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Missouri Senate endorses child protection legislation

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri Senate gave first round approval today to two pieces of legislation aimed at protecting children from predators.

Senators endorsed a child protection bill that would toughen sentences against sexual predators.

State Senator John Loudon (R, Chesterfield) says some predators are getting lesser sentences because they communicated with an undercover cop instead of an actual child.

"So we're closing those loopholes and making sure that they get an equal sentence, as if they were actually going after a kid," Loudon said.

An amendment added to the bill would also bar predators from taking part in Halloween's most well-known tradition.

"If you're a registered sex offender, you have to turn off all your outside lights and put a 'No Trick-or-Treating' sign, basically, on the door, and not open it to children," Loudon said.

Another provision would also strengthen sentences against non-custodial parents who kidnap their own children.

The Senate also endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow retroactive laws, and allow them to apply to sex offenders.

In 2006, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the names and addresses of predators convicted before the 1995 sex registry law took effect had to be removed, because it violated the state's ban on retroactive laws.

If added to the November ballot and passed by voters, more than 4,300 sexual predators could be added back into the registry.

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