Thursday, August 26, 2010

Nodler explains new laws that go into effect Aug. 28

In his latest newsletter, Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, explains some of the new bills that go into effect Aug. 28:

August 28—90 days after the constitutional end of the legislative session—is the day when most bills passed by the Legislature go into effect. For these bills, this is the final step of the legislative process—putting the bills that the General Assembly passed officially into Missouri statute. This session, we passed several major initiatives that affect daily life in Missouri, and I would like to discuss a couple of these measures that will go into effect this Saturday.

House Bill 1695 works to strengthen Missouri’s DWI laws and crack down on repeat offenders. One provision of the bill focuses on the problem of alcohol addiction by allowing any circuit courts to establish a special DWI court to handle certain cases of repeat offenders. It also cracks down on drunk drivers by prohibiting any person who operates a motor vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .15 or more from being granted a suspended sentence. The bill also increases the minimum shock time in jail from five days to 10 days for a prior offender and from 10 days to 30 days in order for a persistent offender to be eligible for parole or probation (unless the person performs a certain amount of community service or undergoes a treatment program).

House Bill 1695 also makes reporting DWI cases more uniform. The bill requires the State Highway Patrol, beginning Jan. 1, 2011, to maintain regular accountability reports of alcohol-related arrests, charges, and depositions based on the data submitted by law enforcement and prosecutors. To address the problem of repeat offenders not being held accountable on a local level, the bill also specifies that offenders facing their third DWI offense will be handled by state courts, rather than municipal courts.

Another important bill that was passed by the Legislature and will go into law is Senate Bill 793. The bill expands Missouri’s informed consent requirements, better informing women in the state that are considering an abortion about their options. The bill requires, at least 24 hours prior to an abortion being performed, that a woman be presented with various printed materials detailing the risks of an abortion and the physiological characteristics of an unborn baby; given an opportunity to view an active ultrasound and hear the baby's heartbeat; and provided information regarding the possibility of the abortion causing pain to the unborn baby past 22 weeks. The bill also requires the physician to discuss the medical assistance and counseling resources available, advise the woman of the father's liability for child support, and provide information about the Alternatives to Abortion Program.

For a full list of bills that have been approved by the Legislature during the 2010 regular legislative session click here. All bills not vetoed by the governor without emergency clauses or that note an alternative effective date will become Missouri law on August 28.

No comments: