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01 October 2010

Keaveny: Veto Session, Proposition A, Rebuilding Together

Veto Session Brings Lawmakers Back to the State Capitol

Legislators made their way back to Jefferson City in mid-September to consider five measures that were vetoed by the governor. However, no vetoes were overridden by the Legislature.
  • Senate Bill 777 - Allows for the sale of certain financial products and plans associated with certain loan transactions.
  • House Bill 1741 - Changes the laws regarding a meeting of a board of directors or the executive committee of a corporation.
  • House Bill 1831 - Allows school districts, after 10 years, to sell as surplus any real property that has been donated to it if the donor refuses the district's offer to return it.
  • House Bill 1903 - Creates the Federal Budget Stabilization Fund and the Race to the Top Fund to receive moneys from any legislation enacted by the 111th United States Congress.
  • House Bill 2317 - Requires each members of the General Assembly to be provided with a key to access the State Capitol dome and authorizes the governor to convey certain state property.

Informing You About Proposition A

One of the constitutional amendments that will appear before Missouri voters at the polls in November, Proposition A, has the ability to eliminate certain city earnings taxes if approved by voters. The ballot initiative would:
  • Repeal the authority of certain cities to use earnings taxes to fund their budgets.
  • Require voters in cities that currently have an earnings tax to approve continuation of such tax at the next general municipal election and at an election held every five years thereafter.
  • Require any current earnings tax that is not approved by the voters to be phased out over a 10-year-period.
  • Prohibit any city from adding a new earnings tax to fund their budget.
In 2010, the City of St. Louis budgeted earnings tax revenue of $141.2 million. If the earnings tax were to be phased out, through the elimination of the local tax deduction, the State of Missouri could realize increased revenue of $4.8 million. While this may be attractive at the state level, it will be challenging for the City of St. Louis to continue to provide the level of service at which its citizens are accustomed.

To see a complete list of constitutional amendments and ballot initiatives, please visit or call 800-NOW-VOTE (669-8683).

St. Louis Public Schools Receive Federal Funding for Improvements

Several schools located in the St. Louis Public School District have been awarded funding to improve academic achievement. These grants, made possible through the federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) program, are targeted toward school improvement efforts.

Eleven St. Louis area schools were selected to receive a total of $4.3 million for use in implementing two intensive school-reform models: turnaround and transformation. The four schools using the transformation model are required to implement strategies such as replacing the principal, reforming the curriculum, extending learning time, and providing extensive professional development. The other seven schools using the turnaround model will use transformation strategies as well as adopt a new governance structure, screen existing school staff, and rehire no more than half the teachers.

This is the first of three years of funding for selected schools receiving these federal funds. The first-year (2010-11) grant award recipients from the St. Louis Public School District include:
  • Vashon High School ($399,827 - turnaround model)
  • Fanning Middle Community Ed. ($444,175 - transformation model)
  • Langston Middle School ($436,579 - transformation model)
  • L'Ouverture Middle School ($441,804 - transformation model)
  • Ashland Elementary and Br. ($353,737 - turnaround model)
  • Columbia Elementary Comm. Ed. Center ($356,608 - turnaround model)
  • Hamilton Elementary Community Ed. ($363,928 - turnaround model)
  • Jefferson Elementary ($340,193 - transformation model)
  • Mann Elementary ($380,419 - turnaround model)
  • Sigel Elementary Comm. Ed. Center ($382,436 - turnaround model)
  • Walbridge Elementary Community Ed. ($377,942 - turnaround model)
For more information about SIG funding, please visit or call (573) 751-3469.

Rebuilding Together - St. Louis: Providing Safe and Healthy Homes for Low-Income Families

As an affiliate of a national volunteer organization, Rebuilding Together - St. Louis revitalizes and rehabilitates houses belonging to low-income homeowners. The individuals who benefit most from this program are elderly and disabled citizens in our area, who are able to continue to live independently in the comfort of their own homes. In addition, this program renews neighborhoods by bringing citizens together with new and improved community centers, playgrounds, and other projects that benefit those living in the community.

More than 50 communities throughout the St. Louis area have benefited from Rebuilding Together-St. Louis, which has served our area since March 1992. The national program, created in 1973, has 253 affiliates throughout the country, works in 1,800 communities, and has more than 272,000 volunteers who work each year to preserve and revitalize thousands of houses and non-profit facilities. In the St. Louis area alone, 1,051 homeowners and 35 community projects have reaped the benefits of this program.

