Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Parkville Republican: Lenient sentencing, liberal probation policies cause of increasing violent crime in Missouri

(From Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville)

One of my top priorities for 2020 is dealing with the alarming rise in violent crime in our state.

As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I will be heavily involved as the Legislature considers various proposals to combat this lawlessness. I have pre-filed a slate of bills to deal with the rampant violence in our cities. 

The guiding principle behind all of my legislation is the belief that criminals must be held accountable for their actions.

Lenient sentencing and liberal probation policies embolden criminals and send a message that there are no consequences for violence. 

It’s no wonder that a recent USA Today study ranked St. Louis and Kansas City as the No. 5 and 6 most dangerous cities in America, with Springfield also breaking the top 15. Even St. Joseph saw the seventh-largest increase in violent crime of any city in America, according to a recent study.

One measure I sponsored, requires judges to impose prison sentences for people convicted of second degree murder and other dangerous felonies. 

Shockingly, far too many dangerous felons are released without spending a single day in prison. Another bill I’m sponsoring deals with prison sentences for armed criminal action, or the use of a dangerous weapon during the commission of a felony. 

My legislation requires violent offenders to serve their sentence for armed criminal action consecutively with the punishment for the underlying felony. Put simply: If there’s a separate crime, there should be separate time.

A third proposal addresses crimes committed by organized criminal groups. Similar to the federal RICO law, my legislation makes it easier for law enforcement to combat gang-related activity. 

These reforms give prosecutors the flexibility to get gang members off our streets before they commit violent acts. These three measures focus our attention where it belongs—on the individuals who commit crimes, rather than infringing on the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.

Another issue I know many of you are concerned about is rising property taxes on your home. This issue came to head last summer when residents in my district received unexpected, large increases in their property assessments. 

Some residents saw their assessment double or even triple. In a few cases, assessment notices arrived at the last minute, leaving property owners virtually no time to appeal. I have filed legislation to limit the rate property tax assessments can increase and require assessors to give taxpayers fair notice to challenge their assessment. My legislation will curb rising assessments and ensure that homeowners are protected from government abuse.

In 2020, I will continue my effort to establish a statewide prescription drug monitoring program. Overdoses caused by narcotic painkillers and other opioids are one of the leading non-natural causes of death in our state. 

More Missourians lose their lives due to drug overdoses than die in car accidents. Despite this fact, Missouri is the only state in the nation that doesn’t provide physicians with this simple tool to ensure their patients don’t fall victim to a life of addiction. It’s long overdue to change that.

I look forward to advancing these and other causes in the upcoming session. Soon, we’ll hear more about the governor’s priorities in his State of the State Address. I won’t be surprised if he renews his focus on workforce development and infrastructure improvements. I expect he’ll have a few surprises for us, as well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You poor deluded person. Try living in Michigan or other developed states and see that taxes here are too low to provide a decent living wage for firemen, police, teachers and others in the public sector who safeguard our lives.
Too many guns, which you ignorantly protect, is part of the violence, lack of good paying jobs(think right to work), families separated due to inadequate pay from supportive parents, lack of parental oversight in the home and in general people not paying attention because they follow your misguided lead. We have a great natural resource and you will sacrifice it for big business to make money by not insisting on pollution controls. Your drinking water is second rate, no bottle(glass or plastic)deposit so they end in streams or roadsides. The roads are in disrepair because of dis-functional MODOT because of poor construction oversight.