Missouri lawmakers begin quest to update criminal code

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Two Missouri lawmakers are starting the process of revising Missouri's criminal code.

Republican Rep. Stanley Cox and Democratic Sen. Jolie Justus have filed legislation that would update the state's criminal statutes for the first time since 1979.

The proposal stems from the Missouri Bar Association, whose president says the current code has become too complicated and cumbersome. As new criminal laws have been enacted, they have become scattered throughout Missouri's statutes making them difficult to find.

Major changes would include the creation of new classes of felonies and misdemeanors and increased fines for offenders.

A House committee conducted the first hearing on the proposal last week and the sponsors are beginning to explain the 1,000-page legislation to fellow lawmakers.