Gov. Parson signs proclamation for special session on expansion of treatment courts

JEFFERSON CITY – Next week is the annual veto session in the State Capitol. Per the request of Governor Parson, Missouri lawmakers will be coming back to focus on STEM education and the expansion of treatment courts.

Last Thursday, Gov. Parson announced a special session concurrent with veto session. On Wednesday, he signed the proclamation to convene. Special Session will begin on Monday, Sept. 10th.

The new treatment court legislation will focus solely on reforms to treatment courts throughout the state. Expansion of treatment courts will allow for more individuals to get treatment, rather than being incarcerated in our already overcrowded prison system.

Representative Kevin Austin was the original sponsor of the treatment court bill. The bill establishes the best practices for treatment courts across the state while also ensuring that counties are unable to transfer defendants to other counties.

“I applaud the Governor’s action and comments. I appreciate his recognition that Missouri treatment courts have been a great success at changing lives for the better, lowering criminal recidivism rates, saving tax-payer dollars by reducing incarceration, all the while making our communities safer and aiding our citizens in their quest to be more productive and improve their quality of life. I am excited to work with my colleagues and the governor to pass this crucial expansion of our treatment courts into law,” said Rep. Austin, R-Springfield.

“Treatment courts are the most successful intervention in our nation’s history for holding accountable people living with substance use and mental health disorders, and leading them out of the justice system into lives of recovery and stability,” said Judge Alan Blankenship, 39th Circuit Court and President of Missouri Association of Treatment Court Professionals.

Though vetoed during the regular session due to problematic language that had been added both [STEM education and expansion of treatment courts] received strong bipartisan support.

Gov. Parson reiterated that this special session is about agreement not division.