HCS SS SB 813 -- LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS

SPONSOR: House (Kissell)

COMMITTEE ACTION: Voted "do pass" by the Committee on Public Safety and Law Enforcement by a vote of 15 to 0.

This substitute makes changes to provisions concerning certain law enforcement officers. The substitute:

(1) Requires that certain officers who are dismissed, demoted, or suspended are entitled to a meeting within 48 hours of the action, at which time the agency must provide a written explanatory statement. Currently, the agency's explanation may be an oral statement;

(2) Requires that a hearing be available to these officers within 30 days upon written request. Agencies or municipalities already having similar procedures are exempted from the act.

(3) Clarifies conduct that may result in the disqualification of peace officers. The substitute defines "gross misconduct" as conduct that includes the illegal or unauthorized use of closed or confidential information; and

(4) Establishes a death and burial benefit for certain public safety officers who are killed in the line of duty. The amount of the death benefit will be a lump sum of $100,000. The amount of burial benefit will be up to $10,000. Both amounts are subject to appropriation.

FISCAL NOTE: Cost to General Revenue Fund of $0 to $770,000 in FY 2001, FY 2002, and FY 2003. Costs are subject to appropriations.

PROPONENTS: Supporters say that SS SB 813 provides fundamental fairness and due process rights to officers who have been disciplined, demoted, or dismissed.

Testifying for the bill were Senator House; and Fraternal Order of the Police.

OPPONENTS: Those who oppose SS SB 813 say that it provides new, unanticipated rights to officers who will be eligible for judicial review.

Testifying against the bill was Missouri Municipal League.

Sarah Madden, Legislative Analyst