Crime bill passes Senate
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Crime bill passes Senate

Date: May 13, 2009
By: Max Reiss and Rebecca Beitsch
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Senate passed a crime bill Wednesday with several amendments targeting cell phones.

The wide-ranging bill now includes a ban on texting while driving and "sexting," in addition to issues such as assaulting a public safety employee and requirements for running for public office.

The bill would only stop people from texting when driving but the Senate also decided to outlaw minors from "sexting," which is when someone sends explicit photos or videos from their cell phone.

Sen. Ryan McKenna has already passed a similar bill out of the Senate, but it has yet to come up in the House. He said texting behind the wheel is more dangerous than someone eating or doing their hair while driving.

"This is an issue that raises far above the other distractions that go on in the car and I don't know how we rectify those," McKenna said.

Another accepted amendment would partially scrap the state-wide law banning convicted felons from becoming a public servant. Some senators said that past indiscretions, especially if committed while a person was young, should not bar them from running for office if they later become a productive citizen.

Sen. Tim Green, D-St. Louis County, sponsored the amendment and said, excluding violent crimes, people with some felony convictions should be able to run for office 10 years later.

Green said some minor crimes are still felonies but a person should not be penalized their entire life.  

 The bill passed 33-1 and now goes to the House for final approval.

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