JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KFVS) - Gov. Jay Nixon has signed into law seven bills, including legislation to update Missouri's use-of-force statute to comply with U.S. Supreme Court precedent, ban ticket quotas, and make it easier for rehabilitated former offenders to petition the court to close criminal records.
In accordance with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Tennessee v. Garner, under House Bill 2332, the amount of physical force that a police officer may use must be objectively reasonable in light of the totality of the particular facts and circumstances confronting the officer on the scene.
Gov. Nixon called for this change in his 2015 and 2016 State of the State addresses.
"I thank the General Assembly for making this long-overdue change," Gov. Nixon said. "These are life-and-death decisions, and it is vital that Missouri statutes governing the use of force are clear and consistent with U.S. Supreme Court precedent."
Senate Bill 588 will make it easier for former offenders who have completed their sentences, paid restitution, and become law-abiding citizens to petition the court to close their criminal records from the public.
The legislation aims to make it easier for Missourians with criminal histories to obtain employment, while also ensuring law enforcement agencies can access the information they need to protect the public.
"Missourians who have paid their debt to society and become law-abiding citizens deserve a chance to get a job and support their families," Gov. Nixon said. "This bill represents a reasonable, balanced approach and I'm pleased to sign it into law today."
Senate Bill 588 expands the types of offenses that are eligible for expungement, allows individuals to seek expungement sooner, and makes it easier for individuals petitioning the court for expungement to successfully meet their burden of proof.
Individuals would still be required to prove that they have no other misdemeanors or felony adjudications since they completed their sentence or probation, have paid their fines and restitution, and have no pending charges.
Instead of being destroyed, as under current law, the records would become closed to the public but still accessible to law enforcement agencies and employers that are entitled to that information under state or federal law.
In April, Gov. Nixon signed Executive Order 16-04, to lessen barriers to individuals with criminal histories attempting to enter the workforce, lower recidivism rates and improve public safety.