Opponents of "Champ's Law" say bill's language needs change

The bill failed to pass through the House Monday

Opponents of Champs Law say bills...

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - On Monday HB 1649, also known as "Champ's Law," failed to pass through the Missouri House of Representatives after falling nine votes short of the required 82.

The bill would have increased the penalties for the crimes of injuring and killing a law enforcement animal, such as a police K-9. Injuring a law animal would have changed from a class E to class C misdemeanor, and killing or seriously injuring would have changed to a class C felony where it is currently class E.

Republican Representative Shamed Dogan of Ballwin said the bill's language created a possible conflict.

"You have the right to defend yourself to the point of using deadly force if you feel like your life was being threatened," Dogan said. "The way this bill was written, you would have to just sit there and take it if a police dog attacks you."

"It is not one of my favorite bills," said Representative and Minority Floor Leader Gail McCann Beatty. "There's no accountability for police in this bill, and quite frankly all the legislation that has been filed that has some accountability for police hasn't moved."

The bill's sponsor, Republican Representative Robert Cornejo, said he is more than willing to have a tough discussion to move forward.

"If we want to talk about the entire history of law enforcement animals and how they've been used in the general public, but then also the minority community," Cornejo said. "That's absolutely fair game."

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