Missouri lawmakers gave final approval to the first comprehensive rewrite of the state's criminal laws in decades. The House and Senate voted Thursday to send the legislation to Gov. Jay Nixon's desk. The measure would create new classes of felonies and misdemeanors, and reorganize crimes to fit the new penalty structure. It also reduces the punishment for people convicted of possessing less than 10 grams of marijuana on their first offense and lengthens prison sentences for criminals who sexually abuse children. Nixon has previously expressed reservations that the bill would do too much at one time. The overhaul passed with enough votes in both chambers to override a potential veto. Because of the vote's timing, Nixon would have to act before lawmakers adjourn in mid-May.
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