ST. LOUIS — Both the Missouri House and Senate are in recess until later this morning. Then lawmakers will return for the final day of the session until 6 p.m. Friday, when the session is over. One major issue still on the table is sports betting. Nearly all of Missouri’s neighboring states allow sports betting, but it is not yet legal in the show-me state. That means many Missourians cross state lines to place bets using devices like apps on their phones.
Sports betting legislation has already passed the Missouri House, but it has been blocked in the Senate. Republican state senator Bill Eigel from Weldon Springs is among those opposing the bill. To pass the time, he has been reading books on the Senate floor, saying there is no path forward for the legislation.
Missouri lawmakers did give final approval to a bill that would create a comprehensive ban on texting while driving. Right now, Missouri drivers under the age of 21 are not allowed to text while behind the wheel. The new legislation would expand the texting while driving ban to apply to all Missouri drivers. Currently, Missouri and Montana are the only states without a law banning texting while driving for all motorists. The next bill headed to the governor’s desk would impose harder penalties for people who fire celebratory gunshots.
The bill is called Blair’s Law in honor of eleven-year-old Blair Lane. She was killed by a straw bullet during a backyard barbecue in Kansas City on July 4, 2011. Under Blair’s law, a person commits the offense of unlawful discharge of a firearm if he or she shoots a gun with criminal negligence within or into the limits of any municipality. Celebratory gunfire has been an issue in St. Louis for years, with people firing guns into the air to mark occasions like New Year’s Eve.