JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers have approved legislation allowing expansion of special courts to handle cases involving current and former military personnel with mental health or substance abuse issues. (SB118)

The state already has a small number of what are known as veterans treatment courts. The bill sent to Gov. Jay Nixon on Thursday would allow all judicial circuits to create them.

The measure also provides for cases to be transferred to circuits with veterans treatment courts from circuits without them if all parties agree.

Defendants whose cases are handled in such courts could be referred to substance abuse and mental health treatment.

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