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Nixon signs several crime fighting bills

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon tours State Crime Lab before a bill signing ceremony.
Marshall Griffin, KWMU
Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon tours State Crime Lab before a bill signing ceremony.

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has signed several bills into law designed to make the fight against crime easier.

The centerpiece of Nixon's latest bill-signing ceremony is the new law expanding the collection of DNA samples to suspects over age 17 arrested for burglary, sex crimes and otherwise violent crimes.

"This is a significant and real expansion that will add to our database from day one...every year there are suspects unconnected to previously unsolved crimes," Nixon said.

The new law also requires DNA samples and records to be expunged if a suspect is acquitted or not charged within 90 days of arrest.

One of the new laws signed by Nixon today bans texting-while-driving for motorists under the age of 21.

"I think it's much safer to be driving while your eyes are on the road, not on getting a text about what you're supposed to buy at the grocery store...that would be among the calmer of the examples you can come up with in this kind of setting," Nixon said.

However, a person under 21 who uses a text message to report a crime or call emergency responders will not be considered in violation of the law.

Other crime-related bills signed today include:

House Bill 863, provides new protections for children testifying in criminal trials.

Senate Bill 36, allows life-without-parole sentences for some offenders convicted of forcible rape of a child.

House Bill 685, eliminates the requirement that county law enforcers accompany state troopers during DWI investigations.