Lee’s Summit representative Keri Ingle (D), who filed an identical bill, said Missouri is one of the only states that doesn’t oversee religious-based youth homes. Because of that, bad actors have been coming here and then seeking out children with behavioral issues, mental issues, or whose needs weren’t being met.
An ongoing discussion about security in the Missouri State Capitol continues next week when House committees will hold hearings on two bills.
One would move control of the Capitol Police from the Department of Public Safety to a new Capitol Police Board, made up of members appointed by the House Speaker, the Senate President Pro Tem, the Governor, the Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court, and the chair of the State Capitol Commission. Another would allow the House Speaker and the Senate President to appoint marshals to provide security and other duties.
Former Joplin Police Chief and Director of the Department of Public Safety Lane Roberts (R-Joplin) sponsors House Bill 784, which would create marshals for the House and Senate. He shares Hicks’ concern that the legislature has no control over Capitol security, and says the agencies responsible for that security are “fragmented.”
Lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle have been concerned about Capitol security for many years. Lee’s Summit Democrat Keri Ingle is beginning her third year in the House after working in many public buildings in her career dealing with child welfare and adoption. She said compared to other public facilities, Capitol security is lacking.
The hearing will come just shy of three weeks after people protesting against the confirmation of the Electoral College Vote that saw Joe Biden become President stormed the U.S. Capitol. Rumors and threats in recent weeks that some state capitols, including Missouri’s, would be targeted on the day of Biden’s inauguration, led to heightened security. No such additional attacks occurred.
Ingle said she has supported Hicks’ legislation in past years, but she and others in her caucus believe a new Capitol Police Board should include two additional members chosen by the minority leaders in each chamber.