Child marriages ban among dozens of new laws now in effect
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Dozens of new Missouri laws take effect Tuesday, including a ban on anyone under 16 years old from getting married and new requirements for sexual education classes in the state.
Here's a rundown of new legislation now on the books:
Watercraft drivers now face lower fines of $25 for speeding in no-wake zones and life-jacket violations under a new Missouri law. Previously, those violations could lead to $137 fines, but lawmakers argued law enforcement rarely issued fines because they were so high. HB 2116
Lawmakers this year expanded an address confidentiality program . The program now covers all crime victims who fear for their safety, not just those subjected to domestic violence, stalking, human trafficking and rape. It allows participants to route mail through a state-run post office box and use a substitute address on public records in order to hide their addresses from their abusers. HB 1461
A new law allows an industrial hemp pilot project in the state. Hemp can be used as a raw material in manufacturing and comes from the same plant as marijuana but contains very low levels of a psychoactive chemical. HB 2034
Anyone younger than 16 no longer can be married in Missouri. The statute requires 16- and 17-year-olds to have a parent's permission to be married, bars anyone 21 or older from marrying anyone under 18 and removes the statute of limitations for sex crimes against children. Children ages 15-17 previously could marry with a parent's permission, and those younger than 15 needed approval from a judge. SB 655
Victims of sex trafficking who have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to prostitution can now apply to have their records expunged, and victims of trafficking under age 18 can use coercion as a defense in court if they are charged with prostitution. The new law also raises penalties for promoting or patronizing minors under age 18 for sex work. SB 793 Another new law requires nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to report suspected sexual assaults of residents to law enforcement. HB 1635
Schools that teach sex education now are required to include information about sexual violence, harassment and consent. HB 1606
LAWS FACING LAWSUITS
At least two new laws face court challenges: a law restricting the use of meat terminology on food packages and a law enacting new rules on public unions.
Unions representing teachers and other public employees sued on Monday to try to block a new Missouri law requiring most public sector unions to hold recertification votes to continue their representation, limit the topics on which they can bargain, and require annual employee permission to deduct dues from paychecks and spend money on political causes. HB 1413