JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s governor would play a major role in St. Louis policing and prosecution under a bill praised by Republicans as a way to fight crime and criticized by Democrats as an attempt to take away local control from the Black-led city.

Debate on the bill, which would give the governor the power to appoint a special prosecutor for five years along with a police board, is expected to last hours Tuesday in the GOP-led Senate.

Republican lawmakers are pushing the legislation in the name of fighting crime in St. Louis — a racially diverse, heavily Democratic city long vexed by violent crime. They blame crime on the city’s first Black prosecutor, Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, as well as 10 years of local control of the city’s police force.

“While there are certainly differences of opinions in this chamber as to the causes of violent crime in the city of St. Louis, there can be no doubt that a significant factor is the utter failure of St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner to bring violent criminals to justice,” said Republican Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, of the Kansas City suburb of Parkville.

St. Louis Democratic Sen. Karla May said St. Louis voters “have a right to elect who they want to elect” and criticized lawmakers from other areas of the state for trying to interfere with how St. Louis officials handle crime.

“Stay in your lane,” May said.

May and other Democrats sought to amend the bill with additional restrictions on access to guns, which they said would be a better way to address crime rates. But any firearm regulations face an uphill battle with the Republican majority.

Data suggests neither state nor local control may make much difference when it comes to stemming homicides.

Criticism of Gardner escalated earlier this year after 17-year-old Janae Edmondson, a volleyball standout from Tennessee, was struck by a speeding car after a tournament game in downtown St. Louis. She lost both legs.

The driver, 21-year-old Daniel Riley, was out on bond on a robbery charge despite nearly 100 bond violations that included letting his GPS monitor die and breaking the terms of his house arrest, according to court records. Critics questioned why Riley was free despite so many bond violations.

As GOP lawmakers work to pass the bills before the May 12 end of session, Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey is seeking to oust Gardner through a legal challenge, alleging negligence. If a judge agrees and removes Gardner, Republican Gov. Mike Parson would appoint her replacement.