New Missouri laws go into effect today, Aug. 28
some laws have been temporarily blocked
JOPLIN, Mo. — Several new laws go into effect today in Missouri. They include those affecting prison sentences for nonviolent offenders, vehicle inspections, poaching, domestic violence and school volunteers. Judges have, however, temporarily blocked a few from going into law today, including the Missouri abortion law.
Vehicle Inspections, Lyndon’s Law
Vehicles with fewer than 150,000 miles that are no more than 10 years old will be exempt from state vehicle safety inspections. But fees for drivers’ licenses and vehicle registration will increase. Read more about the law here.
The Missouri Department of Revenue is now authorized to revoke the driver’s license of anyone who hits a highway or utility worker in a work zone or an emergency responder in an emergency zone. KOAM’s Zach Dodge previously did a story on the new law.
Prison Sentences, Jail Debts
Hundreds of Missouri prisoners serving mandatory sentences for largely nonviolent offenses will become eligible for parole with a law that exempts some offenses from a requirement that people serve at least 40% to 80% of their prison terms.
The legislation also prohibits payment of jail debts from being made a condition of probation and bars people from being arrested and put back in jail for not paying previous jail costs.
The Missouri Department of Conservation and state officials increased penalties for those caught poaching Missouri game animals and other native wildlife species.
New fine amounts include $10,000-$15,000 for each elk or black bear killed illegally, $1,000-$5,000 for each whitetailed buck, $500-$1,000 for each wild turkey, and $500-$1,000 for each paddlefish.
Domestic Violence Law
Under the new law, victims of certain crimes are allowed to be released from certain lease agreements if documentation is provided to the landlord. It also requires landlords to allow domestic violence victims break their leases if they can show proof of being harmed.
The measure was approved by wide margins in both the Senate and the House.
School Volunteers and Criminal Background Checks
A new state law requiring criminal background checks for school volunteers aims to help protect children.
Previously, background checks were mandatory for school employees, but not volunteers.
School districts will now have to ensure that a criminal background check is done for all volunteers who may be periodically left alone with students. Those volunteers include, but are not limited to, individuals who regularly assist in the office or library, mentor or tutor students, coach or supervise a school-sponsored activity before or after school, or chaperone students on an overnight trip.
A law banning most abortions at or after eight weeks of pregnancy won’t take effect as scheduled in Missouri.
U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs on Tuesday issued an order temporarily blocking the law as a lawsuit against it plays out in court. The law had been scheduled to take effect Wednesday. Attorneys for the state can appeal Sachs’ decision.
The abortion ban includes exceptions for medical emergencies for the mother, but there are no exceptions for rape or incest.
Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri argue the law is unconstitutional and goes against the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.
Large Farm Rules
A new Missouri law that sought to shield large farms from stringent local health rules has also been temporarily blocked.
Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green banned enforcement of the law until he rules on a Sept. 16 court hearing. Another judge’s earlier ruling delayed the law until Thursday.
The law would prevent local officials from enacting more stringent regulations than the state on large farms that raise hogs, poultry and cattle.
In a lawsuit to overturn the law, critics allege it’s unconstitutional and infringes on local control.
The Missouri Farm Bureau and several other agricultural groups named in the lawsuit are condemning it as a way to hold back farmers. The groups argue that the law is needed to stop “scientifically unfounded” local health ordinances.
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