JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Gov. Mike Parson signed a package of police and criminal justice reform bills into law Wednesday. The bills, championed by state senators Tony Luetkemeyer (R-Buchanan) and Brian Williams (D-St. Louis), go into effect on Aug. 28.
The package includes an array of new policies, some of which restrict police departments while others protect them.
Some of the new policies included in these laws are:
- Respiratory chokeholds are prohibited unless deadly force is authorized
- Feminine hygiene products are to be provided to female inmates
- Stress management programs for police officers are to be implemented
- Increased punishment for police officers who have sexual relations with inmates
- Raise the Age, which will allow 17-year-olds to be treated as children instead of adults in the criminal justice system
- Requires law enforcement agencies to collect and report use-of-force data
- Allows the sealing of arrest records regardless of a person's previous criminal history
- Prohibits posting a police officer's personal information online with the intent of intimidating them
"We were able to come together, Democrats and Republicans, to make some meaningful reforms that were going to ultimately I think improved community police relations," Luetkemeyer said.
The new laws prohibit police from using a respiratory chokehold unless deadly force is authorized by the circumstances. Williams, who is from Ferguson, pushed for a ban of chokeholds after the death of George Floyd.
“I know that George Floyd could have easily been me or any of the countless Black men and women who live in our state,” Williams said. “Without a doubt, this new law will save Black lives and make Missouri’s streets safer for everyone.”
Carl Filler, a policy analyst with the Justice Action Network, said these new laws are common-sense reform, which is why both political parties were on board.
"The strength of this bill, and why I think we were so impressed with what Missouri did here, was that (legislators) were able to bring everyone to the table and agree on a common set of principles around fairness and quality," Filler said.
Check back here and watch ABC 17 News at 6 for more on this developing story.