170 Laws Take Effect in Missouri Today

Article excerpt

Missouri law books just got a lot fatter. Today, 170 new statutes kick in, the upshot of the Legislature's latest session.

And for young drivers, the rules just got tougher. Drivers younger than 21 will lose their licenses temporarily if they are caught with a trace of alcohol in their system.

Under an administrative procedure, the state will suspend the license for 30 days if the young driver's blood-alcohol registers 0.02 percent or more.

Even one beer could trigger that.

The Missouri Highway Patrol predicts that 300 young drivers a year will flunk the blood-alcohol test. The state has about 167,300 licensed drivers between 16 and 20.

On a second offense, the young person's license is revoked for one year. However, the state will erase the minor's record if he or she does not get caught a second time before reaching the age of 21 - Missouri's legal drinking age.

Missouri joins 35 other states that have adopted "zero tolerance" legislation. States that don't enact the law by October 1998 will lose some of their federal highway money.

The law is one of the 198 bills that Gov. Mel Carnahan signed. Twenty-eight of them went into effect immediately. The rest became law today. Printers will pack the new regulations into two volumes of suppl emental law books. The state's statutes already span more than 9,000 pages.

The Legislature meets again in January.

Another law prohibits "common law" court liens. It is designed to give the state a little more leverage against people who, like the Freemen in Montana, consider themselves beyond the reach of federal and state courts. …