Mo. Senate Busy Before Spring Break

| March 14, 2014
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Missouri senators began debate on a major piece of legislation this week. Senate Minority Floor Leader Jolie Justus of Kansas City sponsors Senate Bill 491, which would modify provisions relating to criminal law. She tells her colleagues rewriting Missouri’s Criminal Code has been in the works for many years.

“This is the first, large-scale revision of Missouri’s criminal code since 1979. As you know, since that time, we’ve passed hundreds of new crimes and penalties. Thirty-five years of legislation and court decisions have resulted in an unwieldy, confusing code that is not user-friendly.”

During debate, Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey of St. Charles talks about some of the work it has taken just to get to this point…

“There’re a lot of people who spent an awful lot of time on this. So, it’s very logical — to me — there comes a time and a place where you should be able to take a subject matter this big and be able to revise it. I think we can deal with an 1,100-page bill, if we take the time to do it.”

Debate on Senate Bill 491 is likely to continue as the session progresses.

Senator Kurt Schaefer of Columbia talks about certain provisions within Senate Bill 589, a measure that would modify provisions of law relating to civil actions for damages…

“But, what I don’t see in the language in here is anything that appears to be really representing the insured of Missouri — which are not only doctors and nurses and health care professionals — but anybody who has an auto policy, anybody who has a homeowners’ policy, any business that has environmental coverage. Because, they are all affected by this language.”

Senator Scott Sifton of Affton speaks on the differences between the original bill and the current substitute bill offered on the floor…

“We have started with the concept in your original bill of addressing medical malpractice caps, and we have injected the topics of joint and several liability, and reservation of rights for insurers — in actions that, you know, might include medical malpractice actions — but really would apply to any of common law/tort action for which those issues would be relevant.”

Senate Bill 589 has been set aside for further discussion.

Next up for lawmakers will be their annual mid-session recess, a week given to be back in their districts and meet with constituents before returning to Jefferson City to finish the legislative session, which will conclude on May 16.

Story Courtesy of Dean Morgan

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