For more information about Rebuilding Together - St. Louis, including how you can sponsor a rebuilding group, volunteer, or apply for the program, you can call (314) 918-9918, e-mail information{at}rebuildingtogether-stl{dot}org, or visit

Foreclosure Help Soon Available to St. Louis Citizens

Federal funding provided by the Neighborhood Stabilization Program through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will soon be available to citizens in the St. Louis area. Approximately $6.2 million will be awarded to the St. Louis region, with $3.4 million for the City of St. Louis and $2.8 million to St. Louis County. More than $13.1 million was award to our state as a whole under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which was signed into law by President Obama back in July.

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program assists communities that have suffered from foreclosures and abandonment by purchasing and redeveloping foreclosed and abandoned properties. These funds may be used to establish financing mechanisms for the purchase and redevelopment of foreclosed homes and residential properties; purchase and rehabilitate homes and residential properties abandoned or foreclosed; establish land banks for foreclosed homes; demolish blighted structures; and redevelop demolished or vacant properties.

These funds can also be used to help homebuyers purchase homes; however, individuals need to contact their local grant office for application details. For more information on the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, you can contact Jim Holtzman at (314) 615-4414 or Darlene Rich at (314) 615-4592 for St. Louis County, and Bill Rataj at (314) 622-3400 ext. 566 for St. Louis.

Ameren MO - Energy Tips for Consumers

Ameren UE customers most likely received a notice in the mail about the St. Louis-based utility company switching its name from Ameren UE to Ameren Missouri (MO). This change took effect Oct. 1.

However, that's not the only thing that's changing. Autumn is in full swing and many citizens have noticed cooler, more fall-like weather starting to move into our area.

Here are some helpful hints to help you save on your energy costs this season:
  • Use a programmable thermostat with your furnace to adjust your heating and cooling settings while you are away and while you are sleeping.
  • Replace the furnace filter monthly.
  • Have your furnace inspected each year before the cold weather hits.
  • Caulk and place weatherstripping on windows and doors that leak air.
Click here, visit, or call 800-361-4827 to learn more about winter heating energy savings actions.

Senator Keaveny and Fellow Lawmakers Tour Coal Mine

In September, several of my legislative colleagues and I toured the Gateway Mine located in Randolph County near Coulterville, Ill., which is about an hour outside the St. Louis area.

Many people don't understand how much we use coal-powered energy. Nine out of every ten tons of coal mined in our country today is used to general electricity. We use coal-generated electricity for heating, cooling, cooking, lighting, transportation, communication, farming, industry, health care, and much more. It was important for lawmakers to understand how consumers use this coal-powered energy and how it all starts with carbon — ancient plant material that gives coal most of its energy.

Gateway Mine received the prestigious President's Award in 2009 for the safest underground mine in Peabody Energy, which is the world's largest private-sector coal company and leader in clean energy solutions. Peabody fuels 10 percent our country's power and 2 percent of electricity worldwide.

Properly Taking Care of the Flag

Did you know that there are laws relating to the flag of the United States of America?
  • Display your flag from sunrise to sunset. You can also fly it at night if you illuminate it.
  • There are several designated flag days, such as Memorial Day (last Monday in June), Flag Day (June 14), Independence Day (July 4), Labor Day (first Monday in September), and Veterans Day (Nov. 11). However, as a citizen, you may display your flag any day you wish.
  • Hoist your flag briskly and lower it ceremoniously.
  • Put it to the right or above other flags on display.
  • Don't let the flag touch the ground.
  • Properly dispose of the flag. When your flag becomes tattered, soiled, or faded, it should be disposed of in a dignified manner. You can contact your local Veterans of Foreign Wars or American Legion Post, who often offer flag retirement ceremonies.

Senator Keaveny Named 2010 "Legislator of the Year" by Missouri Bar

In recognition for my contribution to legislation affecting the administration of justice and the integrity of the judiciary, I was awarded the 2010 "Legislator of the Year" award by the Missouri Bar Association.

The association particularly acknowledges my work relating to probate legislation. Last session I sponsored Senate Bill 920, which would have changed several provisions of law relating to trusts and wills in our state. I will continue my efforts into the 2011 legislative session with similar legislation designed to give further clarification regarding these legal documents.

I am honored to receive this distinguished award and will remain a strong supporter of positions upheld by the Missouri Bar, including improving the legal profession, the administration of justice, and law in our state.

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