JEFFERSON CITY – State Senator-Elect Rick Brattin (R-Harrisonville) has prefiled a bill designed to push back against unlawful assemblies by shielding drivers who hit protesters from liability. It would also deny benefits from public employees convicted of unlawful assembly or rioting, withhold state funds from local governments who cut police budgets too much and impose a prison term of 5 to 15 years for vandalizing a monument on public property.
Brattin said Senate Bill 66 would strengthen penalties for rioting and looting and other crimes related to violent, unlawful assemblies, while also enhancing penalties for crimes against police officers, deputies and first responders.
“This year, we’ve witnessed cities and communities all over the country burned and looted by unruly mobs and professional rioters,” said Brattin. “We all support and celebrate our First Amendment right to peacefully assemble, but we will not allow looters and rioters to target law-abiding citizens, businesses and our law enforcement. Missourians deserve to be safe from this violence and so do our police officers and deputies.”
The legislation includes a number of protections for law enforcement including protection against the “Defund the Police” movement by penalizing cities that target law enforcement budgets; enhanced penalties for criminals that target police officers or first responders; and mandatory minimum sentences for certain crimes against law enforcement. The bill also creates new citizen safeguards such as “Stand Your Ground” protection for any person defending themselves or their property during a violent assembly; a new criminal offense protecting law-abiding citizens from mob harassment; and protection for motorists who unintentionally hit individuals illegally blocking traffic.
“Missouri is not going to end up like other states that have embraced lawlessness, defunded the police and even allowed violent elements to take over parts of their cities, “said Brattin. “We’re going to stand up for the rule of law in Missouri and protect the First Amendment. We’re going to protect law-abiding citizens and hold criminals accountable. It’s time we reminded the criminals that they don’t run our state or our country. We, the law-abiding people, do.”
Senator-elect Brattin was elected to represent Missouri’s 31st Senate District in November.