There are new Missouri laws in effect on car inspections, prison sentences and more

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Many of the laws enacted by Missouri legislators this year went into effect Wednesday, but some of the most notable are tied up in legal disputes that will delay their implementation or kill them altogether.

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked a law meant to ban abortions at or after eight weeks of pregnancy, saying that Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri are likely to succeed in their effort to have the law ruled unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs let stand the portion of the law banning abortions based solely on race, sex or a diagnosis indicating the potential for Down syndrome, and that provision took effect Wednesday.

Earlier this month, a judge blocked a new law from taking effect, at least until a Sept. 16 hearing, that would shield large farms from stringent local health rules. The law would prevent local officials from enacting more stringent regulations than the state on large farms that raise hogs, poultry and cattle.

Among the laws that were taking effect Wednesday were ones affecting car inspections and prison sentences for nonviolent offenders.

PRISON SENTENCES

Hundreds of Missouri prisoners serving mandatory sentences for largely nonviolent offenses will become eligible for parole. The new law exempts some nonviolent offenses from a state law requiring people to serve at least 40%, 50% or 80% of their prison terms, depending on their number of previous prison convictions. The law could make some prisoners immediately eligible for parole, probation or early release.

The legislation also addresses courts that charge people who are arrested for the cost of holding them in jail. It prohibits payment of such jail debts from being made a condition of probation and bars people from being arrested and put back in jail for not paying previous jail costs.

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled in March that local courts can’t put people in jail for not paying previous jail debts.

VEHICLE SAFETY

Vehicles with fewer than 150,000 miles that are no more than 10 years old will be exempt from state vehicle safety inspections. But fees for driver’s licenses, vehicle registration, title transfers and similar services will increase.

CHILD CARE

There will be tighter restrictions on unlicensed in-home child care providers, who have been limited to caring for up to four children who aren’t related them and an unlimited number of children who are. The new law sets the limit at six children, total, and no more than three kids under the age of 2. The law exempts only school-age relatives.

STATE SYMBOLS

The pawpaw tree is now the Missouri’s official fruit tree and the hellbender salamander is its official endangered species. The state now has an official tartan, which has a crisscrossing design of blue, brown and silver.

BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR SCHOOL VOLUNTEERS

All Missouri school volunteers who might at any time be alone with students will have to undergo full criminal background checks.

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