Missouri Legislature votes to create new circuit court

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The Legislature has given final approval to legislation that would create a new circuit court in southeast Missouri.

The House voted 147-5 Monday to split the court covering Christian and Taney counties and the city of Branson. The Senate approved the measure in January. The bill now heads to Gov. Jay Nixon for his signature or veto.

Lawmakers from the area said a single court doesn’t have the capacity to serve the population of those two counties along with the millions of tourists who visit Branson each year. They said splitting the counties would help clear the area’s backlog of cases.

Last year, Nixon vetoed a bill that would’ve paid for more courthouses by raising court fees. Supporters said they removed fees from this bill to earn Nixon’s approval.

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