Jefferson City: This year the ACLU of Missouri tracked 727 pieces of legislation in the state legislature, ranging from police reform to attacks on the First Amendment, voting rights, trans youth, and reproductive freedom. Our policy team testified over 100 times in defense of civil liberties.
The ACLU of Missouri celebrates the following:
- Passage of $3.6 million in support of the Missouri Public Defenders. This historic investment should improve Missouri’s ability to meet its constitutional obligation to provide representation to all Missourians who cannot afford it.
- Passage of legislation to ban chokeholds, decriminalize HIV, create a use of force database, and affirm the ability of a prosecutor to reconsider cases when evidence emerges proving innocence.
- Passage of legislation to ensure that every juvenile has access to an attorney.
- Passage of legislation to grant Bobby Bostic, a juvenile sentenced to 241-years in prison for non-homicidal offenses, a parole hearing.
- Passage of restrictions on the use of restraint and seclusion in Missouri’s schools.
- Passage of legislation to improve expungement opportunities.
Many of these reforms can be found in HB 12, SB 53/60, and HB 432. These bills now head to Governor Parson’s desk and await his signature.
Beyond these accomplishments, the ACLU of Missouri played a key role in stopping every attempt to attack trans youth. This included efforts to ban participation in sports by trans youth and block their access to life-saving healthcare.
As legislatures across the country passed restrictive bills on voting rights, our team fought to expand access to the ballot and keep the Missouri legislature from making it harder for Missourians to vote. The people pushed back and HJR 20, a measure to take away the people’s ability to bring issues to the ballot, failed. As states cracked down on dissent, Missouri resisted- halting anti-protest legislation including bills that would have allowed individuals to run over protestors.
While we are pleased to see important gains in criminal legal reform we are dismayed to see SB 26 which includes the Police Officers Bill of Rights and enhanced criminal penalties pass in the last hours of session. It is egregious that the legislature continues to undermine true reform with regressive measures to give law enforcement greater impunity.
Sara Baker, Legislative and Policy Director for the ACLU of Missouri, adds “No officer is above the law and every community in Missouri deserves justice and accountability. We will continue to lobby the Missouri legislature to push for more reform and address its errors.”
The ACLU of Missouri invites supporters to join its legislative debrief and interim prep session on June 10th at 6 pm. Interested individuals may register here: