Missouri's New Laws
Written by Anthony Allen
The Missouri Senate passed new laws including changes to police conduct, crimes involving vandalization, and current COVID-19 laws in place. The laws were passed this summer and went into effect Saturday, August 28th 2021. Some of the laws were controversial and had push-back against them while others had general support from the public. Most of the laws stem from the 2020 summer and the Black Lives Matter protests that took place.
New laws on the books regarding our legal system in Missouri include a ban on chokehold and/or neck restraints that Officer Derek Chauvin used in the death of George Floyd. Police and prison guards can no longer have sexual intercourse with detainees after news came out of officers of the law abusing their powers. The state also passed new protections from cities and other local governments that ban decreasing the budget of policing by more than 12% over a five-year period. More protections for the police include internal investigations of an officer must be kept secret unless subpoenaed or a court order. Vandalization of a public monument or structure on public property has been upgraded from a misdemeanor to a felony and impeding local traffic, mostly referring to emergency vehicles, while protesting is now a D class misdemeanor. Most, if not all, of these laws all stem from this past year’s summer and the racial injustice protests that occured.
Laws dealing with COVID-19 include resturants now allowed to continue the practice of to-go alcoholic drinks. This law stemmed from local bars and restaurants having to move from in-person dining to pick up and delivery only when the pandemic started. These drinks must be sold with a meal. This law struck discourse with groups against drinking and driving including M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). An amendment was added that these drinks should be put in sealed containers and cannot be opened until the customer is home. Another law involving the disease includes lawsuits against business and healthcare providers to shield them from false allegations that their practices engaged in spreading the coronavirus. Plaintiffs must prove first that the people and locations actively sought out to spread the disease.
Finally, other new laws include the state’s first gas tax increase in decades. A new tax of 2.5 cents per a gallon will be added and the rate will keep going up until Missouri has a 17 cent tax increase on gas inorder to raise new revenue for the roads and bridges in need of repair. Public colleges and universities in Missouri no longer will be limited on their tuition rates as long as it matches the current inflation rate. College athletes are now able to make money off their fame and celebrity, including endorsements from companies. The NCAA already lifted their ban on this issue so the state followed with theirs. One of the last laws included is a ban on state and local law enforcement officers in enforcing federal gun control laws and COVID-19 health orders. This last law was the most controversial law passed with mixed opinions from citizens of Missouri. These laws stem from the republican controlled senate, backed by Senator Josh Hawley, to move Missouri towards more State’s rights issues and how much control the federal government should have over a state’s population. These laws are all in effect.