Legislation eliminating the residency requirement for Missouri police officers, firefighters and EMS personnel is heading to the state Senate floor in Jefferson City after being approved Tuesday in committee.

The Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee approved the bill by a party-line 5-2 vote. State Sens. Karla May, D-St. Louis, and Brian Williams, D-University City, cast the two no votes, MissouriNet reports.

St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden traveled to Jefferson City on Tuesday to testify for the bill, saying “we (St. Louis Police) desperately need more officers and we need them now.” During his testimony, Hayden discussed recent violence against his officers.

“That’s seven officers shot, one officer shot and killed in the line of duty and one retired captain shot and killed in the past three months,” Hayden testifies.

Chief Hayden says his department is currently down 145 officers and that the residency requirement is the greatest challenge his department has with recruitment and retention.

The Missouri Police Chiefs Association and the St. Louis Police Officers Association also testified for the legislation on Tuesday.