Ferguson bills stalled in Missouri legislature

It's halfway through the 2015 legislative session and some of the most important issues our state needs to address-- racially biased policing, municpal court reform, police use of deadly force-- are being largely ignored.

From the Missourian:

Ferguson Follow-Up:

Senators passed a bill reducing the amount of revenue cities can keep from traffic fines and fees, an issue raised by some Ferguson protesters who complained of being frequently stopped by police. That bill is pending in the House. Still pending in the Senate are measures revising Missouri's law governing police use of deadly force and setting parameters for public access to videos from police body cameras.

Only two out of over 60 bills filed relating to court and police reforms have made substantial progress thus far in the Missouri legislature.


At least 60 measures were filed to address issues such as municipal court reform, police body cameras and changes to the deadly force statute.

But halfway through the 2015 legislative session, only two of those bills have made substantial progress.

One, which would gradually lower the cap on revenue generated from traffic fines to 10 percent or 20 percent of the city’s budget from the current 30 percent, was passed by the Senate but has not been heard by a House committee.

The other, which would allow the closure of police camera footage to the public and deploy psychologists during a state of emergency if requested, received about an hour of debate in the Senate two days before the legislative spring break. Senate Republican leaders plan more debate on the bill after lawmakers return.

But measures that would create citizen review boards, mandate body cameras for police officers and establish training protocols for those police officers haven’t moved forward.

About 60 percent of the Ferguson-related bills filed have been sent to a House or Senate committee but not heard by members.

Here's a breakdown of some of the Ferguson-related bills:

Bill Sponsor What it does Status Date
HB38 Sharon Pace Requires a peace officer to attend a training course in diversity and sensitivity and a course that teaches tactics and techniques during situations of unrest and peaceful demonstrations Public Hearing Completed 2/2/2015
HB39 Sharon Pace Requires bodycams while interacting with public and dashcams, guilty of Class D Felony for tampering with/intercepting cameras Hearing not scheduled N/A
HB40 Sharon Pace Psychological evaluations for police officers every three years Hearing not scheduled N/A
HB62 Rochelle Walton Gray Requires officer involved deaths to be investigated by external agency Hearing not scheduled N/A
HB75 Brandon Ellington Funds bodycams with taxes from guns and ammo Public Hearing Completed 3/30/2015
HB76 Brandon Ellington Police officer video camera sales tax fund from personal property sales Public Hearing Completed 3/30/2015
HB334 Jay Barnes Specifies that each county shall have a written policy regarding the investigation and prosecution of the death of an individual that results directly from an action or omission of a law enforcement officer Hearing not scheduled N/A
HB415 Joe Adams Modifies the provisions related to the use of force by a law enforcement officer Hearing not scheduled N/A
HB416 Joe Adams Creates a Civilian Review Board to investigate civilian deaths resulting from an officer-involved shooting Hearing not scheduled N/A
HB602 Tommie Pierson Modifies provisions relating to the use of force by a law enforcement officer Hearing not scheduled N/A
HB667 Rochelle Walton Gray Establishes the Joint Committee On Police Practices Hearing not scheduled N/A
HB668 Rochelle Walton Gray Modifies the provision allowing law enforcement officers to use deadly force in certain circumstances and establishes a task force on the use of force Hearing not scheduled N/A
HB711 Randy Dunn Requires police departments, sheriff's offices, and the state highway patrol to collect and report to the attorney general information regarding the parties involved in incidents in which force was used Hearing not scheduled N/A
HB762 Galen Higdon Specifies information acquired by law enforcement via a dashboard camera or a body camera shall be inaccessible to the general public Hearing not scheduled N/A
HB773 Gail McCann Beatty Specifies that if charges are filed against a law enforcement officer based on an officer involved shooting, the judge must appoint a special prosecutor Hearing not scheduled N/A
HB881 Michael Butler Establishes the Quality Policing Act addressing access to internal affairs statistics Hearing not scheduled N/A
HB945 Courtney Allen Curtis Modifies provisions related to law enforcement officers Hearing not scheduled N/A
HB969 Brandon Ellington Creates provisions relating to racial profiling, searches and seizures, and traffics stops from law enforcement officers Hearing not scheduled N/A
HB971 Brandon Ellington Requires uniformed law enforcement officers to wear a video camera while on duty to record any interaction between a law enforcement officer and a member of the public and to preserve the recordings for a minimum of 30 days Hearing not scheduled N/A
HB974 Brandon Ellington Requires the Department of Public Safety to create a law enforcement identification numbering system to track complaints against officers from one agency to another agency Hearing not scheduled N/A
HB1141 Courtney Allen Curtis Allows an arrest record to be eligible for expungement if the DOJ or US Attorney General issues a report with findings that a law enforcement agency engaged in unconstitutional practices or racial profiling Hearing not scheduled N/A
SB21 Maria Chapelle-Nadal Use of force, accredidation, video cameras Bill Combined (w/SCS SBs 331 & 21) 3/4/2015
SB42 Jamilah Nasheed Modifies law on use of deadly force Bill Combined (w/SCS SBs 199, 417 & 42) 3/17/2015
SB43 Jamilah Nasheed Requires law enforcement to adopt written policies on officer-involved deaths and AG can investigate officer involved deaths Second Read and Referred S Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee 1/15/2015
SB120 Gina Walsh Requires law enforcement agencies to have written policies on investigating police involved death Second Read and Referred S Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee 1/22/2015
SB331 Doug Libla Provides that recordings from peace officers' cameras are not public records and prohibits the state from requiring the use or purchase of cameras S Informal Calendar S Bills for Perfection--SBs 331 & 21-Libla, w/SCS & SS for SCS (pending) 3/17/2015
SB356 Jamilah Nasheed Requires law enforcement agencies in certain cities to require their officers to wear a camera while on duty and in uniform and record all contacts with people Second Read and Referred S Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee 2/19/2014
SB417 Maria Chapelle-Nadal Specifies when a law enforcement officer is justified to use deadly force and requires a special prosecutor be appointed to investigate instances of such deadly force Bill Combined (w/SCS SBs 199, 417 & 42) 3/17/2015
SB550 Bob Dixon Makes data from law enforcement cameras a closed record, prohibits the state from requiring law enforcement cameras, and requires written policies on the use of cameras Second Read and Referred S Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee 2/26/2015
SB559 Maria Chapelle-Nadal Modifies provisions relating to racial profiling in policing Second Read and Referred S Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee



The failure of the majority of these bills to gain traction speaks to the priorities of legislative leaders. And it says they need to be re-evaluated.


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