On Tuesday, Governor Nixon allowed a new criminal code bill to become law without his signature.
Nixon said drafting errors on the revised criminal code need to be fixed before it passes. He said he shares the same concerns raised by law enforcement and victims’ advocates regarding the errors.
Representative Chris Kelly said when there is a major revision of an entire code there will be mistakes.
He said the re-drafting has been in the works for 8 years.
Kelly said although the Governor said these mistakes will cause problems, they are actually very minor.
The criminal code is the guidebook for how criminals are penalized for their crimes.
“It’s more, much more of a comma in the wrong place or where the numbers don’t line up than anything serious. He’s letting it go into law. The fact is we have the votes to override it,” said Kelly.
Kelly said the Missouri Bar as well as prosecutors have been asking for legislation for years to make changes to the code.
Mothers Against Drunk Drivers wrote a letter to Nixon saying they feel the drafting could make it harder to bring drunk drivers to justice.
“Here’s the problem. You’re working on this for 3 years and don’t hear a peep from them. We’ve been doing this for three years and he’s been doing it for three weeks. We’ve asked him for years to get involved and we haven’t seen that.”
Sheriff Greg White said he thinks this is a fine example of bipartisan work and an example of how the legislature can fix current problems in the criminal code.
He said it will be good to have 2 years to sift through potential changes before the law is implemented.
Some of the possible changes include less prison time for non-violent drug offenders, along with harsher punishments for things like sexual assaults and DWIs.