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Missouri Senate Passes 'Fix' To Criminal Code Demanded By Nixon

Missouri Senate

The Missouri Senate has passed legislation containing the so-called "fixes" that Gov. Jay Nixon wants added to the criminal code revision.

Nixon told reporters earlier this week that the massive overhaul contained drafting errors that could weaken DWI laws and make it harder for police to crack down on meth production. But in a deal with Senate Bill 491's backers, the governor allowed it to become law if they promised to add the changes he wants to the House version of the criminal code bill, HB 1371, that's still alive in the legislature. Fellow Democrat Jolie Justus of Kansas City sponsored the original criminal code bill in the Senate.

"As you may remember, there were some letters that went out to the press indicating a concern that we were somehow decriminalizing the purchase of pseudoephedrine (in bulk)," Justus said.  "It was our opinion that we did not decriminalize that, but in an abundance of caution, we reconfirmed that that will not be decriminalized."

Nixon also said this week that under the Senate version of the bill, a drunk driver who refused to take a breathalyzer "or other tests" to measure blood alcohol content would be inadmissible as evidence in court unless the driver was younger than 21.

"We made sure that that is lock-solid (in HB 1371)," Justus said.  "There will be no question about the admissibility of refusal to submit to a blood alcohol test."

The criminal code fix passed the Missouri Senate unanimously, 31-0, without debate.  It now goes to the Missouri House.  The revised code is set to become law on Jan. 1, 2017.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.

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