Gov. Nixon signs new legislation, including update to use-of-force
JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Jay Nixon Wednesday signed legislation updating Missouri laws, including use-of-force statutes, ticketing quotas, and the closing of criminal records for rehabilitated former offenders.
Under House Bill 2332, in accordance with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Tennessee v. Garner, Gov. Nixon called for the change of use-of-force statues starting in his 2015 and 2016 State of the State addresses.
“I thank the General Assembly for making this long-overdue change,” Gov. Nixon said after signing.
“These are life-and-death decisions, and it is vital that Missouri statutes governing the use of force are clear and consistent with U.S. Supreme Court precedent.”
Under the legislation, the amount of physical force that a police officer may use must be objectively reasonable in light of the totality of the particular facts and circumstances confronting the officer on the scene.
For former offenders who have completed their sentencing, Senate Bill 588 will make it easier for them to close their criminal records to the public. Nixon's hope is that it will make it easier for those with a criminal past to obtain employment after paying restitution.
“Missourians who have paid their debt to society and become law-abiding citizens deserve a chance to get a job and support their families,” Gov. Nixon said.
The records would now become closed to the public, instead of destroyed. They would still be accessible to law enforcement agencies and employers, who are legally entitled to that information.
“This bill represents a reasonable, balanced approach," said Nixon, "and I’m pleased to sign it into law today.”
The Governor also signed:
- House Bill 1765, which changes provisions related to judicial proceedings including updating and streamlining Missouri’s receivership laws;
- Senate Bill 578, relating to judicial proceedings;
- Senate Bill 590, which updates Missouri’s laws to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Miller v. Alabama, which held that juveniles convicted of a homicide offense could not be sentenced to life without parole absent consideration and assessment of the circumstances of the particular case;
- Senate Bill 735, which extends the expiration dates of the Statewide Court Automation Fund and the Basic Civil Services Fund and addresses several issues related to the State Public Defender’s Office; and
- Senate Bill 765, which prohibits any political subdivision or law enforcement agency from having a policy, whether written or unwritten, requiring or encouraging an employee to issue a certain number of traffic citations.
KOMU 8 reached out to Missouri Senate -- Majority Causus and had not recieved comment from the Republican majority at the time of publication.