Missouri Senate gives preliminary approval to bill that includes protection for police & increases penalties for protesters

Senator Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring is the sponsor of Senate Bill 26

The Missouri Senate gives preliminary approval to a bill that creates protections for police and increases penalties for protesters who break the law.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the bill includes five provisions.  Some of the more hotly-contested provisions involved penalties for protesters who block traffic and a “law enforcement bill of rights” for officers under investigation.

The bill’s sponsor countered opposition to the protesters provision, calling it a “fine line between freedom of speech and safety”; but he ultimately agreed to allow an amendment that would make a first offense an infraction, a second a misdemeanor, and the third a felony. 

An amendment was also adopted concerning the “bill of rights”, stating investigations of law enforcement officers should follow the same standards for other police investigations.

The bill, passed early Tuesday morning, also increases penalties for protesters who vandalize monuments, gives taxpayers the right to seek court orders against municipalities that cut police budgets more severely than those of other departments, and includes a prohibition on granting probation or conditional release to those who have committed dangerous felonies against law enforcement and first responders.