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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House has given preliminary approval to the first overhaul of the state's criminal code since 1979.

The measure endorsed on Monday would create new classes of felonies and misdemeanors and give judges more flexibility in sentencing.

Sponsoring Republican Rep. Stanley Cox, of Sedalia, said the measure would provide more clarity in sentencing.

Democratic Rep. Rory Ellinger, of St. Louis, said the bill could have done more and reduced sentences for some crimes, But he said it was important to keep the measure non-controversial so it could pass.

The overhaul would also increase fines to reflect inflation. It needs one more vote before moving to the Senate.

 

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