Senator John Rizzo Files “Back the Blue Act” to Protect Missouri’s Law Enforcement Community

JEFFERSON CITY — State Sen. John Rizzo, D-Independence, has filed the “Back the Blue Act” to repeal several provisions of state law contained within 2021’s House Bill 85.

“Last year, police officers came to the Capitol and asked the Legislature to oppose the anti-cop provisions within House Bill 85. Many of us listened to these officers, expressed our concerns with the bill and voted against it. Unfortunately, other lawmakers ignored these officers and voted that bill into law,” Sen. Rizzo said. “Less than a year later, it is clear this law is making police officers’ jobs harder and more dangerous. We must back the blue and fix the dangerous mistakes in HB 85. Where I come from, supporting our police must mean more than putting a sticker on your car. To truly back the blue, we must protect our police by repealing the laws that put them at risk.”

Senator Rizzo, who represents Independence and Kansas City in the Missouri Senate, has filed Senate Bill 1033 repealing several provisions within 2021’s HB 85 that impede police investigations or threaten law enforcement with fines and penalties. Senator Rizzo’s legislation also closes the domestic violence loophole which currently allows violent, convicted criminals to purchase and keep deadly firearms.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a court brief detailing the negative consequences of HB 85. As a direct result of this legislation, last fall the state refused federal assistance in investigating the shooting of an Independence police officer. On Sept. 15, 2021, Independence Police Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans was shot and killed by a man sought for violating parole on a firearm conviction. According to the Department of Justice, because of provisions within HB 85, state law enforcement initially declined routinely provided federal assistance in tracing the murder weapon.

The filing from the Department of Justice also stated the Missouri Highway Patrol released a federal fugitive back onto the streets rather than risk penalties under HB 85, and several state and local agencies have abandoned anti-crime task forces. Additionally, the Department of Justice found that because of HB 85, the Missouri Information Analysis Center, which helps to identify potential terrorist or criminal operations, has stopped providing investigative support to the ATF, and several state and local law enforcement agencies have stopped putting data into an interstate ballistic imaging network.

“Under last year’s law, criminals win. Under my bill, we will back the blue, support our police and get violent criminals off the streets,” Sen. Rizzo said.

For more information on Sen. Rizzo, please visit his official Senate webpage at senate.mo.gov/Rizzo.

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