glance, the proposed legislation seems harmless:
Modifies provisions relating to public safety and unlawful assemblies
Who wouldn’t want public safety? Who wants unlawful assembly? This sounds like something most Missourians would want to get on board with.
But when we dig a little deeper in SB66, we see it has some very troubling elements. For example:
USE OF FORCE DURING PROTESTS (Section 563.031)
This act provides that a person may use deadly force against another person if such force is used against a person who is participating in an unlawful assembly and unlawfully enters or attempts to enter private property that is owned or leased by an individual.
It seems to suggest that the threshold for fear of one’s life wouldn’t need to be met before killing another person. Someone would just have to enter or attempt to enter your property, and you could legally kill them.
This seems similar to an event in St. Louis involving homeowners pointing guns at Black Lives Matter protestors that took place last year. Thankfully, no triggers were pulled that day, but if SB66 passes, ending the lives of protestors would be perfectly legal.
HARASSMENT (Section 565.091)
This act provides that a person commits the offense of harassment in the second degree if he or she engages in any act with the purpose to cause emotional distress to another person, including if such person causes emotional distress to another person while participating in an unlawful assembly.
This section of SB66 makes a person’s head spin. If interpreted correctly, Jimmy Jack could be charged with harassment if he tried to cause “emotional distress” to Bob Buttons, even if Bob Buttons was causing “emotional distress” to Willie the Worm while Willie participates in some type of unlawful assembly. That’s just crazy on so many levels.
Scheduled Hearing: January 25
SB66 is moving quickly through the Committee on the Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence. It’s already been read through a second time and a hearing is scheduled for January 25. That’s moving awfully fast, considering the new legislative session just began.
Want to Make Your Voice Heard about Senate Bill 66?
Call or Email Committee Members
- Sen. Tony Leutkemeyer (Buchanan and Platte Counties)
- 573-751-2183 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Sen.Bob Onder (St. Charles County)
- 573-751-1282 (email@example.com)
- Sen. Bill White (Dade, Jasper, and Newtown Counties)
- 573-751-2173 (Bill.White@senate.mo.gov)
- Sen.Holly Rehder (Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Madison, Perry, Scott, and Wayne Counties)
- 573-751-2459 (Holly.Rehder@senate.mo.gov)
- Sen. Karla May (District 4-Parts of St. Louis City and St. Louis County)
- 573-751-3599 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Sen. Steve Roberts (District 5-Part of St. Louis City)
- 573-751-4415 (Steve.Roberts@senate.mo.gov)
OneMissouri is committed to research, education, advocacy, and policy development on behalf of all Missourians.
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash
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