Civil and Criminal Proceedings Committee has been considering House Bill 2084-First Degree Murder. This bill repeals the mandatory life sentences for offenders who were under the age of 18 at the time they committed first degree murder without eligibility for probation, parole, or conditional release. If this bill passes it will change the sentencing to:
· 16 years of age or older at the time of the crime may be sentenced to either life imprisonment without parole or imprisonment for at least 40 years
· Under 16 years of age may be sentenced to imprisonment for at least 30 years or life without parole
Anyone under 18 years of age whose case is not final for purposes of appeal, may file an appeal ask for a review of the person’s sentence within six months of the effective date of the act.
This issue has been brought because mandatory life sentences for juveniles have been found to be unconstitutional in the United States Supreme Court case Miller v Alabama and most recently Montgomery v Louisiana. In these Supreme Court cases it was ruled that for juveniles convicted of first degree murder 1) mandatory life without parole is unconstitutional , 2) there must be an alternative sentencing option for the jury to consider, and 3) in very rare and egregious cases it is not unconstitutional for a sentence of life without parole to be rendered.
Representative White supports HB 2084 because it best reflects the decision of the Supreme Court in Miller v Alabama in 2012 and Montgomery v Louisiana in January. Representative White has been discussing this legislation with the bill sponsor, and is considering the possibility of adding an amendment that will create an automatic review by an appellate court as in adult death sentence to conform to the US Supreme Court opinions. Representative White would also consider reducing the 30 year minimum before an option for parole is available for those under 16 years of age to 25 years .
Even if this bill does not pass, all of the 84 persons convicted of first degree murder while a juvenile and serving life without parole will either be granted a parole hearing or be resentenced to comply with the Court’s rulings.
The House has continued with ethics reform. Representative White helped pass HB 2166 to alleviate the undue influence of lobbyists in Jefferson City by banning gifts and meals provided by lobbyists to elected officials; HB 2203 to limit how long campaign funds can be invested and how they can be used; and HB 2226 to prohibit task force and commission appointees from profiting from the recommendations they make. All three bills now head to the Missouri Senate for discussion.
These bills join four pieces of legislation already moving through the Senate. HB 1452 would require elected officials to file a personal financial disclosure twice each year. Current law requires only a single disclosure each year. HB 1575 would require elected officials to report lodging and travel expenses in a timely fashion. The bill requires the expenses to be filed within 30 days of the reportable event. HB 1979 would require elected officials to have a one-year “cooling off” period after leaving office before they could become lobbyists. HB 1983 would make it clear that no statewide official or member of the General Assembly can serve as a paid political consultant while in office. All four bills have already received a public hearing in the Senate Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions, and Ethics Committee.
Representative White’s HB 1988 was heard in the Transportation committee this week. This bill adds a three-wheeled vehicle in which the driver and any passenger ride in a completely enclosed area that is equipped with airbag protection and seatbelts to the definition of the “motor vehicle”. If this bill passes it means that anyone driving or riding in a three-wheeled vehicle that has airbags and seatbelts will not have to wear a helmet. This will not include three-wheeled motorcycles.
Do You Know an Outstanding Senior?
Nominate them for Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder’s Senior Service Award
Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder enacted this award in 2005 to promote and highlight the positive accomplishments that Missouri’s senior citizens continually provide to their local communities.
· Be at least 60 years old
· Volunteered a minimum of 25 hours over the last year in their community
Award Winners receive:
· An official declaration from Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder
· Senior Service Award lapel pin
· Individual recognition at the Senior Service Award banquet at the State Capitol
To nominate a deserving senor fill out a brief form available at www.ltgov.mo.gov, or at your local Senior Center and Area Agency on Aging. All nominations must be received by March 15, 2016.
For more information, contact Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder’s office at (573) 751-4727 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Missouri Department of Conservation Events
Nature Art With A Chinese Brushstroke
Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center
Date: Saturday, February 20, 2016, 2:45 PM to 4:15 PM
Art instructor and nature enthusiast Hing Wah Hatch will increase your powers of observation as she demonstrates, step-by-step, how to capture the essence of local plants and animals through Chinese-style painting. Participants will go home with more nature knowledge and their own artistic masterpiece. Ages 8-adult. Registration begins February 2. Call 417-888-4237. Observers are welcome to stop by anytime.
Reserve by February 20, 2016
Discover Nature - Turkey Hunting Basics
Location: Andy Dalton Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center
Date: Saturday, March 26, 2016, 8:30 AM to 2:00 PM
Join us to discover the basics of turkey hunting in the spring. We will cover safety, scouting, calling, proper set-up, shotgun ballistics, and much more. To register please call 417-742-4361 or email email@example.com
Reserve by March 26, 2016