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Over objections of St. Louis Democrats, police residency rule repealed in Missouri House, now moves to Senate

Over objections of St. Louis Democrats, police residency rule repealed in Missouri House, now moves to Senate

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Police investigate homicide in the 6000 block of Shulte Avenue

Police investigate the scene of a shooting in the 6000 block of Shulte Avenue in St. Louis where one person was killed and another person was wounded on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019. The shooting happened in the so-called Hayden's Rectangle, an area named for St. Louis police Chief John Hayden who has designated additional resources there to tamp down violent crime. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com

JEFFERSON CITY — Over the objections of most Democrats who represent St. Louis, the Missouri House approved a plan Monday to end a residency requirement for police and all other municipal employees across the state.

On a 105-41 vote, the House sent the measure to the Senate for further consideration.

Rep. Ron Hicks, R-Dardenne Prairie, who sponsored the legislation, said the current residency requirement “handcuffs” police officials in the hiring process.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and top public safety officials had sought the change to make it easier to hire frontline public safety workers. The city currently has more than 100 unfilled positions in its police force at a time when there were nearly 200 murders last year.

Action in the Republican-controlled Missouri Legislature came despite a January vote by the St. Louis Board of Alderman to urge the General Assembly and Republican Gov. Mike Parson to reject Krewson’s push.

Aldermen last September refused to put repeal before city voters by way of a city charter amendment.

Rep. Donna Barringer, D-St. Louis, said it was disappointing that the state was intervening in a local issue. But she said her constituents want the residency rule dropped.

“My voters have told me how to vote on this bill,” said Barringer, a former alderman.

Among those voting “no” were Reps. Rasheen Aldridge, LaKeySha Bosley and Peter Merideth, all Democrats representing districts within the city.

Rep. Steve Roberts, D-St. Louis, voted “present.”

The legislation is House Bill 1604.

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