Legislation that would overhaul Missouri’s criminal code has received first-round approval in the Missouri House.
House Bill 210 would create new classes of felonies and misdemeanors, give judges more flexibility in handing down sentences, and modernize the language used in the code. During debate Tuesday, the sponsor, State Representative Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia, gave an example of where he says changes are sorely needed.
"Involuntary manslaughter under our present law, such as a drunk driver killing someone, and the offense of forgery is exactly the same punishment," Cox said. "This code changes it to make involuntary manslaughter a [Class] C felony, punishable [by] up to 10 years [in prison] -- forgery would stay the same, up to seven years."
Issues that could have caused controversy were left out of the bill, in the interest of getting it passed this year. It needs one more vote before moving to the Missouri Senate – leaders in that chamber have said there’s probably not enough time to properly review and pass a criminal code bill this year.
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