State lawmakers pass separate criminal code bills

Apr 10, 2014

Credit Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Missouri's House and Senate have each passed separate bills that would reorganize the state's criminal laws.

The House voted 130-24 to send its bill to the Senate on Thursday. Shortly after that vote, senators passed their own measure with a 29-3 vote.

Both bills create new classes of felonies and misdemeanors. The two chambers now must reconcile differences to pass an identical bill.

The versions differ on the punishment for first-time offenders convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana. The House bill keeps the current penalty of up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The Senate measure removes jail as a possibility.

Passing the overhaul is a priority of Republican leaders. Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon has expressed reservations that the bill does too much at one time.