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Columbia mayor, governor talk road projects, crime

Columbia Mayor Brian Treece and Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said partnerships between the two government entities are important to making things better.

The two spoke to reporters following a 30-minute closed-door meeting. The two said they discussed job expansion, road projects and local crime in that time.

Parson highlighted the importance of the two working together on these issues. The city has applied for part of the state’s Transportation Cost Share program to expand Discovery Parkway north to Rolling Hills Road. The project, according to city leaders, will help stimulate the University of Missouri’s Discovery Ridge research park and create a new connection between Interstate 70 and Highway 63.

State legislators committed $50 million to the program, but Parson said financial commitments local governments have made for their projects have increased it to $240 million.

“Those are projects all around the state of Missouri, and Columbia will get their fair share of that,” Parson said. “That’s exactly what those cost-share programs are meant to do, is help those cities and the counties on the local level that we can partner with them on the state.”

The city hopes the state will fund half of the $5.8 million project. The city will need permission from MU to build the road, which is expected to cut through the South Farm property.

The pair also said they discussed crime, a topic Parson has met with city leaders on the last several months. Treece said state lawmakers may consider making it harder for people convicted of certain crimes to possess weapons. State law prohibits people convicted of a felony from having a gun, but Treece said it could be expanded to include some misdemeanors.

“Nobody wants to take guns away from law-abiding citizens, but I think my core responsibility is to keep my community safe,” Treece said. “I think we need to talk about some kind of statutory fix that gives prosecutors the discretion that they need when they plead down these cases to prohibit carrying a gun.”

Boone County Prosecutor Dan Knight told ABC 17 News he would support an expansion of the state’s unlawful possession of a firearm law to include people convicted of domestic violence, which can be a misdemeanor in some cases. That expansion would mirror federal law.

A judge can prohibit someone from possessing a firearm as a condition of probation in misdemeanor cases, as well.


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