Missouri Backs Tougher Domestic Violence Laws

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JEFFERSON CITY (AP) - Legislation overhauling Missouri's domestic violence laws for the first time since the 1970s has won unanimous approval in the state Senate.  Thursday's vote was 33-0. The bill now goes to the House. 

Among other things, the wide-ranging measure would require that state prosecutors rather than local authorities handle cases involving repeat domestic violence offenders.  It would also exempt victims from paying filing fees when they ask a court to enforce a protection order.

Several of its provisions were recommended earlier this year by  a state domestic violence task force. The Senate sponsor, Republican John Lamping, of Ladue, says the changes will help law enforcement officials keep women and families safer.