JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. ( -- Governor Mike Parson's special session addressing violent crime in the State of Missouri began Monday.

The number of homicides in St. Louis this year now stands at 146, which compares to around 110 at this time last year. The rise in violent crime in St. Louis and Kansas City prompted Governor Parson to call a special session.

The session focuses on key issues like child welfare, unlawful transfer of weapons, and lifting the residency requirement in the City of St. Louis.

"The number of homicides we're seeing is devastating and unacceptable. Innocent lives are being lost, futures cut short and families are hurting," Governor Parson said.
From May to June, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has seen a significant increase in violent crime. In St. Louis County, aggravated assaults with a firearm are up 19 percent.

The senate met for about 45 minutes and heard bills introduced to officially submit the six issues the governor wants that he thinks can have an impact on crime and locking up criminals. 

The police residency requirement in St. Louis is one of six issues he wants lawmakers to take up, but some senators believe his list is incomplete without taking up police accountability also.
"As the only black man in the Missouri Senate this is personal for me. I have a direct connection to systemic racism. You can't fully tackle violent crime without tackling police accountability to improve the trust in police and cooperation from witnesses. Urging the governor to add his bill," said Sen. Brian Williams (D), St. Louis County.
"The ideal is to give prosecutors in these areas, more tools so they can help lock up the bad guys, get them off the streets, and hopefully make our cities safer," said Senator Karla May (D), of St. Louis.

May added," We definitely have to do something about criminal justice reform but I do think we could have waited till January because it needs to be something that is more thought out and comprehensive."
"We are looking to strike back against violent crime to do a number of things to contain the violent crime epidemic," Sen. Bob Onder (R), of St. Charles County.
The governor turned down a request last year for a special session on crime but decided to call one this year, during an election year.

News 4 asked a Republican senator from Jefferson County about the optics of that.
"I could see how people might think that, but if you look at the raw numbers and you look at what's going on, this year has been a lot worse in terms of the damage to our citizens than last summer was. So, like anything it got to a boiling point and this year I think the governor thought it's boiling over now, we need to address it," said Sen. Paul Wieland (R), Jefferson County.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved


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